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Sharing The Light – Mike “Tennessee Tarzan” Massey

Mike Massey

Our next entrant is one of the most recognizable pool personalities in the world. His up and down and up again story is shared here in his own words, as only he can tell it.  

Hi, I’m Mike Massey and would like to share with you my testimony, then if you ever had me to sign an autograph, I think you will realize why I always sign “Jesus Loves Us.”

I’m a Hall of Fame pool player, and have won 24 major titles in pool. I’ve been on ESPN Sports about 250 times and many other TV talk shows all over the world, and also 5 movies. I’ve traveled to about 40 countries playing tournaments, doing exhibitions, and teaching pool. I’ve performed for the Olympic committee in Russia and China, for Mafia leaders and KGB, and for the prince of Bruni.

My ex-wife and I travelled the world treated like Royalty, staying in nice Hotels, eating at the best restaurants, playing on the best golf courses, and associating with very wealthy people.

When you’re famous, people treat you different, and some worship you, and the problem is, you start liking it and thinking you’re more special than the common person. This happens with a lot of celebrities, and we start using our fame for vain reasons.  This is very evil and hard to repent of.

During my first marriage, I accepted Jesus as my savior. But by not getting grounded in the word, I backslid big time and became a worse sinner than I was before I started believing.

I lost everything I thought I could never have growing up in poverty in the small town of Loudon, TN. I had a good job, a wife I loved and two wonderful children, and lost it all because of my infidelity. I then battled deep depression that almost destroyed me.

I was a hypocrite, and suffered the consequences big time. Like King David said, my sins are forever on my mind. Even though I’ve repented, I still struggle to do what is right. I believe every born-again Christian understands what I’m saying, because once you truly start trying to serve God, sometimes your closest friends or family will turn against you.

Satan is the God of the world, and the world cannot know God. God’s ways are foolishness to the world. You have to hate your life in the world to gain it. Lots of things you loved, you will hate. And things you hated, you will love when you come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Hell is real, and is made for Satan, his angels, and false prophets. Anyone who truly accepts Jesus dying on the cross shall be saved. The only way to the Father is through Jesus, and the only way for Salvation is the Cross. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that we can be saved. The wrath of God was poured upon his Son for or sins. Through one, we all became sinners, and through one were saved. That’s the simple message of the Bible. The good news: it’s for all that truly repent and accept this. It’s free, we’re saved by God’s grace not by our works. Without Jesus, it’s impossible to attain salvation and the kingdom of God. Our righteousness is as filthy as rags.

He can even give us peace and joy in this messed up world if we’re obedient and let him give it to us.

We can also have the assurance that when we die, we go to a better place. All tears will be wiped away. No more heartache.

I’ve been trying to preach the gospel and witness to people about Christ for many years now.  I’m part of a ministry with Tom Rossman and Steve Lillis called Gospel Trick Shots and we go all over the world preaching the gospel of Jesus crucified.

We’ve been to most of the Muslim countries. The Muslims are very big into pool. They sponsor a lot of tournaments. I love the Muslims, but I disagree with the way they believe just like they disagree with the way I believe. Same way with all other religions; if you try and meditate your way into Heaven without going through Jesus you will end up in a pit of darkness. But if you cry out to Jesus, he will bring you out and guide you into the straight and narrow, if you let him.

You can check our website out, gospeltrickshot.org. You can also go to YouTube and see me preaching in Egypt. Just bring up Mile Massey in Egypt.

We also go to colleges and prisons. Colleges won’t let a preacher come and preach, but they let us through the recreation department and the chaplain.

I’m a born-again Christian, and wrestle tremendously with my flesh – liking the attention sometimes too much – and also the temptations that are presented to me. I was a horrible sinner with many generation curses on my life. I was demon possessed and tormented as a child, and had a father that beat my mother up many times and wanted to kill me and my brother. Sometimes he would hallucinate from being shell shocked from War II and thought we were the enemy.

I forgive my Father and hope he is in Heaven, because he surely went through hell here on earth.

If you don’t forgive, you will never have peace, and will imitate what your father did because you’re a part of that generation curse. Keep forgiving and asking God to forgive you. Jesus said, by my stripes you are healed. Those curses were broken at the cross.

I know there’s lots of people that have gone through this and feel there’s no hope. You may think God is not a loving God to let these things happen. God is not our problem. He loves us so much he gave his Son to die for us.  It all goes back to the original sin; we were all born sinners, which we didn’t choose.

At one time I traveled the U.S. hustling pool and associating with the lowest of the low.  I was gambling at cards, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beer, all at the age of eight. I’ve looked down a gun barrel many times at people wanting to kill me. These were drug dealers, bank robbers, hit men, and pimps. I’ve been in jail 5 or 6 times for gambling. I’ve had many head injuries as a child and as an adult. I’ve been hit by cars three different times, and almost drowned twice.

I had a very strong spiritual experience when I was at my lowest. I came to my cheap hotel one night after staying in the bars gambling for probably two or three days, taking speed to keep me going. As I was getting ready to go to bed, I looked in the mirror and I looked like a zombie, 6 ‘ 4” and about 150 pounds, rotten teeth, and nicotine stained from about four packs of cigarettes a day.  I heard a voice that said there’s a better life than this. My head turned to the right, and there was a bible laying on the night stand. I picked it up and opened it. Certain scriptures became highlighted – about three of them.

God was trying to lead me in the right path, but Satan didn’t want to lose his puppet that had been doing his work since birth.

