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Team Wyatt goes undefeated to win 2nd Annual Ron Park Memorial Tournament

Ron Park

The annual Ron Park Memorial, originated and held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, is shaping up to be something of a ‘moveable feast,’ in that each year could (although this is somewhat unofficial) see a new format.

“Who knows?” said Tour Director Herman Parker. “We’ll see.”

Last year, it was a straightforward 9-Ball event, while this year’s version of the memorial was a Scotch Doubles Tournament. The father/son Team Wyatt (Evan/Nate) went undefeated to claim the title, downing the team of Jason Blackwell and Mallory Walters twice, in one of the winners’ side semifinal and finals. The $250-added event drew 36 teams of two to the site of the first Ron Park Memorial – West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC.

Team Wyatt and Blackwell/Mallory met up in that winners’ side semifinal as Team Seeley (father David and son Sean) squared off against Kris Brower and Joey Fox. Team Wyatt prevailed 5-2 over Blackwell/Mallory and in the hot seat, met Team Seeley, who’d sent Brower and Fox to the loss side 5-4 (Brower/Fox racing to 7).

On the loss side, Blackwell/Walters picked up the team of Lisa Cossette and Chris Wrigley, who’d defeated Jimmy Tanner and Brian Goodson 5-3 and Ricardo Carcamo and (room owner) Josh Newman 5-4 to reach them (Carcamo/Newman racing to 8). Brower/Fox drew Lance Davis and Thomas Sansone, who’d recently eliminated the husband/wife team of Sidney and Gene Foard 7-3 and Mackie Lowery and Chad Vinesett 5-3.

Blackwell/Walters and Brower/Fox got right back to their winning ways, both teams advancing to the quarterfinals; Blackwell/Walters downing Cossette/Wrigley 5-3 and Brower/Fox defeating Davis/Sansone, double hill (5-4). With Brower/Fox racing to 7, Blackwell/Walters eliminated them 5-5.

Blackwell/Walters got their second shot at Team Wyatt with a 5-1 victory over Team Seeley in the semifinals. As the sun began its work of lightening the sky on Mother’s Day, at around 5 a.m. on Sunday, Team Wyatt finished a second win over Blackwell/Walters, this time 5-3, to claim the 2nd Annual Ron Park Memorial Tournament title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked Josh Newman and his staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division.

The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend, May 14-15, will be a $500-added, 9-Ball event, hosted by the Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.

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Coe double dips Helton to claim Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball title

Dustin Coe

Dustin Coe missed being the 2020 Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour champion last year, by two games. At the Jan. 12, 2021 event in Chesnee, SC, Coe advanced to the hot seat match, and lost, double hill, to Benny Walters. In the semifinal that followed, against the eventual tour champion, Derek Formby, Coe was eliminated in what was a second straight double hill match for both of them. In his first recorded cash-payout finish since that event, this past weekend (April 30-May 1), Coe repeated half of the pattern; advancing to the hot seat and being sent to the semifinals, by Brandon Helton. Coe came back from this one, though, winning three straight double hill matches, double-dipping Helton in the two-set double elimination final to claim the title. The $250-added event drew a short field of 21 entrants to Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

It was an event replete with double hill battles. Just under half (7) of the event’s final 15 matches went that route, including five straight from the 5th/6th matches to the two-set final. The first of the seven was fought between Helton and Robert Hamilton in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Helton sent Hamilton to the loss side with that double hill win and in the hot seat match, faced Coe, who’d defeated Joe Swim 7-3 in the other winners’ side semifinal. In a straight-up race to 6, Helton downed Coe 6-4 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, two competitors – Derek Bonds and Chris Woodrum – were in the midst of six-match, loss-side winning streaks that would take them as far as the quarterfinals (Bonds) and semifinals (Woodrum). Coming over from the winners’ side semifinal, Hamilton drew Bonds, who’d chalked up loss-side wins #4 and #5 against Mike Robertson 5-3 and Ron Frank 5-5 (Frank racing to 8). Swim picked up Woodrum, who’d chalked up his loss-side wins #3 and #4 versus Thomas Sansone and Dwain Barberie, both 6-2. For those keeping track, Barberie came into the 7/8 match, having chalked up one of the seven, final-15 double hill matches, downing Andrew Farley.

Bonds defeated Hamilton 5-4 (Hamilton racing to 7), as Woodrum eliminated Swim, double hill. Woodrum then stopped Bonds’ loss-side winning streak, double hill, in the quarterfinals.

The final three matches yielded the same double hill scores. Coe eliminated Woodrum in the semifinals (7-5; Woodrum racing to 6) and then double-dipped Helton in the finals (same score; Helton racing to 6).

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Sonny’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division.

