Team Europe Downs Team U.S.A. in The World Cup of Trick Shots

Team Europe being presented Gold Medals by Stephen Cholewa of Mohegan Sun

The WORLD CUP OF TRICK SHOTS was held October 27 at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Team Europe claimed the title over Team U.S.A. in the only international team competition in the sport of Trick Shots. The prize purse was $30,000 for the event, with $20,000 and Gold Medals to the winning team. The two semifinals and the Championship match will be broadcast by ESPN on December 18.

Captain Stefano Pelinga led Team Europe to victory and the Gold Medal. Other Team Europe members who were awarded the Gold Medal were Nick Nikolaidis, Luke Szywala and Gabriel Visoiu. Silver Medalists from Team U.S.A. included Captain Andy Segal, Jamey Gray, Bruce Barthelette, and Tim Chin. Their team also won $10,000.

The format for World Cup consisted of two skill shots and eight artistic show shots by both teams in a match. Team members executed a challenge shot of their choice, and their opponents were required to duplicate the shot or lose a point. In the semifinals, with two members from each team, the players alternated shots in four player head-to-head matches, performing intricate trick shots meant to stymie their opponents. A sudden death tiebreaker to decide a match required an eight rail bank shot onto the face of a $100 bill. The Championship Finals match pitted all eight members of Team U.S.A. and Team Europe in the wildest shootout of the year.

The players on Team Europe displayed their brilliance to emerge as the top trick shot artists in the world. The Championship match was poetry on green felt, with Team Europe defeating Team U.S.A. by a score of 17 - 15 to take the Gold Medals and $20,000. Team U.S.A., whose members were otherwise on their game, claimed Silver Medals and $10,000 second prize. In the first semifinal, Team U.S.A. players Barthelette and Chin prevailed over Team Europe members Pelinga and Visoiu. The other semifinal saw Team Europe artists Nikolaidis and Szywala barely slip past Team U.S.A. players Segal and Gray in a tight match. With the score tied at 5-5, the teams selected one member each to play in the sudden death shootout. Segal, representing Team U.S.A., fired the eight rail bank shot and placed the cue ball scarcely an inch off the $100 bill. Nikolaidis, shooting for Team Europe, masterfully banked eight rails and centered the cue ball on Ben Franklin's face for the semifinal victory. The winning team in each semifinal carried a 1 point bonus forward into the final match.

The standing-room-only crowd gave Team Europe a rousing ovation at the conclusion of the Championship match. The Gold Medals and the team check were presented by Mohegan Sun and Diamond Billiard Tables. The presentations brought another round of cheers from the audience.

In addition to the fine tournament site at Mohegan Sun, the event was sponsored by Diamond Billiard Tables, Aramith Tournament Billiard Balls, Simonis Cloth, Mueller Recreational Products, Executive Billiards Delta-13 Rack, and Silver Cup Chalk. The event was produced by Billiards International, Ltd.