I was guided into all kinds of cults and ways to try and become a better person in vain. Someone drugged my drink with LSD and I ended up in a mental institution. Whatever I thought of I would become: a monster eating earth, cancer in someone’s body, Superman, and even paper, stones, dogs, monkeys; even Jesus on the cross.

This lasted for years. I thought I was on the right path of trying to find heaven, but I found hell instead. I ended up worse than Legion and crawled around like a snake at times, and would go out into the woods and beg God and Satan to appear even though I didn’t want to serve either one. I sometimes would swing my arms for hours trying to fight the demons, only to fall on the ground and beat myself. I would walk the railroad tracks and sometimes lay down beside them, debating whether to lay my head on them when the trains go by.

My story has been told many times. You can find it on YouTube. PM Magazine did a documentary on me in 1980.  It’s called “Mike Massey, Pool Hustler.”  Billiards Digest did a long story on me when I got inducted into the billiards hall of fame in 2005.

The only way to stay out of the pit is to stay close to Jesus. You can be a saint one minute, and if you’re not careful, a monster the next. The Bible says we perish because of lack of wisdom. God’s wisdom is first pure and peaceful. I found out also our works without Christ is totally filthy as rags.

The only thing that keeps me going is when he tells me he chose me, and I believe my name is written in the Lambs book of life. Sometimes I have to look at him in faith and say, you said you’re the author and finisher of my faith so whatever you need to do please do it, because I can’t.

My main thing is to try and get people to stay away from palm readers; any type of meditation that is not bible scriptures; and especially rock, rap, and even country music that influences you to drink and party in the bars. I hate the bars and pool rooms of today. The music they play is out of the pits of hell. And the sports bars have many TVs playing sports and videos that are also out of hell. I love the people, and they seem to love me. I want them to be saved. Many times I believe I have met and talked to people that are saved and back slidden and get back into church. I have not one speck of doubt about what Jesus did on the Cross, but like I said before, without him and The Holy Spirit, it’s impossible to live it.

I also write and sing country gospel music. I have a song that is number one on ReverbNation country charts in Park City, UT.  It’s called Sharpie and a Cue. If you’ve been on TV, everyone wants your autograph or a selfie photo with you. The theme of the song is, ‘Did they ask Jesus for his autograph?’ The intention is to humble some of the celebrities that’s living a sinful life and being worshipped by the kids, just like a lot of us did as children growing up in poverty – believing that becoming rich and famous was the goal for happiness.

You see actors and celebrities on TV smiling and telling you how wonderful everything is, but most of them are totally empty inside and are desperately searching for something to fill that void. They’re actors, they know how to mask the pain and emptiness.

Almost all the titles I won there was no true joy, just ego satisfaction. The Christians call it “flesh” or the Adam nature. No flesh will Glory in the site of God. The human-heart natural man is deceitful and wicked. You can’t totally kill it in this world, but you can tame it with the help of the Holy Spirit.

It doesn’t matter how many material things you acquire, it’s never enough. Same with sex, food, whatever it is, there’s never enough. A lot of people turn to drugs and alcohol, but after a while this doesn’t help, then you reach the bottom, and a lot commit suicide believing there’s no hope.

There is hope and it’s for everyone, his name is Jesus. If you get ahold of him he says, I will never leave you or forsake you. It takes faith, and he’s the Author and finisher of our faith.

At times you can look Satan dead in the eye and say, get behind me. He’s already been defeated; Jesus defeated him on the cross. At other times, when he gangs up on you and you’re not on guard, you might get knocked down. But Jesus will heal you’re wounds and strengthen you.

You must realize you can’t hit back; you’ve got to pray for your enemy. Your weapons are not carnal. It’s not flesh and blood you’re up against, it’s spiritual.

I lived in fourteen different houses within a six-mile radius in the small town of Loudon, TN before I went into the military at the age of seventeen.  I only finished the eighth grade and never went a year of school without missing at least 20 days.  I was basically illiterate when God first came into my life, but now I have written books, articles for magazines, screen plays and many songs. If you give your life to God he can restore what Satan stole from you.

If you go to Mike Massey music video on YouTube you can see the music video of the song. God bless, and pray for me – that I will do his work with gratitude, and that it’s without strife.

Florian Kohler Player Interview

Florian Kohler

With the lack of events to report on at the moment, we are teaming with the Supr Charged Agency to feature interviews with various European and American players. Hopefully this will give all of the readers a chance to get to know these players better.

This time, we get to know “Venom” Florian Kohler
Name (and nickname): Florian ‘Venom’ Kohler
Birth year: 1988
City of residence and birth city:  Las Vegas, US  – Born in Mulhouse, France

We want to kick this off with how Florian began his career, so let’s start with the opening bio from his website.
Venom first picked up a pool cue and began “fooling around” at the age of 18, when he received a mini-pool table for his birthday. He learned his first trick shots from videos on the Internet, watching and imitating what he saw.

Not satisfied, Venom quickly moved on to inventing his own, modern version of old trick shots. Within two years, Venom was competing against trick shot pool pros that had been playing since before he was born. He hasn’t looked back since.

Who was your inspiration when you first started?
My first inspiration was a guy online named Ppooler. Then it was Semih Sayginer, followed by Mike Massey and Tom Rossman.

You are known as very creative and often come up with new and amazing shots. What is the process like when you work on a new shot? 
This is pretty hard to explain. I would say it is a little bit of everything. From watching other sports to literally coming up with it on the spot, it is very varied. Sometimes I have nothing, but then the next day, out of the blue, I’ll have 2 or 3 crazy new shots. I wish I could ‘control’ this better but it really is an artistic process and like artists, inspiration can come from very different things.

