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The International 9-Ball Open, Penultimate Day Session

Skyler Woodward (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

The next to last day at the International 9-Ball Open had a gala of stars taking on one another to try to stay alive in the tournament until Saturday when our new champion will be crowned. Many great players did not survive the daylight rounds.
 
Dennis Orcollo began the day strongly beating world number one Eklent Kaci 11-8. The match went well over the allotted two hour time schedule as neither man would be rushed into an error. Then Shane Van Boening had his hands full with Chris Melling and those two took an exciting match to the hill before Van Boening claimed the last rack to win 11-10.
 
Justin Bergman went from riches to rags today. First he knocked Jayson Shaw out 11-7 but then ran into a friend who ran through him like a buzzsaw as Skyler Woodward cut through him 11-3.  Woodward had warmed up by beating Fedor Gorst 11-2 so he was ready for bear.
 
We only had one winners side round this morning and that was where Ko Ping-Chung knocked Denis Grabe over to the desperation side of the charts 11-4. Ko is looking hard for our trophy and fighting with every stroke.
 
We have just started the evening rounds after attending the BCA Hall Of Fame dinner that welcomed Kim Davenport and Gerda Hofstatter into that club of elites. 
 
Watch select matches with the online PPV coverage from Accu-Stats and follow all of the action at this year's event with our online coverage including real time scoring and live brackets
 
 

Kazakis comes back from hot seat loss, downs Pagulayan in Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open

(l to r): Brass Tap Billiards owner Rich Kuntz, Alex Kazakis & Alex Pagulayan (Upstate Al)

In its language of origin (Greek), the name ‘Alex’ means ‘warrior.’ Two of them battled twice in the first Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open (formerly the Don Coates Memorial), held on the long weekend of June 13-17. The annual event, sponsored by and with $10,000-added by Doug Beasley, has traditionally drawn the country’s (and increasingly, the world’s) best players, and this year, was no exception. Included in the roster of 85 entrants (among many others) were last year’s winner and runner-up, Sky Woodward and Zoren James Aranas; the 2016 winner, Rodney Morris, Johnny Archer, Neils Feijen, Ronnie Alcano, and the two Alex ‘warriors’ who fought twice to claim the title – Alex Kazakis and Alex Pagulayan. Kazakis lost their hot seat match but returned from the semifinals to defeat The Lion in the finals. The event, as always, was hosted by Brass Tap & Billiards in Raleigh, NC, whose history is longer than the event itself.
 
“Back in the 80s & 90s, they’d hold Wednesday night tournaments,” said Doug Beasley, on-site throughout the weekend at his table/booth, displaying his custom-made cues. “These weren’t money-added, or anything like that. They were just weekly tournaments, and you’d see Earl (Strickland), who used to live down here, Johnny Archer, Kim Davenport and Efren Reyes (among others).
 
“The former owner of the place (Tony Coates) was good friends with Johnny,” he added, “and he’d call him up and let him know he was getting an event together. They were all traveling around (more or less) together at the time, and they’d come in here, just for the weekly tournaments, so there’s a lot of history (related) to this room.”
 
The size of the room, dominated by the tables, lent itself to a ‘small bar’ atmosphere, which, in light of the talent on display during the weekend had a way of transforming it into a ‘big bar’ event; something akin to seeing a popular musician perform in a small nightclub. Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker, who took the reins of this event for the first time last year and operate the Viking Cues’ Q-City 9-Ball Tour, run a tight ship and in spite of some common (and relatively insignificant) issues related to the room’s size, the increasing rise in temperature (as spectators grew toward the final day), and well-known personality issues, the event went off without a hitch. Herman took lead on the ‘issues’ as they arose, from navigating rule disputes, imagined and real personality clashes and the general melee of top-notch, and sometimes volatile professional pool players all in a room together, trying to win the $5,000 first prize.
 
By Saturday, June 16, the field had narrowed down to its final 12 players. Before the day was over, it would be down to six. The two Alexes advanced to a winners’ side semifinal; Kazakis squaring off against Josh Roberts (whom he’d meet and defeat twice), and Pagulayan, facing Ronnie Alcano. Kazakis got into the hot seat match with a 9-5 win over Roberts, and faced Pagulayan (the sport’s best comedian), who’d sent Alcano to the loss side 9-6. Pagulayan claimed the hot seat 9-6 over Kazakis and waited on his return from the semifinals against Roberts.
 
