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Howard goes undefeated* to claim first major title on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Scott Howard

Scott Howard has pocketed more cash and climbed higher on the AZBilliards Money Leaderboard this year than at any other time since we first began recording his payouts back in 2011. He held spot #2,627 on our leaderboard that year and five years later, had managed to get as high as #952. This year, going into last weekend’s (Dec. 5) stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, Howard had already jumped to #329 on the leaderboard with only two cash finishes, both on the Q City 9-Ball Tour; 5th at a stop on the last weekend in October, spilling over into November, at Borderline Billiards, and runner-up to Hunter Apple at a Gate City Billiards Club stop in September.

Howard added cash, climbed a few steps on the Money Leaderboard and added his first recorded victory to that just-about-decade-long resume by going undefeated this past weekend. It was, however, a victory with an asterisk (*). The one-day event drew 24 entrants to Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Howard faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this one; Clint Clark in the former and Hank Powell in the latter. He and Powell opted out of a final match, which gave Howard, occupying the hot seat at the time, the official event title.

Howard advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Gary South, while Clark squared off against Powell in the other one. Howard bested South 7-4 and in the hot seat match, drew Clark, who’d sent Powell to the left bracket 8-4. According to our records, Howard was playing in his first hot seat match. He’d been sent to the loss side and won three matches to be in the finals back in September, and in October, 2016, he’d been sent to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal, winning five loss-side matches to make it to the finals. This time, after downing Clark 7-4, Howard would come into the finals in possession of the hot seat.

On the loss side, Gary South picked up Andrew Haas, who’d recently chalked up two straight double hill wins to reach him; against Casey Looper (6-4) and Randolph Billiards owner, Randy Canipe (6-7).  Powell drew Stevie McClinton, who’d eliminated Lauren Kauffman, double hill (7-3) and Jonathan Ailstock 7-2.

Powell and South advanced to the quarterfinals after eliminating McClinton (7-2) and Haas (7-3), respectively. Powell then sent South home 7-4 in those quarterfinals.

Powell then spoiled Clint Clark’s bid for a second shot against Howard with a 7-2 victory in the semifinals. At that point, Howard and Powell decided against playing a final match and agreed to a split of the top two prizes.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Randy Canipe and his Randolph Billiards staff as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, JB Magic Templates, AZBilliards, Tickler Pool Ball Washing Machine, Skyline Construction, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co. 

There are only two stops left in the 2020 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour season. The first is scheduled for this weekend, Dec. 12-13, when a new venue for the tour – Overtime Bar & Grill in Columbia, SC – will host a $500-added event. The following weekend, Dec. 19-20, Break and Run Billiards will host the tour’s 2020 Bar Table 9-Ball Championships. 

Hunter Apple wins first major event, goes undefeated on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Six of the last 14 matches played on the September 12-13 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour went double hill, attesting to a high level of competition among the 51 entrants who signed on to play at the Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC. The field featured a mixture of tour veterans and relative newcomers and one of the newcomers, Hunter Apple, went undefeated to chalk up his first tour victory. 

Apple faced two tour veterans in the hot seat and finals. One of them, Scott Howard, was Apple’s opponent in a winners’ side semifinal. The other, Daniel Adams, squared off against another tour veteran, Landon Hollingsworth, in the other winners’ side semifinal. Hollingsworth won two of the tour’s events last month.

Apple got into the hot seat match with a 5-1 victory over Howard. Adams joined him after surviving a double hill fight against Hollingsworth. With Adams racing to 6, Apple claimed his first hot seat 5-4 and waited on what turned out to be the return of Howard.

On the loss side, Howard opened his three-match, loss-side campaign that would put him into the finals, against Anthony Mabe, who’d recently chalked up two straight double hill wins, over Joe Woo (7-5) and Joey Tate (7-7). Hollingsworth drew Cameron Lawhorne, who’d survived a double hill match versus Jerry Wyatt and eliminated Don Lilly 6-2. 

The final six players renewed competition on Sunday with Lawhorne downing Hollingsworth 6-4 and Howard defeating Mabe 7-5. Howard won the quarterfinal match that followed, defeating Lawhorne 7-5.

Howard then defeated Adams 7-3 in the semifinals. It was fitting that the final match between the veteran and the newcomer went double hill. With Howard racing to 7, Apple won the five games he needed to chalk up his first major tour victory.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Gate City Billiards Club, 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 coming weekend, Sept. 19-20, will be a $250-added event, hosted by a new venue for the tour, West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

Frank and McGrady split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop in Tennessee

Trey Frank

Scheduling tournaments can be tricky at times, because while most tour directors (TDs) look into whether there are going to be conflicting tournaments near a potential venue at a given point in time and attempt to schedule accordingly, they can’t predict what they don’t see at the time they solidify their own schedule. What can and often does happen is that after a schedule has been set and confirmed, sometimes months later, someone organizes a nearby conflicting tournament, or the TD who made the initial schedule realizes that there’s a tournament nearby that he/she didn’t know about when preparing their own schedule.
 