About how long does it take you, from the original idea stage, to have a shot “complete” and part of your show?
That also depends very much. Sometimes one shot can be integrated in the show in 15 minutes if it’s a new but easy one. But if it’s a hard one, I would say it takes me weeks to decide if it is worth it live or not.

How did you come up with the idea of bringing your Diamond table to the desert, Valley of Fire, for your latest video?
This was an old dream of mine. I always thought pool in the pool halls was very stereotyped, so I always wanted to get it out of the pool halls for my videos. On top of that, the landscape in my opinion adds an element of extreme sport that really matches my trick shots.

Your wife became a part of your videos a couple of years ago. How did that come together?
That was a very natural process. Part of the joy in pool is to teach your knowledge, so she learned a few tricks and really enjoyed it. After a while, it became obvious we had to do tandem videos. For the modeling part same as well. During practice, I often used her to ‘crash test’ some shots because she is actually fearless, so it really helped to determine which shot would be worth including in a full production. We really enjoy doing those together as a couple, lots of fun!

Are you a God-given talent, or is it a mix of talent and hard work?
I would say the creativity is definitely something I cannot explain, but the rest is just practice practice and practice!

Do you feel the pressure from up and coming artistic cueists?
I was recently talking about that with Mike Massey and to be honest, not really. I actually kind of miss it. There are a few players here and there that are technically very good and will win tournaments, but so far nobody has my creativity and to me copying something that already exists is very different than creating it.

What are your greatest accomplishments? Tell us about the feeling of achieving those.
It is hard to pick but I always thought my tournament accomplishments were never quite as important as the ones outside the pool industry. If I were to choose my first Guinness World Record, the 1 billion views I have online and reaching 1M subscribers on Facebook and soon youtube! No cueist ever reached that YouTube Gold Button, so that will be something truly special!

How often did you practice early on, and how often now?
I practice less and less now with all my other ventures, but when I started and for the next 7 years I was putting more hours in than I could count. I had no issue doing a week practicing 10 hours a day until my fingers were bleeding!

What should newcomers in this discipline practice most?
Definitely finding new shots and discovering their own style. I believe with the evolution of the cues, we can push the sport further and further.

You are also a great 9-ball player. How would you rate yourself in terms of the APA rating system?
Since I own the league in Vegas, I can tell you I would definitely be a 7-9 . I do have a high run of 73 in straight pool and 5 break and runs in 9 ball, all on 9 foot tables.

Do you ever get tempted to participate in local events?
I do very rarely. Not because I do not want to, but mainly because I am simply too busy. Trick shots are my job and normal pool is my hobby, so I am treating it like this, always trying to get shows on a weekend, rather than playing a tournament.

Is it true that you also hold a black belt in Judo, and do you still practice it? 
Yes that is correct. I unfortunately sort of stopped when my pool career started to take off in order, to avoid injuries.

How important is the equipment for an artistic cueist?
Very important! While you can do most shots with simple equipment, the key for us is for the cues to last and be solid/reliable. I can do 70% of my masses with a standard playing cue, however after 50 tries on that cue I would guarantee I would break the ferrule or something!

When did you realize that you could actually make a living from this?
It sort of happened gradually. I decided to really take a chance when my first viral video hit and had a few sponsors that would allow me to survive.

How many travel days do you have per year?
Not sure how many days, but I can tell you last year I took nearly 120 flights!

You have almost 1 million subscribers on YouTube. 
What, in your opinion, is required to be a great ambassador/sponsored player?
Love of the game first. You cannot just do it for the money or for the titles. This is a crazy game and as soon as you think you control it, something will happen. I just try to enjoy the game and truly love every kind of cue sport which naturally translates during my shows and other interactions.

What should the billiard industry do, in general, to get more recognition outside the industry? 
I think, break off the cliches, be more professional and consider ourselves as such. After all, pool is one of the most played sports in the world, so with the right structures, nothing should stop us from reaching our legitimate status!

Thoughts on Matchroom and their efforts to make pool great?
Fantastic! Any effort like this will be beneficial for everyone. Even for the players not selected, such an effort will ripple and enhance the professionalization of our beloved sport!
You were involved in the “Billiards 2024” project. Your goal was to get the sport accepted for the 2024 Olympic Games.
Were you surprised that the Olympic committee decided to not accept billiards, but chose breakdancing, skateboarding, surfing and climbing?

In my opinion this was the best effort billiard has made in a long time. Brands and disciplines working together, past their differences, all towards a common goal. Yes, the result didn’t reflect our efforts, but I truly believe something ‘clicked’ and in the future this will serve the industry greatly! As far as the other disciplines, to me it was simply a lobbying/marketing issue that unfortunately we could not do anything against…

What are your goals for 2020?
Hard to say at this point. My goal was to grow the pool league and go back to traveling a bit less for trick shots but really with the covid19, it’s hard to say what economical landscape we will all wake up to in a month…  I am still hoping to continue promoting the game through my shows and especially appeal to the younger generation!
Can we expect more world records from you in the next 2 years?
Absolutely. As a matter of fact I had an event planned for next month that unfortunately is cancelled due to the pandemic. I am thinking about potentially doing it live now but hard to say if we can meet Guinness requirements during those times… I will certainly keep everyone posted!!

Your thoughts on the Covid-19 situation and what should pool players do? 
These are going to be hard times for us, just when everything was starting to be better. Obviously, we cannot participate in tournaments and travel, so all we can do is share the love for the game online and practice as much as possible!!

