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Gabriel goes undefeated, chalks up first major tour win on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Junior Gabriel

Junior Gabriel has cashed on five occasions on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour over the past five years. He’s been runner-up twice – to Hunter White (2019) and Gary South (2020) – and this past weekend (Oct. 30-31), he broke through to win his first tour event. He went undefeated through a not-insubstantial field of 52 entrants at the $500-added event, hosted by West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

Gabriel battled Steve Ellis twice in the event. He and Ellis advanced to face each other in one of the winners’ side semifinal matches, while Graham Swinson and Jonjon Newman (brother to room owner Josh Newman) squared off in the other one. Gabriel moved on to his first (recorded) hot seat match with a 6-4 win over Ellis, as Swinson was sending Newman to the loss side 8-2. Gabriel’s trip to the winner’s circle was almost sidetracked when Swinson battled him to double hill, but Gabriel prevailed to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Ellis picked up Josh Heeter, who’d defeated Beth Allen 9-3 and, in the first money round, Clay Davis 9-2. Newman drew Billy Fowler, who also assured himself of a cash finish by eliminating Matt Lucas 10-4 and then, double hill, Dalton Messer 10-5.

Newman and Ellis got back on track with respective victories over Fowler (6-3) and Heeter (6-4). Ellis then defeated Newman in the quarterfinals 6-3. Ellis defeated Swinson by the same 6-3 score in the semifinals.

Swinson had almost sidetracked Gabriel’s first major win in the hot seat match. Ellis almost derailed it in the finals, putting up a double hill fight in the straight-up race to 6. But Gabriel hung on to win it and claim his first (recorded) title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Josh Newman and his West End Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Diamond Brat, Federal Savings Bank’s Mortgage Division and AZBilliards. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 5-7), will be a double event. The 9th Annual NC State 9-Ball Championships, which will be hosted by Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC, will feature a $1,500-added Open and a $500-added Ladies tournament. 

Heeter gets back into the swing of things with a win on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Josh Heeter

Between the two of them, they hadn’t cashed in more than five events in just over a year, all in competition on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. Kirk Hixon finished third on a tour stop last October, while Josh Heeter finished in the tie for 5th at the NC 9-Ball Open and 9th at another stop, both in February, 2020. They had each also competed in a single 2021 stop; Heeter finishing in another tie for 5th last month (Feb.) and Hixon finishing in the tie for 9th at the Tour Championships in January.

They met in the finals of this past weekend’s stop in Chesnee, SC (Saturday, March 27). Heeter went undefeated to claim the title, but not before facing Hixon, who’d been defeated in the third round and won seven on the loss side to meet him in the finals. The $500-added event drew 46 entrants to Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC. 

Heeter had worked his way through the field to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Terry Cannon. Steven Ellis, who’d sent Hixon to the loss side in the third round, advanced to meet Kelly Piercy in the other one. 

Ellis downed Piercy 6-4 and moved into the hot seat match against Heeter, who’d sent Cannon to the loss side 9-2. It became the first (recorded) time that Heeter had ever battled for the hot seat. In all of his ‘cashed’ appearances, in which he had finished either 2nd, 3rd, or won an event, dating back to 2012, he’d come from the loss side. In the win, his first major tournament win, in January 2019, he lost his opening match and won 11 on the loss side to meet and defeat Brian White in the finals. He won a little less than half that number of matches to reach and win the hot seat match this time out, downing Ellis 9-4.

On the loss side, Cannon ran into Dustin Lackey, who’d defeated Kevin Price 7-2 and survived a double hill match against Gary South. Piercy picked up Hixon, who’d picked up loss-side wins #3 and #4 against Matt Gibson 6-2 and Marty Opyd 6-3. With Lackey racing to 7, Cannon dropped him 5-5. Hixon eliminated Piercy 6-3.

Picking up a bit of speed, Hixon eliminated Cannon in the quarterfinals by shutting him out, and turning for a re-match against Ellis in the semifinals. Hixon defeated Ellis 6-3 for shot at Heeter in the hot seat.