The Ron Park Memorial will return for its second year to West End Billiards in Gastonia, NC this coming weekend (May 7-8). The 2nd Annual Ron Park Memorial will be a $250-added, Scotch Doubles tournament. 

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Messer and Piercy split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

The two competitors who squared off in the finals of the Saturday, April 23 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour – Dalton Messer and Kelly Piercy – have never (to our knowledge) cashed on any other tour. Messer chalked up his first and until this weekend, only win on the tour in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, 2018. Piercy’s tour efforts came close to a victory in 2020, when he won nine on the loss side and in the finals, challenged junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth, who completed an undefeated run to claim that title. Though Messer downed Piercy in the hot seat on Saturday, the two of them opted out of a final match and split the top two prizes, leaving Messer, in the hot seat, as the official winner. The $500-added event drew 26 entrants to Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

Their first and only meetup followed Messer and Piercy’s advance through the field, arriving at winner’s side semifinal matches versus Thomas Sansone (for Messer) and Reid Vance (for Piercy). Messer downed Sanson 6-3, as Piercy sent Vance to the loss side 6-5 (Vance racing to 8). Messer claimed the hot seat 6-4 in what proved to be the title-claiming match.

Vance and Sansone arrived on the loss side of the double-elimination bracket, looking to advance just one match to compete in the event’s first money round. They didn’t make it. Stevie McClinton, who’d recently eliminated Kirk Hixon 7-5 and Billy Fowler 7-6 (Fowler racing to 10), added Sansone to that list, downing him 7-4 to advance to the quarterfinals. Vance drew Runal Bhat, who’d just defeated Jose Irizarry 7-3 and Casey Looper, double hill, and then defeated Vance 7-4 to join McClinton in the quarterfinals.

McClinton and Bhat almost made it to double hill in those quarterfinals, but McClinton edged out in front at the end, winning 7-5 for a shot at Piercy in the semifinals. Piercy put a stop to McClinton 6-2 in those semifinals, before negotiating the financial split with Messer and calling it a night. 

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break & Run Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (April 30-May 1), will be a $500-added event, hosted by Sonny’s Billiards in Princeton, WV.

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Heeter downs Fowler, double hill, in finals of Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop

Josh Heeter

Just over two weeks ago (March 19-20), Billy Fowler and Josh Heeter faced off in the finals of the first-ever West Virginia State 9-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. Fowler won it 9-5 to chalk up his 8th recorded win on the tour, dating back to 2016. They’d met twice in the event; once in a winners’ side semifinal, won by Heeter and again, in the final, won by Fowler.

This past weekend (April 9-10), they met in an event final on the tour again. They met only once this time, though Fowler returned from the same relative position on the loss side as he had in West Virginia to challenge him. They reversed finish positions, with Heeter going undefeated this time to claim the title. The $500-added event drew 63 entrants to The Rock House in Gastonia, NC.

As had happened in West Virginia, they both emerged victorious from their respective winners’ side quarterfinal matches, but not to face each other in the winners’ side semifinals. Heeter squared off against Barry Mashburn, while Fowler faced Kelly Piercy. 

Piercy sent Fowler to the loss side 6-5 (Fowler racing to 10) and in the hot seat match, faced Heeter, who’d defeated Mashburn 9-3. Once again, Heeter claimed the hot seat, this time sending Piercy to the loss side 9-4.

On the loss side, Fowler picked up junior competitor Cole Lewis, who’d recently eliminated Michael Carter and Dayne Miller, both 8-3. Mashburn drew Zach Martin, who’d defeated Jesse Draper, double hill, and Thomas Sansone 5-3 to reach him. 

Martin downed Mashburn 5-4 (Mashburn racing to 9) and in the quarterfinals, was to face Fowler, who’d fought a double hill battle against Lewis, before prevailing 10-7. Fowler jumped over the quarterfinals when Martin couldn’t return on Sunday and forfeited the match.

Fowler took care of the last obstacle in his path to a second straight final against Heeter, Kelly Piercy 10-4 in the semifinals. Unlike the open (no handicap) event in West Virginia, in which Fowler, coming from the loss side, won just a single, extended, race-to-9 final match, he’d have to win twice to claim the handicapped event title in North Carolina. Heeter began with a single ‘bead on the wire’ in a race to 10. They battled to double hill, before Heeter prevailed 9-9 to claim the title.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at The Rock House, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Break Time Billiards of Winston-Salem, NC, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, Ridge Back Rails, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (April 16-17), will be hosted by Breaktime Billiards in Winston-Salem, NC. 