Juszczyszyn Breaks The Dutch Hearts

Ivar Saris and Konrad Juszczyszyn

Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn claimed his first ever Eurotour gold and at the same time, broke the Dutch hearts here at the Dynamic Billard Treviso Open in Italy. After a couple of weeks of pool in the European Championships, where the Dutch came up dry with no medals in the men’s events, Ivar Saris had suddenly raised their spirits reaching his first ever final on the European 9-ball tour. The young Dutchman had beaten some great players to get into the final, notably Germany’s Ralf Souquet, the Spaniard David Alcaide and Russia’s Ruslan Chinakhov who have all tasted victory on the tour but Knorad Juszczyszyn had other ideas.
 
Konrad, making only his second appearance in the finals had played fearlessly throughout the tournament but saved his best to last. He produced some amazing shots which wowed the crowd here in Treviso and with the legendary Mike Massey in the audience, we were all in awe. Massey who is famed for his trick-shots was smiling as jump after jump went in with some precise accuracy to go with it. This proved to be a step to far for Ivar who played his part in a great final but eventually lost the match 6-9 and saw a new champion crowned in Konrad Juszczyszyn.
 
Afterwards, Konrad explained, I have watched several of my team mates collect golds from the tour in the past and I am delighted to join this exclusive club, it’s now on to the next tour stop in Austria next month and I feel very good with my game, I’m going for it again” he continued.
 
Results and rankings can be found at www.epbf.com The event is hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website or visit us on Facebook for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.

Mike Massey’s Euro-Tour Premiere

Mike Massey and Oliver Ortmann

US trick shot legend Mike Massey (USA) had his premiere appearance in the Euro-Tour in Italy when he played today in the Dynamic Billard Treviso Open.
 
There are only a few names in the World of pool billiards that almost everybody knows and appreciates. Mike Massey in definitely one of them. Known as the „Tennessee Tarzan“, Massey is famous for his trick shots and entertainment shows on the Pool table. Known not only as a World-Trickshot Champion but also as a great player, Massey made his way to Europe and entertained the spectators in between the semi-finals and the finals of the recently held Dynamic Billard European Championships. Today, he competed in the Euro-Tour for the first time. The 72-year old was not afraid to go into competition against Europe’s best. However today, he could not claim a victory, losing 7:9 to Bruno Ernst (GER) and 4:9 to Juan Antonio Pina-Hidalgo (ESP). Though he could not win a match today, all opponents as well as spectators showed him the utmost respect. Massey will continue his trip through Europe with some appointments in Slovenia.
 
Another great name from past days is former World 9-ball Champion and BCA Hall of Famer Oliver Ortmann (GER). He easily won his first match today over Mariusz Skoneczny (POL) with 9:5. Then, in his second match he fell to the sharp blade of Ivo Aarts (NED) with 7:9. Late in the evening, Ortmann needed to play his third match of the say against Andrea Milioli (ITA). The Italian was no obstacle for Ortmann who eliminated Milioli with 9:3
 
Also on the loser’s side already is Albin Ouschan (AUT). The Austrian lost his first match to young star Casper Matikainen (FIN) with 4:9. He then engaged Christian Brehme (GER) and won that match with 9:3
 
The Dynamic Billard Treviso Open will commence tomorrow morning at 09:00 CET with matches from loser’s round 2.
 
The Dynamic Billard Treviso Open are played in the Best Western BHR Hotel in Treviso, Italy, on up to 24 tables which are all streamed LIVE throughout the whole event. In order to be able to follow all the action LIVE, premium membership can be obtained at www.kozoom.com. Once a premium membership is held, all events for the respective period of time can be viewed LIVE. Additionally, a huge video gallery is contained in the website.
 
The event is hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.eurotouronline.com or visit us on Facebook for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.

APA World Championships Enjoy Record Participation

The Anigons of Osaka, Japan

Attendance at World’s Largest Pool Tournament Continues to Soar

Back in August 2010, the APA National Team Championships set a Guinness World Record for the “World’s Largest Pool Tournament.”  It might be time to get the folks from Guinness on the phone again.

 
This year’s event, rebranded two years ago as the APA World Pool Championships to better reflect the global field, set a new record for participation with a whopping 2,361 teams, nearly 400 more than last year.  The championships were APA’s second major Vegas event following the Poolplayer Championships in April.
 
The more than 15,000 folks in attendance were treated to far more than they anticipated when they won their free trip to the championships during the World Qualifiers.
 
In addition to nearly round-the-clock tournament action for 10 straight days, APA members had the chance to rub elbows with the likes of “The Black Widow” Jeanette Lee, Internet Trick Shot Sensation Florian “Venom” Kohler and billiard Hall of Famer “Dr. Cue” Tom Rossman.  Other pro players spotted at the APA World Championships included Francisco Bustamante, Ewa Laurance, Corey Deuel, Vivian Villarreal and Mike Massey, just to name a few.
 
Competitors capped off the experience of a lifetime with APA’s always epic poolside bash at the Westgate pool overlooking the Vegas strip.
 
Throw in more than $1.2 Million in cash and it all added up to a party unlike any other.
 
In the 713-team 8-Ball World Championship, Sharktank of Owen Sound, Ont., defeated Biggelbach’s of Portland, Ore., in a nail-biter to take home $25,000 in cash and the championship title.  As Runners-Up, Biggelbach’s received $15,000 in prize money.  The 8-Ball World Championship can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzCkInvuiaY.
 
Teams in the 8-Ball Championship squared-off in a modified single-elimination format that ensured each team played at least twice before elimination. All 8-Ball Division teams automatically received $350 in national qualifier money, and the top 8 teams won at least $5,000. The 8-Ball Division began play on Aug. 13 and concluded on Aug. 18.
 