Looking for only his second victory on the tour, though, Heeter was not to be denied. He defeated Hixon 9-3 to claim the event title. 

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break & Run Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, AZBilliards, Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division and Dirty South Grind Apparel Co.  The Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour will be off this coming Easter weekend. A location for an event on the following weekend (April 10-11) has yet to be determined; check in with the tour’s FB page for up-to-date information on the next stop.

White chalks up his fourth 2019 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour win*

(l to r): Michael Dill & Hunter White

NC State One Pocket and 10-Ball Open tournaments on event horizon 
 
On Saturday, November 9, Hunter White recorded his 4th 2019 victory* on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, besting his 2016 best-number-of-wins total by one in what is already his best earnings year to date. White went undefeated, though he and Michael Dill opted out of a final match, allowing their hot seat match to stand and agreeing to a split in the top two prizes. The $500-added event drew 28 entrants to Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.
 
Their hot seat match followed a 6-4 victory by Dill over Mike Bumgarner and a 9-5 win by White over Justin Duncan in the two winners’ side semifinals. White then downed Dill 9-2 and in effect, claimed the hot seat and official event victory.
 
Duncan and Bumgarner moved to the loss side and into the first money round. Duncan picked up Hank Powell, who’d defeated Justin Clark and Steven Ellis, both 7-4, to reach him. Bumgarner drew Blade Best, who’d recently eliminated Matt Lucas 6-4 and Corey Edwards 6-3.
 
Duncan defeated Powell 6-5 (Powell racing to 7) and in the quarterfinals, faced Bumgarner, who survived a double hill battle versus Best (7-5; Best racing to 6). Bumgarner then defeated Duncan 7-5 in those quarterfinals.
 
In what proved to be the final match of the night, Dill defeated Bumgarner 6-1 in the semifinals. He and White opted out of the final, split the top two cash prizes and called it a night, leaving the undefeated White as the event’s official winner.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break & Run for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball.
 
For the next two weeks, action on the tour will shift to Sandford, NC, where Speak Eazy Billiards will host two back-to-back, $2,000-added events – The North Carolina State One Pocket Open, set for the long weekend of November 15-17 and on the weekend of November 23-24, the NC State 10-Ball Open. The One Pocket event will play host to a maximum of 32 players. Both events are being sponsored by Beasley Custom Cues.

Lowery comes back to double dip San Fillipo and win Viking Cues Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Mackie Lowery

Mackie Lowery’s come-from-the-loss-side win on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour on the weekend of July 6-7 turned 2019 into his best earnings year, to date. He surpassed his previous best earnings year (2018) just a little over halfway through 2019, by chalking up his first win of the year. Lowery had to come back from a loss in the hot seat match and contend with a competitor, Barry Mashburn, who’d lost his opening match and proceeded to win 11 on the loss side to face Lowery in the semifinals. The $1,000-added event drew 66 entrants to Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards in Spartanburg, SC.
 
Lowery advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Justin Martin, while Tavis San Filippo squared off against Alex Escamilla in the other one. Lowery sent Martin to the loss side 7-6 (Martin racing to 10), as San Filippo downed Escamilla 5-1 to join him in the hot seat match. Lowery and San Filippo battled to double hill before San Filippo prevailed 5-6 (Lowery to 7).
 
On the loss side, as Escamilla and Martin arrived, Mashburn was nine matches into his loss-side winning streak, that had most recently included back-to-back, double hill wins over Scott Green 9-4 and Ricky Bingham 9-6. Mashburn drew Martin. Escamilla picked up Dalton Messer, who’d defeated Landon Hollingsworth and Steven Ellis, both 6-4, to reach him.
 
Mashburn recorded his third straight double hill win, sending Martin to the figurative ‘showers’ 9-9. Messer recorded his third straight 6-4 victory, sending Escamilla home and then, opted out of a quarterfinal match, which leapfrogged Mashburn into the semifinals against Lowery.
 