On the loss side, where, at this point, everyone was ‘in the money,’ there were a lot of dangerous competitors, any one of whom could have advanced to challenge Pagulayan’s occupation of the hot seat. New York’s Joey Korsiak, Brandon Shuff, Shannon Fitch (a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball regular, who played well throughout the weekend) and Filipino Jeff DeLuna were the first to be eliminated in the event’s first money round (13th through 16th). Alcano, coming over from the winners’ side, picked up Zoren James Aranas, who’d eliminated Rodney Morris 9-6, and Tony Chohan 9-5. Roberts drew the increasingly dangerous, 19-year-old Albanian, Klenti Kaci, who’d defeated Justin Martin 9-2 and Fedor Gorst 9-7 to reach him.
 
Aranas got by Alcano 9-7, as Roberts chalked up two impressive wins in a row; defeating Kaci 9-5, and then, by the same score in the quarterfinals, Aranas. This set up the semifinal re-match between Kazakis and Roberts.
 
The room was getting a little ‘tighter,’ as humidity and a degree of oxygen deprivation was beginning to have an effect on the way the balls were rolling on the table. This, by way of an observation from UpstateAl, who along with Levi Combs, under the auspices of #LiveAction Media Streaming, was providing the broadcast for the event.
 
Roberts made the event’s semifinal match a little closer than their previous match in the winners’ side semifinals. It was a tight match, but Kazakis pulled ahead to win it 9-7 and earn (definitely earn) his re-match in the finals against Pagulayan.
 
Not surprisingly, the race-to-13, single match final shaped up early as something of an epic battle. Tied up at 2-2, Kazakis and Pagulayan moved into a repetitive (alternate) break and win sequence, that began when Pagulayan took two in a row to go ahead 4-2. Kazakis won rack #7 to narrow the gap to a single game. They repeated this win one, lose one sequence through the next seven games, until Kazakis broke through to win two in a row and create the match’s second tie at 7-7.
 
Pagulayan answered with two in a row of his own to get back in front by two (9-7), for the fourth time since rack #6. It was, with one exception, the last winning rack for Pagulayan. Kazakis went on a five-rack run that was eventually interrupted by Pagulayan’s 10th winning rack. Kazakis sealed the deal with rack #23 and at 13-10, claimed the title to the 1st Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Rich Kuntz and his Brass Tap staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Doug Beasley Custom Cues, the Coastal Carolina TAP League, Omega, AZBilliards, #LiveAction Media Streaming (with Levi Combs, and Upstate Al commentating), and Outsville Great White Pro Chalk.   
 
The Parkers will be back at work with the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour next weekend, June 23-24, when they will hold a $500-added event at Speakeazy Billiards in Sanford, NC.
 

Morris, Calhoun Elected to Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame

Rodney Morris

Broomfield, Colo., July 20, 2016 – The Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame welcomes a pair of powerful left-handed champions to the class of 2016. The United States Billiard Media Association today announced that smooth-stroking Hawaiian “Rocket” Rodney Morris and “The Texas Belle,” Belinda Calhoun have earned induction as the 67th and 68th members of the sport’s most prestigious hall of fame.

 

Morris, 46, will enter the Greatest Players wing of the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame, while Calhoun, 63, will be honored in the Veteran Players category. Both will be formally inducted during ceremonies on October 20, 2016, at the Norfolk Sheraton Waterside in Norfolk, Va.

 

Born in Anaheim, Calif, but raised in Hawaii, Morris burst onto the pool scene in 1996 when, as a 26-year-old, he thrashed Efren Reyes in the final to capture the U.S. Open 9- Ball Championship. Just hitting his playing prime, Morris was away from the game for nearly four years following a federal drug conviction. A remorseful and rededicated Morris returned to the game in 2001 and won the year-ending Sands Regency Open. Over the next six years, Morris captured the UPA Pro Tour Championship, the Matchroom Sports-promoted World Pool League title and the World Cup of Pool. He finished second to Reyes in the IPT World 8-Ball Championship in 2006, earning $150,000. Morris also made eight appearances on Team USA in the Mosconi Cup, earning MVP honors in 2004. More recently, Morris captured titles at the Turning Stone Classic and the U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship.

