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Ussery, Manley split top prizes at 1st Annual Brian James Memorial Tournament in Bristol, TN

(l to r): Brian James and TD Herman Parker

If and when the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour holds its annual Tour Championship in September, it will once again honor one of its tour members with a Sportsmanship Award. The award will go to a player chosen by members of the tour. This year and in the years to come, that award will bear the name and honor the memory of Brian James of Rosedale, West Virginia, a long-time member of the tour, who passed away on June 3, following a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. James, a close friend of tour directors Herman and Angela Parker, had fulfilled a long-time dream earlier this year, when he competed at the annual Derby City Classic in January, finishing in a four-way tie for 5th place in the 9-Ball Mini Tournament. James was to have competed on the Q City 9-Ball Tour this past April, but the tour was halted due to the pandemic well ahead of his scheduled participation. By the time the tour was able to get back to the work of pool competition, James was no longer able to compete.

On the weekend of January 11-12 at Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN (where James enjoyed playing the most), the tour held a fundraising tournament, attended by James, to help defray the costs of his ongoing health care. Through the raffling of cues, balls and an assortment of other products from keychains to clothing, the event raised $3,300. Six months later, this past weekend (June 13-14), the tour went back to Borderline Billiards and drew 74 entrants to a celebration of life tournament. BJ Ussery and Sammy Manley ended up splitting the top two prizes of the commemorative event that drew 74 entrants.

“Brian’s daughters, Nina and Jesse, came to the tournament,” said Herman Parker, “and had a very emotional meeting with the players, thanking everybody.”

“He was the most genuine person,” said Parker of his friend. “There was just never any drama with him, which is why the Sportsmanship Award will be named in his honor. He was a good family man and always courteous when it came to the game. He was one of those guys; a 100% gentleman.”

And, as he most assuredly would have wanted, the tournament began.

The winner and runner-up at this event never competed. Though Ussery would go undefeated to the hot seat, Sammy Manley, who defeated Jeff Abernathy in the opening round of play, but lost to Scott Roberts in the second round, won nine matches on the loss side for the right to face Ussery in the final match that didn’t happen.

Ussery advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against junior player Landon Hollingsworth. Jordan Gray, in the meantime, squared off against Daniel “Papa John” Adams in the other one.

Ussery earned his spot in the hot seat match with a 12-3 win over Hollingsworth (racing to 6). Gray downed Adams 6-4. In what would prove to be his final victory, Ussery claimed the hot seat 12-3; like Hollingsworth, Gray was racing to 6.

With four wins of his nine on the loss side behind him, Manley defeated Travis Guerra 5-1 and Jody Musselman 5-4 (Musselman racing to 6) to draw “Papa John” coming over from his loss in the winners’ side semifinal. Hollingsworth drew Hank Powell, who’d defeated Josh Miller 7-1 and Dalton Messer 7-4 to reach him.

Manley downed “Papa John” 5-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Powell, who eliminated Hollingsworth 7-3. Manley then sent Powell to the figurative showers 5-3 in those quarterfinals.

In his 9th victory on the loss side and 10th, overall, Manley defeated Jordan Gray 5-2 in the semifinals. He and Ussery agreed to split the event’s top two cash prizes and the 1st Annual Brian James Memorial Tournament at Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN was in the books. According to the Parkers, future events in James’ name will be held around the time of his passing each year.

The Parkers thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards, Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (June 20-21), will be hosted by Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC and feature two separate events. On Saturday, June 20th, the tour will mount its normal handicap event, which will, dependent on the number of entrants, conclude on Saturday night. On Sunday, June 21, the tour will hold an Open event (no handicaps), featuring races to 6.

Shabib goes undefeated to take Borderline Billiards stop on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Raed Shabib

Like criminals to a crime scene, pool players love returning to the sites of previous triumphs. It could be a home room, near to their actual home, or just a place where, for whatever reason, the balls were rolling well on a given day. On the weekend of July 13-14, Raed Shabib returned to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN, where he’d won the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships last December. He went undefeated through a field of 39 entrants this time and got by Brian Bagwell twice to claim the event title.
 
They met first in the hot seat match. Shabib had defeated Ron Frank 9-6 in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Bagwell, in the meantime, accepted a forfeit from his son, Josh Miller, in the other winners’ side semifinal and advanced to the hot seat match against Shabib. Shabib defeated Bagwell the first time 9-5.
 