In the 500-team 9-Ball World Championship, it was Anigons of Osaka, Japan, defeating Racks on the Rocks of Peoria, Ill., in the finals.  Anigons became the first team from Japan to secure a title at the APA World Championships since they began sending representatives in 2007. Anigons took home $15,000 in 1st Place prize money. As Runners-Up, Racks on the Rocks received $7,000 in cash.  The 9-Ball World Championship can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIt5tuf6y6U.
 
The 9-Ball Championship was held Aug. 9-13, with each team competing in a modified single-elimination format that ensured each team played at least twice before elimination. All national qualifiers received a minimum of $350, with the top 8 teams winning at least $2,000.
 
After winning their divisions in weekly APA 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play and then placing in World Qualifiers throughout the United States, Canada and Japan, teams consisting of five to eight players, qualified to compete in the 2018 APA World Championships.
 
In the inaugural Team Captains Championship that included 380 teams, Q-Bert 222 of San Diego, Calif., defeated the Mizfits of Snohomish, Wash., to take home $10,000 in prize money.  As Runners-up, the Mizfits took home $5,000.  The Team Captains Championship can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTZwejy6XZI.
 
The finals of the Masters Championship featurEd Hugh & the Hustlers of Wallingford, Conn., defeating Not MMMMMMKay of Houston, Texas.  Hugh & the Hustlers took home $10,000 in 1st Place prize money, while Not MMMMMMKay received $5,000 as Runner-Up in the 256-team event.  The Masters Championship can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbgmw8yh-fg.
 
In the finals of the 256-team Ladies 8-Ball Championship, it was Chicks Ahoy of Newport News, Va., defeating Manny’s Angels of Edison, N.J., to win $10,000 in 1st Place prize money.  As Runners-Up, Manny’s Angels received $5,000 in cash.  The Ladies 8-Ball Championship can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=ofVcSFe6RTI.
 
In the Jack & Jill Doubles Championship, which also included 256 teams, it was Stumble Inn J&J of Godly, Ill., winning $3,500 in the finals with a victory over Last Minute of Fall River, Mass. Last Minute received $2,300 as Runner-Up.  The finals of the Jack & Jill Doubles Championship can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOdowbsJ9tk.
 
Championship match coverage was provided free online courtesy of www.PoolDawg.com.
 
In addition, the APA conducted nearly round-the-clock MiniMania tournaments, which took place daily and were open to all APA members. The MiniMania tournaments offered multiple formats with 100% prize money payback that awarded nearly $260,000.
 
The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world’s largest amateur pool league, with leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Japan.  Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9‑Ball League play.  The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.
 
The APA produces four major tournaments each year—the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the APA Junior Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship—that, together, pay out nearly $2 Million in cash and prizes annually!
 
The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues and PoolDawg.
 
For more information on the APA World Pool Championships, visit the official APA website at www.poolplayers.com.

Congratulations To Gerda Hofstatter Gregerson 2018 WPBA Hall Of Fame Inductee

Gerda Hofstatter (File photo courtesy of Lori Jones)

The Women's Professional Billiards Association is proud to announce that Gerda Hofstatter Gregerson, affectionately known as the “G-Force”, was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame on January 5, 2018 at the 2018 WPBA Grand Slam, held at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

 

Gerda has demonstrated throughout her career, her athleticism, dedication, and passion for billiards.

 

Gerda Hofstatter, known as the “G-Force” to her colleagues and fans, was one of the perennial stars of the WPBA, the globally recognized association of the world’s best female professional pool players.

 
In her youth, Gerda was a competitive tennis player, skier, and fencer, and won the Austrian and International Junior Fencing Championships before deciding to focus exclusively on pool.
 
Born in 1971 to a family of four sisters and merchant parents, Gerda’s love for pocket billiards took hold at age 15 when she joined a hometown team in Althofen, Austria. Inspired by the beauty of the sport, Gerda made the leap to individual tournaments a year later, then quickly became the Austrian National Champion. At age 18, she brought home Austria’s first European Championships Gold Medal.
 
Those early accomplishments were recognized when her hometown awarded her an Honorary Gold Medal and “Key to the City.” One of Gerda’s fondest memories is of the time-off children were granted from school so they could participate in the mayoral-sponsored festivities.
 
In 1990, after finishing her secondary education, Gerda moved to Sweden to study and compete. After garnering Europe’s top player ranking for two consecutive years,
 
Gerda moved to the United States in 1993 to compete in the newly formed WPBA Classic Tour. To the surprise of many, including herself, Gerda won her first event and remains the only person to have done so in WPBA history. That year, Gerda was voted Austria’s Athlete of the Year for her state of Carinthia—besting both male and female athletes, including Olympic alpine skiers. Gerda’s WPBA tour wins span nearly two decades:
 
• 1993 Creative Inventions San Francisco Classic Championship
• 1993 Brunswick Billiards Atlantic Classic
• 1994 Leisure Bay Billiards Orlando Classic
• 1995 Huebler Cues Seattle Classic
• 1995 WPA World 9-Ball Championship
• 1996 McDermott Cues Austin Classic
• 1997 Brunswick Billiards WPBA National
• 1999 Discovery Huther-Doyle Rochester Classic
• 1999 Brunswick Billiards New York Classic
• 2000 BCA Open 9-Ball Championship
• 2010 San Diego Classic
 
In addition to her titles, Gerda has over 20 second-place finishes at WPBA sponsored events. In Europe, she took home 11 European Championships and 17 Austrian National Championships before retiring from the sport.
 