 

“I want to cry,” Morris said, who lives in Lincoln, Calif. “It is validation and recognition of all the years and hard work I’ve put into this game. Getting into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame is especially gratifying because I came from a broken home, was raised on the streets and made just about every mistake you can make. But I persevered, which proves that everyone can do something great it they dedicate themselves to it.”

 

[photo id=30871|align=right]Born Belinda Campos in Austin, Texas, Calhoun was one of the Women’s Professional Billiards Association’s top stars through the ’80s, capturing a pair of BCA National 8-Ball Championships titles, the Texas River City Open and the NPCA Classic Cup 9-Ball title. Calhoun dominated 1985, winning the Women’s World 14.1 title, the WPBA National Championship and the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship. That same year, she was also named “Player of the Year” by Billiards Digest and was named to the Pool & Billiard Magazine “All-Stars.” Calhoun was credited with running seven racks and out during the 1993 World 9-Ball Championships.

 

In addition to her stellar playing career, Calhoun has been active in organization administration, serving 20 years on the WPBA Board of Directors, six years on the WPA Board and several years as a Billiard Congress of America Board Director.

 

“This is a wonderful surprise,” said Calhoun, who now resides in Fork, S.C. “I had resolved myself to the idea that [getting into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame] wasn’t going to happen. I’m honored. I had always thought my career was deserving, so this is very gratifying. I feel like I’ve served the sport well for a long time.”

 

Voting for the 2016 Hall of Fame was conducted by the USBMA Hall of Fame Board, which consists of USBMA members, elected At-Large members and living members of the Hall of Fame. To be eligible for consideration in the Greatest Players category, a player a) must be 40 years old by Jan. 1 of the year of their inclusion on the ballot; b) must have a professional playing career of at least 10 years; and c) must have recorded significant achievements in U.S.-based and international events.

 

Morris edged Women’s Professional Billiards Association champions Gerda Hofstatter and Vivian Villarreal by a single vote. Morris was named on 48 percent of the ballots, while Villarreal and Hofstatter were named on 47 percent. Kim Davenport was named on 26 percent of the ballots, while Shannon Daulton and Jeremy Jones received votes on less than 25 percent of the ballots.

 

Calhoun’s nomination was recommended by the Veteran Players Committee, which reviews the careers of players who were not elected in the Greatest Players category prior to turning 60, at which point they are removed from the ballot. Induction for a Veteran Players nominee is achieved if more than 50 percent of the Hall of Fame Board votes in favor of the candidate.

 

 

Oliver Ortmann and Charles Ursitti Earn Enshrinement in Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame

Oliver Ortmann and Charles Ursitti

Two trailblazers in the pool world have earned election into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 2015. Former world champion Oliver Ortmann of Germany and pool promoter/historian Charles Ursitti will be inducted as the 65th and 66th members of the sport's hall of fame, the United States Billiard Media Association announced today.
 
Ortmann, 48, of Hamburg, will enter the Greatest Players wing of the BCA Hall of Fame, while Ursitti, 68, who was born in New York City and now resides in Florida, will be honored for Meritorious Service. Both will be formally inducted during ceremonies on Oct. 29, 2015, at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside in Norfolk, Va.
 
One of the most decorated players in Europe, Ortmann led the way for European players in the United States by scoring a shocking win over pool legend Steve Mizerak in the final of the 1989 BCA U.S. Open 14.1 Championship in Chicago. Ortmann went on to win the 1993 BCA U.S. Open, as well as three World Pool-Billiard Association world titles – the 1993 WPA World 9-Ball Championship and the WPA World 14.1 Championship in 2007 and 2010. The fiery Ortmann twice won the International Challenge of Champions (1997 and 2000), and captained Team EUROPE's winning Mosconi Cup squad in 2002. He also holds 14 European Pool Championship gold medals, 13 Euro Tour titles and was three-time European Player of the Year.
 