So it was that tour directors Herman and Angela Parker reckoned without an American Poolplayers Association regional league tournament that did, on the weekend of May 18-19, conflict with their made-months-ago-plans for a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. The event drew a relatively small field of 25, who completed their competition at the conclusion of the first day when the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Trey Frank, and his potential opponent in the finals, Sean McGrady, agreed to a split of the top two prizes.
 
They met first in the hot seat match after Frank had shut out Robert Ingold in one of the winners’ side semifinals and McGrady had sent Brian James to the loss side 5-5 (James racing to 7) in the other one. In what proved to be the deciding match, Frank claimed the hot seat 6-2.
 
On the loss side, James and Ingold were able to get right back on track. James drew Jackson Hurst, a junior player, who’d defeated 15-year Pro competitor and room owner, Janet Atwell 4-1 and Scott Howard 4-4 (Howard racing to 7). Ingold picked up Brady Brazell, who’d eliminated Dalton Messer 7-3 and Brian Francis 7-4.
 
James and Ingold advanced to the quarterfinals; James, 7-3 over Hurst and Ingold 5-5 over Brazell, who was racing to 7. James then ended up handing Ingold his second defeat by shutout in those quarterfinals.
 
The last match of the day went double hill, as James and McGrady battled to see who’d be splitting the top two prizes with Frank in the hot seat. McGrady prevailed 5-6, he and Frank opted out of the final, and everybody went home.
 
Tour directors 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 Memorial Day weekend (May 25-26) will be the $1,000-added, 5th Annual North Carolina State 9-Ball Open at Brown’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC, where defending champion Reymart Lim is expected to compete.

Coe goes undefeated to win his second Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop in Bristol, TN

Dustin Coe

Eighteen months ago, Dustin Coe split a two-set final with Mike Hancock, winning the second set to capture his first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour title at Janet Atwell’s Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN. On the weekend of January 20-21, he was having none of that. At an event that drew 53 entrants to Borderline Billiards, he took the opening set of a true double elimination final against Dalton Messer to chalk up his second Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title.

Coe faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this one. He got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Mike Chapman, while Messer was being defeated by 15-year-old Cameron Lawhorne 5-3. Coe claimed the hot seat with a 6-1 victory over Lawhorne and waited on Messer’s return.

On the loss side, Messer picked up Scott Howard, who’d defeated Bear Mullins 7-4 and Brandon Kidwell 7-5 to reach him. Chapman drew Brandon Stiltner, who’d eliminated his older brother, Junior Stiltner, and Matt Shaw, both 6-2.

Messer advanced to the quarterfinals 5-4 over Howard (Howard racing to 7). Chapman did not. He was downed by Stiltner 6-3. Messer took completely different paths to win his next two matches and a shot at Coe in the hot seat. He shut out Stiltner 5-0 in the quarterfinals and then, survived a double hill match against Lawhorne in the semifinals.

Coe was taking no chances. He came out gunning in the opening set, allowing Messer only a single rack to claim his second Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title.

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her staff at Borderline Billiards, 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 the weekend of January 27-28, will be hosted by Corner Pockets in Fayetteville, NC.

Maynard stops loss-side ‘footsteps’ of Chumbley to win his first Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop

Ikey Maynard

The volume of loss-side footsteps heard from the hot seat in a pool tournament is in direct proportion to the length of time those footsteps have been on the move. Everybody in the hot seat of a double elimination tournament has to face someone who’s been on the loss side, and a sizeable percentage of the time it’s the player defeated in the hot seat match, who’s taken a single step. A second sizeable percentage of the time, it’s someone defeated in a winners’ side semifinal, who’s taken three steps. When the loss-side victories get up above five, the footsteps get louder and louder with every step taken.
 
On the weekend of December 9-10, Ikey Maynard, looking for his first-ever victory on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour made it to the hot seat, and waited for Eric Chumbley to complete a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would put him into the finals. Chumbley took the loudest footstep of them all, winning the opening set of a true double elimination final, before Maynard rallied to win the second set and event title. The event drew 44 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
With Chumbley already at work on the loss side, having won his first-round match, and lost his second (to Josh Williams), Maynard advanced to a winners’ side semifinal versus Scott Howard. Jason Potts, in the meantime, squared off against Dustin Coe in the other one. Maynard downed Howard, double hill, and, in the hot seat match, faced Potts who’d sent Coe to the loss side 7-2. Maynard claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Potts and sat listening for the footsteps.
 