 
Gerda will always feel grateful to Predator Cues, Cal Spas, and CueTrackTM who sponsored her over the years. Beyond all else, she’s most appreciative to the thousands of fans and pool lovers around the world that came to see her play and who kept in touch through thick and thin. They will never be forgotten.
 
A love for teaching led Gerda to join Allison Fisher, Mike Massey, and Paul Potier as co- owners of Pool School in Paradise, a vacation and training venue attracting international clients. Gerda was also a co-instructor with Allison Fisher at Allison Fisher World Champion Academy, a weekend intensive for pool enthusiasts.
 
Gerda was ranked in the World Top 10 for 16 consecutive years from 1994 to 2010, and has been featured in dozens of ESPN televised matches. Most recently, she appeared in the 2010 WPBA San Diego Classic, where she triumphed over Asia’s #1 player to win the tournament. Her last televised match was a loss in the finals of the 2012 U.S. Open while she was six-months pregnant.
 
At the height of her career, Gerda took time to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from New York University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She has been a perennial supporter of charitable causes, particularly Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, a leader in funding breast cancer research, and Make-A-Wish Foundation®, grantors of wishes for children diagnosed with life- threatening medical conditions.
 
Gerda resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and two daughters—all avid pool lovers!

Davis wins third straight NC State 8-Ball Championship

Mike Davis, Jr.

If state pool championships are the measurement device, then Mike Davis is the best pool player in North Carolina. He owns back-to-back titles in the state’s 9-Ball Championships and on the weekend of November 4-5, he chalked up his third straight NC State 8-Ball title.
 
Say what you will about competing in a small field, Davis locked up his third 8-Ball title by defeating one of the game’s better known veterans, Mark Tademy, cited by The Hyper Texts (http://www.thehypertexts.com) as one of a list of “unknown monster players who could play with anyone on a given day.” A little over 10 years ago (2006), Davis and Tademy were among a  world-wide cast of the best in the International Pool Tour’s (IPT) North American Open Championship in Las Vegas. Finishing in the tie for 61st, and pocketing $5K, Tademy was in tied company with (among others) Keith McCready, Mike Sigel, George “Ginky” Sansouci, Shannon Daulton, Allison Fisher, Loree Jon Hasson, Jeremy Jones, Allen Hopkins and Gerda Hofstatter. Davis, who finished 121st, and pocketed $2K, was in tied company with (among others) Grady Mathews, Jose Parica, Mike Massey, Tommy Kennedy, Warren Kiamco, Ewa Mataya Laurance, Tony Robles, Shane Van Boening, Karen Corr, and Billy Incardona.
 
And so, the hot seat and finals of the 2017 NC State 8-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, featured two of the sport’s more prominent competitors; one (Tademy), a little more old-school than the other (Davis). The $300-added event drew 23 entrants to Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC. It should be noted that the weekend of November 4-5 played host to at least two other major 8-Ball Tournaments, which are about as rare as teenagers who don’t play video games – NYC’s BCA-sanctioned 8-Ball Championships, which drew 241 entrants (with some duplication over six separate events) and Maryland State’s 8-Ball Championships, which drew a full field of 128 entrants. North Carolina appeared to have drawn the ‘short straw’ on available 8-ball competitors.
 
The tournament did, however, draw two marquee players into its final two matches. Davis and Tademy met first in the hot seat match, once Davis had sent Jim Lewis to the loss side 7-3 in one winners’ side semifinal and Tademy had dispatched former NC State 9-Ball Champion Jeff Abernathy 7-4 in the other one. Davis claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Tademy and waited for round two.
 
On the loss side, Abernathy picked up Eddie Little, who’d gotten by Kenny Daughtrey 7-3 and Steve Page 7-4. Lewis drew Joshua Padron (winner of the 2016 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships this past January), who’d defeated Brown’s Billiards’ owner Dave Huffman 7-2 and Tyler Chappell 7-5.
 
Little and Padron eliminated winners’ side semifinalists Abernathy and Lewis, respectively; Little, 7-4 over Abernathy and Padron, 7-3 over Lewis. Little dropped Padron 7-5 in the quarterfinals that followed, before having his two-match, loss-side run ended by Tademy 7-3 in the semifinals.
The two veterans, Davis and Tademy, fought back and forth in the early going of the finals to a 5-5 tie. Davis, though, took command at that point and chalked up the next four in a row to win it and claim his third straight NC State 8-Ball title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Brown’s Billiards’ owner Dave Huffman and his staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for November 11-12, will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by Mr. Cues II in Atlanta, GA.

Young Guns Dominate Winner’s Bracket in Opening Day of US Bar Table Championships

Billy Thorpe

The opening day of the 23rd Annual US Bar Table Championships began with a field of 74 players at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. And by the time the first day’s matches concluded, just three remained on the winner’s side of the bracket: Sky Woodward, Justin Bergman and Billy Thorpe — all among a growing group of strong, young players.  
 
Woodward and Bergman will face off at Noon Tuesday and the winner of the match will play Thorpe for the hot seat.
Thorpe posted wins Monday over Can Salim, 7-4; Mike Massey, 7-1; Randy Hatten, 7-2; Larry Nevel Jr., 7-5; and Shane Van Boening, 7-4.
Bergman also play strong all day, with sound wins over Miguel Batista, 7-6; Jason Klatt, 7-1; Jesse Piercey, 7-4; Dale Stanley, 7-2; and Vilmos Foldes.
Woodward’s path had victories over Manny Perez, 7-5; Mo Salamah, 7-4; Bret Huth, 7-0; and Chris McDaniel, 7-2.
 