"This is a great surprise to me," Ortmann said, after being notified of his election. "It's great news. To be honest, I had stopped thinking about the hall of fame. Many years ago I thought it was possible, but after years went by, I thought my time had passed."
 
Ursitti's career in billiard promotions began when he teamed with boxing promoter Big Fights, Inc., to produce the first-ever meeting of pool legends Willie Mosconi and "Minnesota Fats" in the "Great Pool Shootout." The 1978 ABC-TV Wide World of Sports production drew more than 10 million television viewers, and remains the most watched pool match ever aired in the U.S. Ursitti went on to promote televised matches between Fats and Mosconi, eventually introducing modern day players like Allen Hopkins and Steve Mizerak into the productions. A seven-year run with CBS Sports Spectacular created opportunities to add more pro players, as well as female stars Jean Balukas and Loree Jon Ogonowski (Hasson). Ursitti was responsible for pool's initial forays onto cable giant ESPN, where he promoted the "King of the Hill" series and the "Legends of Pocket Billiards" series.
 
In addition to being a promoter, Ursitti researched and created a database documenting the history of competitive pool and three-cushion billiards in the U.S., chronicling the sport from 1878 to present day. The database is available online for free at charlesursitti.com.
 
"Needless to say, I'm thrilled to be elected into the BCA Hall of Fame," Ursitti said. "When I was first introduced to pocket billiards in 1976, I never dreamed of someday joining the greatest of the great. I consider myself really lucky with all of my promotions, and was honored to work with the legends of the sport, from Willie and Fats, Irving Crane and Jimmy Caras, to Mizerak, Hopkins, Mike Sigel, Jimmy Rempe and the rest. It has been a great trip, and I will cherish that forever."
 
Voting for the 2015 BCA Hall of Fame was conducted by the USBMA Hall of Fame Board, which consists of USBMA members, elected At-Large members and living members of the BCA Hall of Fame. Induction into the Greatest Players category is awarded to the player named on the most ballots. To be eligible for consideration in the Greatest Players category, a player a) must be 40 years old by Jan. 1 of the year of their induction; b) must have a professional playing career of at least 10 years; and c) must have recorded significant achievements in U.S.-based events.
 
A special Meritorious Service Committee recommends a person for consideration by the Hall of Fame Board. Induction into the Meritorious Service category is achieved if more than 50 percent of the Hall of Fame Board votes in favor of the candidate.
 
Ortmann, in his eighth year of eligibility, was named on 60 percent of the ballots, edging out fellow pros Gerda Hofstatter (44 percent) and Kim Davenport (37 percent). Belinda Calhoun, Shannon Daulton, Mary Kenniston, Rodney Morris and Vivian Villarreal each received votes on fewer than 25 percent of the ballots.

 

Mika Immonen and Jose Parica Earn Recognition in Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame

The Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame proudly celebrates and welcomes two of pool’s most dominate players in 2014. The United States Billiard Media Association today announced that two-time world pool champion Mika Immonen and Jose Parica, the leader of pool’s “Philippine Invasion” in the 1980s, have earned induction into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in the Greatest Players category. 
 
Immonen, 42, and Parica, 65, will become the 63rd and 64th members of the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. The pair will be inducted during ceremonies on Oct. 17, at the Chesapeake Convention Center in Chesapeake, Va.
 
Immonen, born in London, but raised in Finland, was the European 9-Ball Tour’s No. 1 player at 20. Four years after capturing his first major international title — the 1996 Peace Cup in Taiwan —Immonen settled in New York City. A year later, he won the World Pool Championship in Cardiff, Wales, topping a star-studded 128-player international field and grabbing what was then pool’s richest top prize — $65,000. Immonen was a dominant player throughout the 2000s, winning 10 pro titles in the U.S., including back-to-back U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships crowns (2008, 2009). He added his second world title when he won the 2009 World 10-Ball Championship. Billiards Digest named Immonen “Player of the Decade” in 2010. Immonen has added a handful of major titles since 2010, including the World Cup of Pool doubles crown in 2012. He has also played as a member of Team EUROPE in the Mosconi Cup 14 times, and was named MVP in 2008.
 