On the loss side, Chumbley wasn’t the only one making noisy footsteps. As the event edged toward its first money round (determining the tie for 7th place), Chumbley and Bobby Jack Connor (who’d lost his opening match and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak) were competing against opponents, and each other, as they advanced to a meeting in the quarterfinals. Chumbley chalked up loss-side wins #5 & #6 against Jose Irizarry (5-2) and shut out Alex Boles to draw Howard. Connor won his 5th and 6th matches against Mike Kirby (9-1) and Sam Patel (9-4) to pick up Coe.
 
Chumbley downed Howard 8-5, and heard the loud thud of a single footstep by Connor, who shut Coe out to advance to the quarterfinals. Not surprisingly, Chumbley and Connor fought tooth and nail (aka double hill) for a slot in the semifinals, and it was Chumbley who advanced.
 
Chumbley spoiled Potts’ bid for a second shot at Maynard in the hot seat with an 8-3 semifinal win. He then fought Maynard to double hill in the first set of the true double elimination final, and sunk the final ball to square the losses at one apiece. With Chumbley racing to 8, Maynard took the second set 7-6 to secure the event title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards 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 will be the season finale Tour Championships, a $1,500-added event open to the top 100 ranked players who’ve played on the tour this year. Scheduled for this weekend (December 16-17), the event will be hosted by Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC.
 
As is always true with point-ranking systems, players are rewarded not only for their performance at individual tour stops, but for the number of stops in which they’ve competed. A player, for example, who’s competed in all of the tour’s events, but not won any, would, at the end of the year, be likely to rank higher than a player who’s won the only three events in which he/she participated. The top five players on this year’s tour were Travis Guerra, Angela Parker, Scott Roberts, Daniel Adams and Steve Ellis. 
 
 

Best and Holliday split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

(l to r): Taz Holliday & Blade Best

 

Blade Best and Taz Holliday split the top two prizes on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour stop on the weekend of July 29-30. As the undefeated player, Best chalked up the official title win of the event that drew 39 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
Best advanced through the 64-player bracket to face Scott Howard in one of the winners' side semifinals, as Bill Eisenhard faced Brandon Kidwell in the other one. Kidwell had just sent Holliday to the loss side. Best sent Howard over 6-6 (Howard racing to 8), as Eisenhard was at work defeating Kidwell 7-3. Best claimed the hot seat over Eisenhard 6-5 (Eisenhard racing to 7) in what proved to be his last match.
 
On the loss side, Holliday opened his trip to the finals with a double hill win over renowned trick shot artist Chris Woodrum, and followed it with a shutout over Terry Lawson. This set Holliday up against Howard, coming over from his defeat in the winners' side semifinal. Kidwell picked up Jerry Varnado, who'd defeated Jerry Hilton 8-6 and Matt Shaw, double hill, to reach him.
 
Holliday won a double hill battle against Howard to advance to the quarterfinals. Varnado spoiled a Holliday/Kidwell re-match with an 8-1 victory over Kidwell to join Holliday.
 
Holliday eliminated Varnado 6-3 and then fought his third loss-side double hill match against Eisenhard in the semifinals, winning it for a shot against Best in the hot seat. They opted out of that final match, granting Best the official title.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her staff at Borderline Billiards, 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 Aug. 5-6, will be hosted by Legends Billiards in Inman, SC.
 

Boles and Pinegar split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

There were a number of factors which contributed to Alex Boles and Jonathan (Hennessee from Tennessee) Pinegar's decision to split the top two prizes on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour stop on Memorial Day weekend (May 27-28). One of them was dawn on Sunday, May 28. Another was a striking difference in skill levels, related to their ages (Boles is 15, Pinegar is. . . much older). Among the most significant, however, was the fact that they'd driven to the event together and when it came down to the finals, with the youngster Boles in the hot seat, and the veteran Pinegar having just completed a seven-match, loss-side run, well. . .there was, so to speak, no contest. The undefeated Boles became the event winner and Pinegar gladly settled for runner-up. The event drew 28 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
With Pinegar already at work on the loss side, the teenager (Boles) advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Scott Howard. Randall Bowman, in the meantime, faced Josh Williams. Boles downed Howard 5-5 (Howard racing to 7), and in the hot seat match, faced Bowman, who'd sent Williams west 6-4. Boles claimed the hot seat 5-3 over Bowman.
 
Two matches in to his loss-side run, Pinegar defeated Brandon Kidwell 12-4 and Buffie Jolie 12-1, to pick up Williams. Howard drew Scott Roberts, who'd defeated Brandon Helton 7-2 (thus, denying Pinegar the pleasure of a re-match) and Jerry Ray 7-4 to reach him. Pinegar downed Williams 12-2, as one 'Scott' (Howard) downed the other 'Scott' (Roberts) 7-4.
 