But there are plenty of solid players on the B-side of the bracket hoping to take home the $3,800 first prize, including Manny Perez, who plays Rodrigo Geronimo at 9 a.m. and Mike Massey, who plays Dale Stanley. Others still on the one-loss side include Van Boening, Sal Butera, Bret Huth, James Adams, Jamie Bruce, Salim, Shane McMinn, Foldes, Piercey, Hattan, McDaniel, Belobradie, Nevel and Josh Roberts.
 
In the Women’s Division, Rebecca Wagner will play Jessica Frideres in the hot seat match at Noon Tuesday. Wagner posted wins against Trihn Lu , 5-3; Kimberly Whitman, 5-4 and Mary Coffman, 5-0. Frideres’ path included victories over Grace Nakamura, 5-1; Heather Cortez, 5-3; and Adina Pelletier, 5-0.
 
On the one-loss side, Nakamura takes on Whitney at 9 a.m. and Kimberly Kirk plays Deb Aarens, also at 9 a.m. The winners of those matches play Pelletier and Coffman.
 
The US Bar Table Championships take play through Aug. 28 and offer 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball divisions, as well as a Master of the Table bonus for both the open and women’s divisions.
In addition, players who place in the top 32 of each open division receive Mosconi Cup USA Team points on a sliding scale. The top three American players with the most points at the end of the year will be selected for the USA Mosconi Cup Team.
 
Sponsors include: OB Cues, the Official Cue; Kamui, the Official Tip; Diamond Billiard Products, Cyclop Balls, Simonis Cloth, BadBoys Billiard Productions, FargoRate, Magic Ball Rack and Matchroom Sport.
 
 
 
10-Ball Divisions Aug. 22-24
Open 10-Ball: Race to 7/$5,000 added
Women’s 10-Ball; Race to 5/ $1,000 added
 
9-Ball Divisions: Aug. 24-26
Open 9-Ball: Race to 9/$5,000 added
Women’s 9-Ball; Race to 7/ $1,000 added
 
8-ball Divisions: Aug. 26-28
Open 10-Ball: Race to 5/$5,000 added
Women’s 10-Ball; Race to 4/ $1,000 added
 
Master of the Table Bonuses*
Open Divisions: $1,500/Women’s Divisions: $500  
*Players must compete in all three divisions to be eligible for the bonus.

Van Boening Wins 2 More Andy Cloth Wyoming Open Titles: Thompson & Pacheco Win First WY Titles

Miss Wyoming Autumn Olson awards the 2 champion’s trophies to Shane Van Boening

South Dakota's young gunslinger Shane Van Boening took the lion's share of the pro dough once more as he won back to back WY Open titles in Saratoga  and 8-Ball. He defeated Corey Deuel in the Saratoga finals, and Mike Massey in the 8-Ball finals. The full field of 32 pro class and semi-pro class players competed in a single elimination format which were to be the first of 3 pro open events. In it's 9th straight year, the 2016 www.AndyClothUSA.com Wyoming Open is a 3 day Rocky Mountain pool extravaganza taking place on April 1-3, 2016.  The event is sponsored by widely popular Andy Cloth with local partners include Duke's Bar & Grill, the Hotel Wolf & Restaurant, and the Riviera Lodge with all events coordinated by Shively Hardware. In addition, the livestream table will be Rasson Billiards premiere in the Rocky Mountains and streaming by www.OntheRailTV.com .
 
In the Saratoga Masters, a game that combines 8-Ball and 9-Ball together, it was Corey Deuel who once again whizzed through to the finals with big wins over Van Boening (SD), Marc Vidal (SPN), Hundal (IND) to stay ready in the finals. Not a huge surprise that he would re-match with Shane after SVB sliced through the 1 loss bracket over Rodney Morris, Chris McDaniel, Johnny Archer, Marc Vidal, Raj Hundal. SVB would not be denied as he regulated Deuel to his 4th second place finish in 2 years with a 7-3 finals score.
 
"I should be promoted as the last loser trophy", said Deuel good naturedly. Deuel has finished runner-up 4 times now at the Wyoming Open events.
 
In the Masters 8-Ball, Van Boening cruised to the finals with wins over  New Mexico's Tommy Najar, Wisconsin 14.1 ace Ron Dobosenski, and a thrilling semi-finals hill-hill 6-5 win over fellow multi-Wyoming Open winner Rodney Morris (CA) where many people said was the best match of the tournament. Morris actually led 5-4 on the hill first, before Van Boening made his move to win the next 2 games. On the other side of the bracket, 8x World Trickshot Champion Mike Massey the "Tennessee Tarzan" had a flashback with wins over Mike Curby (WY), Raj Hundal (IND), Adam King (CO), and then an exciting win over fellow Hall of Famer Johnny Archer (GA) in the semi-finals. In the finals, it was all Van Boening as he jumped to an early lead and never looked back in a 6-2 finale. Still a great performance from the 69 year old Massey, his first finals in an open pro field in a decade.
 
"Have to admit it felt really good to beat Raj and Johnny. 8-Ball on a barbox has always been one of my best games", said Massey.
 
The action stayed hot as well on the amateur side with Derrick Pacheco and Seth Krafczik playing a very high level break and run finals of the Expert Division. Seth was undefeated putting Derrick on the losers side, but a re-match in the finals told a different story with Pacheco winning both sets to claim the Wyoming Open title in that division. 
 