“This is really amazing,” Immonen said, when the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame call interrupted a practice session at Amsterdam Billiard Club in Manhattan. “I’m a little beside myself right now, with goose bumps. After last year (in which Immonen lost to Jeanette Lee in a special Hall of Fame run-off]), I knew I had a chance. But you never really believe it until it’s real.”
 
“When I was younger, I had dreams and goals,” he added. “It’s a timeline, and the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame was on that list. Obviously, that goal takes time. I wasn’t in a big rush to be recognized as an old geezer, but it’s nice to be in the Hall of Fame at 41.”
 
Parica becomes the second player elected to the Greatest Player wing of the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame through recommendation of the Veterans Committee. (The Veterans Committee considers players who failed to be elected through general voting prior to turning 60. Players recommended by the Veterans Committee are put on the final ballot. Election is confirmed with a 50 percent approval from the Voting Members of the Hall of Fame.) Following a distinguished career in the Philippines, where he gained a reputation as the pool-crazy island’s money-game king, Parica arrived in the U.S. He won his first pro tour title in 1986, at the Clyde Childress Open.
 
After a sabbatical from the game (1992-1996), Parica returned to the Camel Pro Billiard Series with a vengeance, winning a pair of tour titles. His consistent play throughout the year also earned him the $50,000 Player of the Year (POY) bonus award to the tour’s top points earner.  The points title came down to the semifinals of the year’s final event, when Parica battled Buddy Hall in a match that determined which player would claim the POY award. Parica topped Hall, 9-7. Parica continued to rank among the game’s top players well into the 2000s, winning Derby City Classic titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003, including Master of the Table in 2002.
 
“It has been a long time to wait,” said Parica, when told of his election. “For many years, I didn’t think the people from the BCA knew who I was. I was always asked about my record. I won many major tournaments in the U.S. They commented about my gambling, but what pool player doesn’t gamble? But it is a great honor,” he added. “I’m very happy.”
 
Voting for the 2014 BCA Hall of Fame was conducted by the USBMA Hall of Fame Board, which consists of USBMA members, elected At-Large members and living members of the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. Induction in the Greatest Players category is awarded to the player named on the most ballots. A second player is elected if both players are named on more than 70 percent of the ballots. To be eligible for consideration in the Greatest Players category, a player a) must be 40 years old by Jan. 1 of the year of their induction; b) must have a professional playing career of at least 10 years; and c) must have recorded significant achievements in U.S.-based events.
 
Immonen, in his second year of eligibility, was named on 75 precent of the ballots. Germany’s Oliver Ortmann was named on 33 percent of the ballots, and Gerda Hofstatter was named on 27 percent. Belinda Calhoun, Kim Davenport, Mary Kenniston, Jeremy Jones, Rodney Morris and Vivian Villarreal each received votes on less than 25 percent of the ballots.

Mike Sigel Traveling to Promote the GPPA

Looking for a new billiard league where anyone can win?  One million dollars in prize money guarantees that GPPA’s new league will make your Thursday nights a lot more thrilling.  Founded by Mike Sigel, the league promises a $250,000 first prize – unheard of in the billiard industry.  Mike also created The Sigel Handicap System, which allows anyone, even beginners, a chance at the big money.  Coupled with the fact that any five players can play on a team (only one professional per team), handicap does not preclude someone from remaining on a team.  It also means your wife or girlfriend, who has never played prior, can join your team either as a regular or an alternate (up to three alternates are allowed per team), on your night out with the boys.

 

The league is already taking off like wildfire.  Joining the group this week as league operators in Georgia are Johnny Archer and Kim Davenport.  With so much money going back to both the players and the league operators, territories are quickly being divided up.  Out on tour, Mike is busy visiting billiard parlors throughout the United States, explaining the handicap system and giving lessons.  From Sandcastle Billiards with Pat Fleming in New Jersey, Mike will be at the Ultimate Sport Bar & Billiards on Friday, November 15th – 28202 Dequindre Road, Warren, MI 48092 – (248) 761-2577 at 9:00 p.m.  On Saturday, November 16th at 1 p.m., Mike will be at Snookers Pool and Pub – 27630 Schoolcraft Road, Livonia, MI (734) 422-9510 and on Sunday, November 17th at 7:00 p.m. he will be at The Shark Club – 6665 Highland Road, Waterford Township 48327 – (248) 666-4161.