Lowery stopped Mashburn’s 11-match loss-side run with a 7-6 win in those semifinals (Mashburn racing to 9) and turned his attention to his re-match against San Filippo, waiting for him in the hot seat. With San Filippo racing to 5 and already ‘in the money’ for the first time on the tour, he and Lowery played two sets and a total of 17 games. Lowery won all but three of those games, giving up three in the opening set and none at all in the second set to claim the event title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the Dayne Miller and his staff at Steakhorse Restaurant & Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (July 13-14), will be hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

Brock goes undefeated with a brand-new cue to win Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball stop

(l to r): Marcio Smith & Brandon Brock

When Brandon Brock showed up at the Steakhorse Restaurant and Billiards in Spartanburg, SC last weekend (April 13-14) to compete in a stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, he arrived without a cue stick. Not exactly a way to enter a tournament looking for your first major win. He bought one, though (a stick, not the win); a Viking cue as it turned out and used it to go undefeated through a field of 59 entrants at the $1,000-added event and claim his first event title.
 
Brock faced Marcio Smith twice in this event. Both, according to our records, were looking to chalk up their first major win. Brock defeated Jeff Abernathy 6-4 in one of the winners’ side semifinals, as Smith was busy sending Rob Hart to the loss side 7-5. They met first in the battle for the hot seat, won by Brock 6-6 (Smith racing to 7).
 
On the loss side, Abernathy and Hart ran right into their second straight loss. Abernathy picked up Chris Gentile, who’d defeated Jason Blackwell 8-4 and survived a double hill (8-10) battle versus BJ Ussery. Hart drew Dakota Harris, who’d eliminated Steven Ellis 6-4 and Hunter White, double hill (6-8).
 
Gentile downed Abernathy 8-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Harris, who’d ended Hart’s weekend 6-4. Gentile then downed Harris 8-3 to meet Smith in the semifinals.
 
A double hill fight ensued, eventually won by Smith (7-7). With Smith racing to 7 in the finals, Brock completed his undefeated run with a 6-5 win over Smith. 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Dayne Miller and his Steakhorse staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (April 20-21) will be hosted by Randolph  Billiards in Hickory, NC.

Bulfin and Pierce split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Matt Bulfin

Were it not for the fact that the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour moves around a bit in its distinctly Southern geographic area, and derives at least a part of its ongoing success to that very mobility, tour directors Herman and Angela Parker might opt to hold all of their tour stops at the Steakhorse Restaurant and Billiards facility in Spartanburg, SC. Almost exactly a month ago (June 2-3), the room opened its doors for the first time, playing host to a stop on the tour. The venue, owned by a player with a tour stop victory on his resume (Dayne Miller), added $1,500 to that opening event, and drew 84 entrants. On the weekend of July 28-29, the tour re-visited the venue, which in the interim had opened walls to expand in size and brought in more tables. Once again, $1,500 was added to the event, which, this time, drew 90 entrants. In the end, Matt Bulfin and Derek Pierce opted out of a final match, and split the top two prizes. Bulfin, as the hot seat occupant at the time, was the event’s official winner.
 
Though he finished as runner-up to Chase Smith last September on the tour, Bulfin, until this weekend, had yet to chalk up a win on the tour, and, in fact, hadn’t won a stop anywhere (that was recorded) since he took home a title on Tommy Kennedy’s Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, six years ago. His path to the winners’ circle at this most recent stop led him to a winners’ side semifinal match against Steven Ellis, while his eventual hot seat and finals opponent, Derek Pierce squared off against Dalton Messer.
 
Pierce and Messer battle to double hill before Pierce advanced to the hot seat 5-5 (Messer racing to 6). Bulfin joined him following a 9-4 victory over Ellis. Bulfin then played what proved to be his last match and claimed the hot seat 9-3.
 
Messer moved to the loss side and picked up the tour’s most successful competitor, JT Ringgold, who’d eliminated Marty Opyd, double hill, and Rob Hart 10-4. Ellis drew Dustin Coe, who’d defeated Donnie Stewart 6-1 and Brian White 6-8 (White racing to 10).
 