The first ever Wyoming Open Women's division took place and saw women from Colorado, Florida, Texas, South Dakota, and Wyoming come to take the title. Anita Smith took the hot seat with a win over local favorite Jana Thompson. Jana eliminated Lora Jimenez of Cheyenne who settled for 3rd, while Jana and Anita made for an all Wyoming finals. Thompson was on her game as she won the first set 3-0 in the 8-ball event, and forced a second set. Jana took the second set 3-1 to become the first woman to ever hold a Wyoming Open title and the coveted metal trophy.
 
The Wyoming Open State Junior Championships saw 32 juniors come from all over the region. The winners receive a spot into the USA nationals held by the Billiard Education Foundation. Results will be on their site soon. 
 
"It's great to see all the fields including the Master's divisions all filled. I'm most pleased with the Expert division that we started 2 years ago doubling in size now. That division didn't exist before, but now we created a successful model for the players that are very advanced and getting ready for the move to the Masters", said Mayor Ed Glode who has organized the event for 9 straight years. 
 
Results of all the divisions are below:
 
Saratoga Masters:
 
1st Shane Van Boening (SD) $1870
2nd Corey Deuel (CA) $1000
3rd  $750 Raj HUndal
4th $500 Marc Vidal 
 
8-Ball Masters:
 
1st Shane Van Boening (SD)  $1620
2nd Mike Massey (TN) $900
3rd-4th: Rodney Morris (CA) $400
Johnny Archer (GA) $400
 
10-Ball Masters:
 
1st  Rodney Morris (CA) $1300
2nd Corey Deuel (CA) $780
3rd-4th: Johnny Vasquez (CO) $300
Ron Dobosenski (WI)  $300
 
Women's Division:
 
1st Jana Thompson (WY) $420 
2nd Anita Smith (WY) $250
3rd Lora Jiminez (WY) $180
4th Phyllis Tysner (WY)  $110
 
Expert Division:
 
1st Derrick Pacheco $2200
2nd Seth Krafczik $1500
3rd Jason Secor $1000
4th Josh McCloskey  $800
 
Classic Division:
 
1st Keith Pulley $1205
2nd Leonard Martinez $850
3rd Mark Osborne $650
4th Chuck Wise $475
 
Sportsman Division:
 
1st Taylor Ruzicka $450
2nd Scott Lambert $250
3rd Pat Copp $150
4th Heather Cline $100
 
Hardluck Tourny:
 
1st Louis adams $500. 
2nd Jeff vanderSchaf $300. 
3rd Alan lemaster , 
4th Scott adams $150.
 
Past champions of the event include some stellar names. Visit wyomingopen.com to see the complete list.  
 
The event is majorly supported by the town's own businesses which include : Hotel Wolf, Duke's Bar & Grill, Riviera Lodge, Red Sage Spa, Pik Ranch, Carbon County, Bella's Bistro, Lollypops, and Shively Hardware

 

Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant Nominated For Billiard Congress Of America (BCA) Hall Of Fame

Okinawa Slim

Retired Marine, world famous trick shot artist, and past president of the World Pool Billiard Association – Artistic Pool Division Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant is pleased to announce that he has been nominated for the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Hall of Fame by one of his long time and loyal sponsors McDermott Cue Mfg. LLC. 
 
“McDermott Cue feels they have nominated and endorsed a highly suitable individual for the Hall of Fame," said Andy Werner Director of Sales and Marketing. "Nate ‘Okinawa Slim’ Bryant is McDermott Cue's longest serving ambassador, having joined us in June 1982. His service to our company, our customers, and the greater pool community is certainly remarkable and deserves recognition."
 
A full listing of Nate's accomplishments can be found on McDermott's website: http://www.mcdermottcue.com/okinawa
 
"From the time I first grabbed a cue at my father's billiard parlor in Sanford Florida, I have loved this game," said Okinawa Slim. "To think that I'm being considered for inclusion in this list along with legends—including James “Cisero” Murphy, the first African American to be inducted; Jeanette ‘The Black Widow’ Lee; Allen Hopkins; and Mike Massey—is an incredible honor."
 
Each year, the Billiard Congress of America inducts members from one of two categories: Greatest Player and Meritorious Service. Slim is nominated in the Meritorious Service category for his work within the billiard industry as well as efforts with other organizations to bring the joy and excitement of this sport to others around the world.
 
Okinawa Slim's honors include being the top African American trick shot artist in the world for three years, past President of the World Pool and Billiards Association’s Artistic Pool Division and many notable instances of engagement with the broader community. His charitable works include supporting the Boys and Girls Club, Senior Citizens and those who are less fortunate.  He was also honored with the 1998 and 1999 Outstanding Georgia Citizen awards from the State of Georgia as a Goodwill Ambassador.
 
Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant is available immediately for interviews. Print Quality images are also available upon request. For more information, please contact Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant at 770-310-7546 or okinawaslim32@gmail.com 
 
 
About Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant:
 
 
Okinawa Slim’s love of pool began at the age of 7 when he stacked two soda crates on top of each other so he could reach the table and play his first game in his father’s billiard parlor. Later after joining the United States Marine Corps he earned his name “Okinawa Slim” while stationed in Okinawa, Japan. 
By his 20’s Slim was competing against players in Japan, Australia, Guam, Korea, and the United States, including billiard legends Allen Hopkins, Lou Butera, Mike Massey, Little Al Romero, Jimmy Caras, Minnesota Fats, and Johnny Archer
 
Since that time he has won numerous titles and won more than 100 tournaments worldwide! Including more than 100 professional trick shot exhibitions. Slim is currently working on a book.