 

For more information, please go to www.gppaleague.com.  Feel free to e-mail us directly atgppainc@aol.com with questions, suggestions or requests to have Mike visit your home town billiard parlor!  The website and Mike’s tour schedule are updated daily.

Jeanette Lee and Barry Hearn Earn Enshrinement in Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame

Jeanette Lee (File photo courtesy of the APBU)

Broomfield, Colo., August 21, 2013 — The Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame is honored to welcome two of pool’s most media-savvy personalities in 2013. The United States Billiard Media Association today announced that women’s champion Jeanette “The Black Widow” Lee and British promoter Barry Hearn have earned induction into the sport’s hall of fame by becoming the 61st and 62nd members.
 
Lee, 41, will enter the Greatest Players wing of the BCA Hall of Fame, while Hearn, 65, will be honored for Meritorious Service. Both will be formally inducted during ceremonies on December 2, 2013, at the Mirage Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas.
 
In the closest Hall of Fame voting ever, Lee edged Finnish star Mika Immonen in a special runoff election. The two champions were tied after the initial ballots were submitted. In the runoff, Lee and Immonen went head to head, where Lee surpassed her male contemporary by just two votes.
 
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lee is unquestionably the most recognizable contemporary pool player in the world. As a player, Lee’s supreme confidence and drive took her to the Women’s Professional Billiards Association’s No. 1 ranking.
 
As a promoter and marketer, Lee parlayed her talent and looks into a small business empire that has resulted in untold amounts of exposure for both her and the sport. After boldly declaring her intention to become No. 1 in 1993, Lee wasted little time, winning three WPBA Classic Tour events, the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship and the WPBA Nationals in 1994. The incredible string of wins vaulted Lee to No. 1 and earned her Player-of-the-Year honors from both Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine. Lee won seven more Classic Tour titles from ’95-’99, and added two ESPN titles, the Tournament of Champions and Ultimate Shootout. In 2001, Lee earned the gold medal at the World Games in Akita, Japan. She has won a dozen titles in the 2000s, including the WPBA Florida Classic and BCA Open Championship in 2004. Lee’s accomplishments at the table are all the more impressive considering the physical ailments (scoliosis, arthritis, bursitis and more) that have resulted in 10 surgical procedures.
 
Off the table, Lee’s contributions and clout have been recognized in her 1998 selection as WPBA Sportsperson of the Year and her ranking as one of the industry’s most powerful people in the bi-annual Billiards Digest Power Poll in 2001, ’03, ’05 and ’07. She was featured in ESPN The Magazine’s annual “Body Issue,” has been ranked among the world’s sexiest female athletes, and has appeared in numerous television commercials and as a guest on countless national television shows. She has served as National Spokesperson for The Scoliosis Association and on the board of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
 
Born in London, Hearn began his professional career as an accountant. In the early ’70s, Hearn bought several billiard halls around London, and then expanded into event promotion and television with the formation of Matchroom Sport.
 
In 1994 Hearn branched out into American pool, staging the Mosconi Cup, a Ryder Cup-style 9-ball event pitting the top players from the U.S. against the best of Europe. For 20 years, the Mosconi Cup has been aired live and in its entirety throughout the UK, and as edited programing throughout Europe (and on occasion in the U.S. Since 1994) Hearn has also staged the World Pool Masters (20 consecutive years), the World Pool League/World Cup of Pool (1998-2013), and World Pool Championship (1999-2007).
 
Incredibly, Matchroom events have never featured an entry fee, and have distributed nearly $9 million in prize money. Additionally, more than 800 hours of Matchroom events have been aired live throughout Europe and Asia, with thousands of additional hours of packaged programing being aired throughout the world. It could be argued that Hearn’s efforts through Matchroom have played as important a role as anyone’s in the development of international pool competition.
 