By identical 6-3 scores, Coe and Messer moved to quarterfinals over Ellis and Ringgold. Messer then gave up only a single rack to Coe (6-1) and advanced to the semifinals against Pierce. With Messer racing to 6, Pierce got his second shot against Bulfin by downing Messer 5-4.
 
Bulfin and Pierce, as noted at the outset, opted out of a final match. Bulfin, in the hot seat, officially recorded his first tour victory.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Steakhorse Restaurant and Billiards’ owner Dayne Miller and his staff (profusely), in addition to title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. In addition to the regular payouts for the event’s top 16 competitors, the tour awarded $50 to the event’s top junior Hunter White. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend – August 4-5 – will be hosted by Buck’s Billiards in Raleigh, NC.

 

Brady goes undefeated to capture Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title in Piedmont, SC

Norris Brady

What the Saturday, June 30 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour lacked in attendance, it more than made up for with a set of tight, double-hill competitive matches in the event’s final 14. Six of those final 14 matches went double hill, including the last two won by Norris Brady, who completed an undefeated run by winning the hot seat and finals that way. The $200-added event drew 21 entrants to Pal’s Billiards in Piedmont, SC.
 
 Brady faced different opponents in the hot seat and finals of this one. He advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Colby King, as his eventual opponent in the finals, Steven Ellis, squared off against Dalton Messer. Brady sent King to the loss side 9-3, as Messer sent Ellis over in one of the six double hill matches. Brady and Messer fought another one, battling for the hot seat. Brady won it and waited on the return of Ellis.
 
On the loss side, Ellis picked up Brian Bagwell, who’d gotten by Kirk Hixon, double hill, and Shane Copeland 7-3. King drew Tom Manley, who’d eliminated James Hall 5-2 and then, his own cousin, Sammy Manley 5-3. Ellis downed Bagwell 6-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Manley, who’d defeated King 5-1.
 
It was all double hill fights from here to the finals. Ellis downed Manley, double hill, in the quarterfinals, and then, eliminated Messer that way in the semifinals. With Ellis racing to 6, Brady completed his undefeated run through the field with a first-set, double hill win over Ellis.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Pal’s 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 this weekend (July 7-8) will be hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.
 

Burke and Duncan split top prizes on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

As Billy Carroll and David Williams had done the week before (April 1-2) and J.T. Ringgold and Scott Roberts had done the week before that (March 25), Justin Duncan and Greg Burke (who'd driven to the event together) opted out of a final match during the April 8-9 stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour. They'd met in the hot seat match, won by Duncan, and allowed that to stand as the winner-defining match. The $500-added event drew 48 entrants to Legends Billiards in Inman, SC.
 
Their first match followed a 7-2 victory by Burke, over Roger Jeffcoat, and a 5-3 win by Duncan, over Ronnie Anderson, in the winners' side semifinals. Duncan claimed the hot seat 5-4 over Burke (Burke racing to 7).
 
On the loss side, Jeffcoat picked up Steven Ellis, who'd survived two straight double hill matches, against Taz Holliday and Stevie McClinton, to reach him. Anderson drew Corey Morphew, the highest-ranked player left in the field, who'd eliminated Jason Blackwell 9-3 and Dalton Messer 9-4 (double hill). 
 
Jeffcoat and Anderson's loss-side trip lasted only one match. Ellis defeated Jeffcoat 5-2, while Morphew downed Anderson 9-2. Morphew, racing to 9, picked up seven of the racks he needed in the quarterfinals that followed, but Ellis reached five racks first for a 5-7 win that sent him to the semifinals.
 
In what proved to be the final match of the event, Burke downed Ellis 7-3 in those semifinals. Burke and Duncan came to the no-last-match agreement and split the top two prizes.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff of Legends 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 this weekend (April 15-16), will be a 'bar box' event, hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.