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Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour launches series of seasonal Open events

Lisa Cossette

Martin and Cossette take Open and Ladies events at inaugural Winter Classic

In the future, there’ll be a Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall Classic on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour. They are a component of a larger plan that tour director Herman Parker is initiating to feature more Open (non-handicapped) events on the tour schedule. In the inaugural Winter Classic, held this past weekend (Feb. 5-6), Justin Martin and Lisa Cossette went undefeated through the Open and Ladies fields to claim the two titles. 

“I want to attract the culture of people who want to play in Open events, rather than handicapped events,” he said, following the completion of the Winter Classic. “I’m planning on 10-12 this year and my goal, down the road is to have it be 50-50; that’d be ideal.”

“I don’t know if it’ll get there,” he added, “but this year, I want to do, on average, about one (Open event) a month.”

The inaugural Winter Classic, featuring its Open tournament and a Ladies event, which, according to Parker, is a side of the tour that he is trying to grow. Three women who competed in the Ladies tournament, also competed in the Open event. The $1,500-added events ($1,000 in the Open and $500 in the Ladies) drew 52 and 18 entrants, respectively, to Break Time Billiards and Sports Bar in Winston-Salem, NC. The 18 women were the largest number of female entrants to ever compete in an Open event on the tour. One of them, 11-year-old Noelle Tate, who finished 4th, became the youngest competitor of either gender to cash in a Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball event in the nine years of its existence.

So, we’ll start there and focus on the 11-year-old for a moment. Noelle Tate is just one member of a family of competitors who are making a name for themselves at the pool tables. Noelle is a younger sister to Bethany and Joey Tate. They were all competitors during last year’s nation-wide series of events, known as the Junior International Championships (JIC), which began its second season just last month. JIC founder, tour director and something of a ‘parental unit’ at JIC events, Ra Hanna, had announced, prior to the start of the JIC’s second season, that part of the second-year plan was to move the junior competitors into the arena of regional tours and Open events. Noelle Tate and (in the Open event) Landon Hollingsworth are manifestations of that plan. Tate came into the event and lost her second-round match to Marianne Merrill. She went on to win four on the loss side, including a 5-2 win over the woman who was favored to win the tournament, Christy Norris. She was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Katie Bischoff 5-3.

The eventual winner, Lisa Cossette, advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal against Norris, as Shannon Johnson and Amanda Mann squared off in the other one. Cossette and Johnson, following victories over Norris (double hill) and Mann (7-4), advanced to the hot seat match, at which Cossette prevailed 7-3.

Norris moved to the loss side and ran into Tate, who’d recently eliminated Casey Cork, double hill and Beth Allen 5-2. Mann picked up Katie Bischoff, who’d downed Marianne Merrill and Allie Tilley, both 5-2, to reach her. Tate defeated Norris 5-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Bischoff, who’d shut Mann out.

Bischoff eliminated Tate in that quarterfinal (5-3), but not soon enough to keep the 11-year-old out of the money in what was the first money round. Bischoff moved on to defeat Johnson in the semifinals 5-3. An appropriate double hill fight ensued in the single-match finals with Cossette claiming the title over Bischoff 7-6.

Justin Martin

Martin and Ussery battle twice to claim first Winter Classic title

Nine times out of 10, the winner and runner-up of an event, if they’ve competed against each other twice, have done so in the hot seat match and finals. Not so, this time around. Justin Martin and BJ Ussery, both heavily favored as potential winners of the event, met first in the third round. Martin sent Ussery to the loss side 7-1, where he began a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would offer him a second shot against Martin in the finals.

Martin advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Graham Swinson, as Corey Sykes and Jeff Abernathy squared off in the other one. Martin shut out Swinson and was joined in the hot seat match by Sykes, who’d sent Abernathy west 7-1. Martin claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight over Sykes.

On the loss side, Swinson drew Ussery, three matches into his loss-side streak, which had recently eliminated Thomas Sansone 7-5 and Josh Padron 7-1. Abernathy picked up junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth, who’d defeated Niko Konkel and Barry Mashburn, both 7-1. Mashburn had been afforded the opportunity to face Hollingsworth when, in the previous round, Christy Norris, one of the three women who competed in the Open event, along with Allie Tilley and Beth Allen, forfeited her match to Mashburn.

Ussery downed Swinson 7-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Abernathy, who’d defeated Hollingsworth 7-3. Ussery then eliminated Abernathy 7-2 and in the semifinals, Sykes in a double hill match. Martin defeated Ussery a second time in the finals, this time 7-2 to claim the inaugural Winter Classic.

Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Break Time Billiards, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, BarPoolTables.net, Dirty South Grind Apparel Co., Realty One Group Results, Diamond Brat, AZBilliards.com, and Federal Savings Bank Mortgage Division. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Feb. 12-13) will be hosted by Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

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