Voting for the 2013 BCA Hall of Fame was conducted by the USBMA Hall of Fame Board, which consists of USBMA members, elected At-Large members and living members of the BCA Hall of Fame. Induction in the Greatest Players category is awarded to the player named on the most ballots. A second player is elected if both players are named on more than 70 percent of the ballots. To be eligible for consideration in the Greatest Players category, a player a) must be 40 years old by Jan. 1 of the year of their induction; b) must have a professional playing career of at least 10 years; and c) must have recorded significant achievements in U.S.-based events.
 
A special Meritorious Service Committee recommends a person or persons for consideration by the Hall of Fame Board. Induction into the Meritorious Service category is achieved if more than 50 percent of the Hall of Fame Board votes in favor of the candidate. Hearn received confirmation on 99 percent of the ballots.
 
Lee, in her second year of eligibility, and Immonen, in his first year of eligibility, were both named on 53 percent of the ballots in the initial voting. Germany’s Oliver Ortmann was named on 28 percent of the ballots. Belinda Calhoun, Kim Davenport, Gerda Hofstatter, Mary Kenniston, Rodney Morris and Vivian Villarreal each received votes on less than 25 percent of the ballots. In the runoff election, Lee received 21 votes, while Immonen received 19.
 
About United States Billiard Media Association
 
Founded in 2007, the United States Billiard Media Association (USBMA) is a non-profit association dedicated to elevating the visibility and status of billiards in the media at large. The USBMA consists of professional print, radio, TV, public relations and Internet media persons who cover cue sports. One of the association’s main functions is electing of billiard media members to the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame Board for the purpose of nominating and electing players and notable figures to the BCA Hall of Fame. 
 
About Billiard Congress of America
 
Founded in 1948, the Billiard Congress of America is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to growing a united, prosperous and highly regarded billiard industry through BCA leadership. The BCA seeks to enhance the success of its members and promote the game of billiards though educational, marketing and promotional efforts, annual industry trade shows and other programs designed to encourage billiards as a lifestyle and make pool everybody’s game. For more information, visit www.bca-pool.com or call 303.243.5070.
 
 

A Conversation With Johnny Archer

With the upcoming Johnny Archer Classic only days away (October 12-14 at the Marietta Billiard Club in Marietta, GA) we felt it only fitting to touch base with this larger than life pool professional. Geoff Conway sat down with Johnny at the recent Turning Stone Classic.

Johnny Archer picked up his first cue when he was twelve years old. But his career really started when he turned professional only six years later. Since then his career has been a star-studded journey of some 26 years.

Johnny Archer was born November 12, 1968 in Waycross, Georgia. He grew up just down the road in Twin City alongside his two brothers and two sisters. By the time he was 22 Archer was a seasoned pro and had become one of the top 9 ball players in the world. In 1992 he laid testament to that when he won his first World 9 Ball title. When he defeated Bobby Hunter in the final it awoke the world to the power of this quiet warrior. He repeated this same feat in 1997 and by winning his second World 9 Ball title drove the stake deep into the voice of any who doubted him. He also was runner up for the World 9 Ball title in 1998.

In 1999 Johnny won the US Open. Over his career to date Johnny has won over 60 major titles and is no less a threat now than he was 20 years ago. As he told us: “When I started my pro career I never thought I would still be competing 26 years later, much less still competing for the top spot.

I believe my biggest achievement in pool is still being able to compete at a high level 26 years after I turned pro.”

When we asked Archer about the things that matter most to him he replied: “My life changed 180 degrees when I met Melanie. (His wife, married in 2002.)  I was lost and had no direction. God and Melanie are the reasons why I am where I am today both in life and in pool.”

“My two children Lee and LeeAnne have made my life whole. The hard decisions I make today are based solely around my family. Whatever is best for them.  My son Lee has been a BIG inspiration for me. He has battled medical problems his whole life, and he has never complained. I never realized how small my problems really were until I saw what he had to go through. I can fight all the hard players on tour as long as my family is there beside me.”