Howard put up a bit of a fight against Pinegar in the quarterfinals, battling to double hill (11-6), before Pinegar finished it at 12-6. Pinegar then gave up only a single rack to Bowman in the semifinals, completing his loss-side run. The decision was made at dawn (more or less) to split the top two prizes, leaving the undefeated Boles in possession of the event title.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her staff at Borderline Billiards, 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 June 3-4, will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA.
 

Musselman goes undefeated to take Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop

Jody Musselman survived a double hill opening set of the finals versus Scott Howard, who'd won five on the loss side for the right to meet him, and chalked up an undefeated win on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour on the weekend of October 22-23. The event drew 39 entrants to Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 
 
With his eventual finals opponent already at work on the loss side, Musselman advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Blade Best (who'd just sent Howard to the loss side). In the other winners' side semifinal, 15-year-old Dakota Harris, one of a few junior players who competed in the event, squared off against Mike Gann. Musselman sent Best to the loss side 6-1, and in the hot seat match, faced the teenager, Harris, who'd defeated Gann 6-6 (Gann racing to 8). Musselman sent Harris to the semifinals 6-4 and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Howard.
 
 
On the loss side, Howard opened his five-match, loss-side run with wins against Matt Shaw 7-1, and Dustin Coe 7-3 to draw Gann. Best drew another of the junior competitors, Eric Roberts (13), who was in the midst of his own six-match, loss-side run that would take him as far as the first money round, battling for advancement to the quarterfinals. He won his fifth and sixth loss- side matches against Steve Dye, double hill, and Rick Roper 5-4 (Roper racing to 7).
 
 
Best ended Roberts' run 5-2 and advanced to the quarterfinals against Howard, who'd eliminated Gann 7-5. Howard then downed both Best in the quarterfinals and Harris in the semifinals by a 7-3 score.
 
 
Howard would need to defeat Musselman twice in the true double elimination finals, and, racing to 7, win an extra rack to claim each set. The two battled to double hill (6-6) in the opening set, before Musselman completed his undefeated run and claimed the event title.
 
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards' staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta-13 racks and Ruthless Billiards. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of October 29-30, will be hosted by Brass Tap in Raleigh, NC. An 8-ball event, the tournament will be a qualifier for the NC State 8-Ball Championships, scheduled for November 5-6 at Breaktime Billiards in Cary, NC.

White becomes first three-time winner in single season of Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Sixteen-year-old Hunter White went undefeated on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour stop on the weekend of October 1-2, to become the first player to win three stops in a single tour season. As a result, his handicap is likely to edge upward to '9' in the weeks ahead. The event drew 33 entrants to Randolph's Billiards in Hickory, NC.
 
White's victory was chalked up without benefit of a final match. Having defeated Brian Capps in the hot seat match, the two finalists opted out of the final, leaving the undefeated White as the official winner.
 
White and Capps got into what proved to be their last match, battling for the hot seat, on the heels of two double hill wins in the winners' side semifinals. White downed Steve Hughes 8-6 (Hughes racing to 7), as Capps sent Scott Howard to the loss side 10-6 (Howard, as well, racing to 7). With Capps racing to 10, White claimed the hot seat, and in effect, the event title, with an 8-7 win.
 
On the loss side, Hughes picked up Aaron McClure, who'd defeated Jeff Abernathy, double hill, and Robert Moreno 6-3. Howard drew Rick Roper, who'd shut out Robert Ash and eliminated Paul Canterbury 7-4. 
 
Roper squeaked by Howard, double hill, and in the quarterfinals, facEd Hughes, who'd downed McClure 7-4. Hughes won the 'first money round' quarterfinals 7-5, and then had his short, two-match, loss-side run ended by Capps in the semifinals 10-3.
 
White and Capps then opted out of a final match. White, as the undefeated hot seat occupant, claimed the official event title.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff of Randolph's Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta-13 racks and Ruthless Billiards. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of October 8-9, will be hosted by Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA. 
 

Scott Lewis Defeats Brian White to Take Top Honors in N.E. Tennessee

Pete's Corner Pocket of Bristol TN hosted a high quality one pocket event on November 8 – good tables,  good players, good purse, good fun. Spectators saw Brian White march to the hot seat in a most convincing fashion only to face an inspired performance by Scott Lewis who took first place with 3-2 and 3-1 wins. Favorites such as house cue repair technician Joe Blackburn and locals Mike Adams and Scott Howard fell by the wayside. Finishing third was Shane Hatley and fourth was Brandon Kidwell.
 
The next one pocket event will be January 10 on these same Gold Crowns, while on the alternating second Saturdays will be the nine ball event.