On the loss side, Frank picked up Gary South, who’d defeated Mark Hurst 7-3 and John Pallaria 7-4 to reach him. Miller, looking to work his way back to a possible finals rematch against his Dad, drew Jeff Abernathy, who arrived having just given up only three racks in 21 games (Abernathy racing to 9); two to Ryan Fossum and only one to Doug Schulz.
 
South downed Frank 7-3, whiLe Miller was busy chalking up more racks against Abernathy than his previous two opponents combined. With Abernathy again racing to 9, Miller advanced to the quarterfinals 5-6.
 
South ended any hopes for a father-son final by defeating Miller 7-2 in the quarterfinals. Bagwell then put an end to South’s run 7-3 for a second shot against Shabib in the hot seat. Shabib completed his undefeated run with a second victory over Bagwell; this time 9-4.
 
Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (July 20-21), will be hosted by the Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

White is official winner of $2K-added, 114-entrant, stop on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Brian White

There was good news and bad news for tour directors Herman and Angela Parker last weekend. The scheduled stop on their Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour (Feb. 9-10) drew a hefty 114 entrants to Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC, due, in part, to an ongoing four-day, $56K, 8-Ball battle between Justin Bergman and Corey Deuel at the same location. It was originally to have been a battle between Bergman and Jayson Shaw, but some (shall we say) differences of opinion emerged regarding the table particulars of that matchup and at the last minute, Deuel stepped in and agreed to play the match against Bergman; a best-of five sets, racing to 30, with Deuel getting three on the wire for each set. It’s not often that the Parkers get to play host to that many players, but when it became known that entrants to his tournament would be granted free admission to watch the challenge match, the numbers swelled. And predictably, with a lot of Pro types racing to 11, 12 and 13 games, their tournament went on a little longer than their normal weekend tournaments; like, 7 a.m. Monday morning longer.
 
Deuel won the challenge match 3-1, and it spilled over into Monday evening. A couple of the sets were close; close enough to question whether giving Deuel three on the wire in those circumstances was such a good idea for Bergman.
 
Brian White, who is the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour’s current Bar Box Champion (from an event held last September) and winner of another stop on the tour, two days before Christmas, was declared the official winner of the tour stop when, at 7 a.m. Monday morning, he and Steakhorse Restaurant and Billiards house pro, Roberto Gomez agreed to a split of the top two prizes. White was the hot seat occupant at the time. Gomez had spent a lot of time on the loss side, winning nine matches to get to the finals that didn’t happen.
 
There were several players of some renown who didn’t make it to the money rounds of the handicapped tournament. Francisco Bustamante and Tony Chohan were among them. White advanced through the field to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Keith Yates. Francisco Felicilda, in the meantime, squared off against teenager Landon Hollinsworth.
 
White got into the hot seat match with an 11-3 win over Yates. Felicilda, also racing to 11, gave up only a single rack to Hollinsworth and joined White. White claimed the hot seat 11-9, in what proved to be his last match.
 
Gomez, in the meantime, after an early-round loss to Josh Miller was at work on the loss side, racing to 13 through it all. He got into the money rounds with a 13-3 victory over Kevin Ping (racing to 6), chalked up his sixth loss-side win against Junior Gabriel 13-1 and picked up the youngster, Hollinsworth, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Yates drew Raymund Faraon, who’d eliminated two members of the Frank family, back to back; Trey Frank, double hill (12-5) in the first money round and then, Trey’s father Ron, double hill (12-7) to meet Yates.
 
Faraon went on to win his third straight double hill match (12-4) over Yates. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Gomez, who’d eliminated Hollinsworth 13-2. Playing with one on the wire at the start in a race to 13 in those quarterfinals, Faraon had chalked up only five, when Gomez won his 13th and advanced to the semifinals.
 
Felicilda started the semifinal match against Gomez with two on the wire in a race to 13. He managed to get to 8, before Gomez finished it, about 10 minutes after daylight started painting the Spartanburg sky and 15 minutes ahead of the official sunrise at 7:16 a.m.
 
The decision to split the top two prizes was made, everyone settled up and tour directors Herman and Angela Parker went back to their hotel to catch a few hours sleep before they had to check out shortly after noon.
 
The Parkers thanked Steakhorse Restaurant and Billiards’ owner, Dayne Miller for his hospitality (to include added money) and his entire staff for what had to have been a hectic weekend. They also thanked title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 16-17), will be hosted by Gate City Billiards in Greensboro, NC.