There is more to Mr. Archer than the playing champion we all know. He is also a business owner. “I bought a pool room with Kim Davenport (Marietta Billiards in Marietta, GA) because I wanted to leave something big behind me one day. I will leave it to my children to carry it on. Business-wise the stars happened to align at the right time for me.”

We wondered aloud what advice he would have for the young players of today that will be the stars of the game in the future. He told us: “My advice to any young player is to never give up on your dream. Get all the negative people out of your life. Keep your eyes on the target and never waiver from that. You will no doubt have to take different roads than you imagined, but there is always a road that leads to the finish line. Age is only a number. You can do anything as long as you put your mind to it!”

And what does the future hold for this legend? “I would like to play for another ten years, health permitting. I expect that one day I will wake up and feel that I can't win any more tournaments. I guess at that moment I will just ride off into the sunset.” (A smile creeping across his face.)

His illustrious career has garnished him many accolades: BilliardDigest awarded him the “Player of the Decade” at the end of the nineties. In 2009 Johnny was inducted into the “BCA Hall of Fame” at the age of 41.  And his wins are legendary. What title has he not lifted at some time? He has been World Champion, U.S. Open Champion, and champion of most every other event that has been held on U.S. soil.

Johnny who has been a fixture on the USA Team for the Mosconi Cup since 1997, has played 15 consecutive years to 2011. He is yet again in the running to be picked again but needs a good finish in the US Open in October in Virginia Beach, VA.

When asked what he would like to finish with Archer said: “I want to say thank you to some people for helping me along the way. My father for giving me wisdom. My brothers and sisters and step-mom for taking care of me. Art Wiggins for being a great friend and keeping me out of trouble on the business side of things. Chester Flynt for being a great mentor to me. My kids Lee and LeeAnne who are my inspiration. My wife Melanie is my best friend who I want beside me should I have to go into battle with anyone or anything. Thank you so much for being there for me. I love you so much. Last but not least, thank you to God. I would not have anything without Him leading me to it.

US Open Day One Complete

Mike Dechaine (Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe)

Day one is complete at the 35th Annual US Open 9-Ball Championship and the story of the day was former champion Shane Van Boening‘s loss to Mike Dechaine. The match took place on the Accu-Stats table and Dechaine put on a show, completely dominating Van Boening 11-3. Shawn Putnam looked like he was on the way to a similar upset over reigning World 9-Ball Champion Francisco Bustamante in the final round of the day, but Bustamante proved to be harder to beat than Van Boening as he came back and defeated Putnam 11-9 in a very close match.

The rest of the day’s matches didn’t see any other major upsets, with the possible exception of Rory Hendrickson‘s 11-9 win over Antonio Lining.

Most of the ladies in attendance at the event played on day one, with Jennifer Barretta, Amy Chen and Gerda Hofstatter all scoring first round wins. Loree Jon Hasson (formerly Jones) led her match against Shaun Wilkie early, but ran out of steam and lost 11-8. Belinda Calhoun kept her match with Ramil Gallego close, but ended up losing 11-7.

Marquee matches scheduled for the first half of day two include Johnny Archer vs Dennis Orcollo, Mika Immonen vs Kenichi Uchigaki, Stevie Moore vs Bahram Lofty, Shaun Wilkie vs BJ Ussery and Mike Dechaine vs Lo Li Wen.

The Accu-Stats schedule for the first half of Monday is:

11am – Hunter Lombardo vs Roberto Gomez
1pm – Darren Appleton vs Ronald Tutein
3pm – Johnny Archer vs Dennis Orcollo

We have complete coverage of the event with real time scoring, online brackets and daily video updates from Samm Diep at http://usopen.azbilliards.com

California Kim wins US Bar Table Championship 8-Ball Division

Davenport went undefeated for the win

"California" Kim Davenport closed out the US Bar Table Championship in Reno Nevada, Sunday Night with a 5-4 win over Frankie Hernandez to finish off an undefeated run through the 8-Ball division. Davenport pocketed $5,000 for first while Hernandez took $3,000 for second. Paul Brienza and Danny Medina filled out the top 4 places.

 
The 9-Ball division was won Friday night by Stan Tourangeau who defeated Norm Wines in the finals. Tourangeau also took home $5,000 and Wines finished with $3,000 for second.