The Seminole Tribe of Florida Knows How To Do It Right

With $25,000 in Guaranteed Money, the players flocked to tribal owned and operated Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa Florida this past week April 13-16, 2006. This VNEA friendly event was open to all VNEA players in the Florida region.

$3,500.00 Guaranteed Added money was in the Pro/Master round robin tournament, which included such notables as Troy Frank, Glen Olson and Steve Frost.

Troy Frank went undefeated throughout the event only missing 9 games out of 40 and bringing home the Grand Prize of $1,800.00 First Place. Second Place scored $1,000.00 going to Glen Olson and Third Place of $600.00 to Dan Briggs.

There were 22 in the women's division with $3,000.00 Guaranteed Added money. 1st Place went to Theresa Nunez, a Seminole Tribe member; won the title money of $1,300.00 Elshia Huson scored $900.00, and 3rd place went to Amy Poulter at $600.00. The women went head to head all weekend long. Theresa Nunez went head to head throughout the tournament until being knocked into the losers bracket by Elishia Huson, and coming back after giving Amy Poulter 3rd Place and then defeating Elishia twice for the grand prize finish of $1,300.00.

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Theresa Nunez during this event. She is a Florida native and member of the Seminole Tribe. This stunning 35 years old lives on The Brighton Indian Reservation with her 4 children ages 5-12. She has been playing pool for the past 10 yrs since she was 25. She operates a floral business, "Best Buds" which serves The Seminole Tribe Reservation exclusively.

Last year, she took 2nd in Seminole Sunshine Tournament, within the past several years, she took 1st at The Valley State Tournament, she is in the TOP 20 in VNEA and prides herself in coming in 4-5 in all tournaments she enters. Theresa's love for the game and dedication to the tribe inspired her to put together a "Elders" team for this tournament. The team, " Natives" which consists of 5 team players over 60 years of age, and had never competed before in tournament play. She led them through the ins and outs of team play competition, with the highs of victory and the agony of defeat..

139 Open single players went head to head in this $3000.00 Guaranteed added jackpot of $10,225.00 in total payouts.

1st Place Nathan Rose $1,700.00, 2nd place Bob Stonewater 3rd Place Howie Van Pelt $800.00 4th Place Randy Settle $500.00 paying down to 32 spots and totaling a whopping $10,225.00 in payouts in this one event alone!

Nathan Rose 21 years old, who reminds me of bar box champion Jessie Bowman, he is unstoppable with his cue. He plays fearlessly against any predator. I would be willing to stake a hefty bet that these two players would match up pretty even.

Nathan resides in Stewart, Florida. He has been playing pool since the age of 10. He has played in such prestigious events as the 1998 BCA JR Nationals, 14 and under division placing 3rd as a teen. Recently, he has finished in top positions in several upstanding tournaments such as O B Osceola and John Ditoro's Florida Pro Tour, Sponsored By The Seminole Tribe Of Florida, 2nd at Tommy Kennedy's Pro Tour event. Nathan lives at home with his family and plays out of Riverside Billiards that is owned and operated by his parents Jim Rose and partner Jay Huffman. He hopes to achieve standings in the IPT and plans to play in the upcoming Vegas VNEA Tournament.

Hefty $1,000 Added Mini Scotch Doubles Tournaments played out Thursday, and Saturday while Friday night hosted a sold out 64 player $1,000 added 9 Ball Tournament.

Team play began on Saturday morning with 56 Sportsman, Expert and Master players in attendance. An unheard of $3,000.00 was added to each tier making the payouts as follows: Sportsman 1st Place $2,000.00, 2nd Place $1,500.00 3rd Place $1,100.00 and 5/6th Place $750.00 each. The Master Division paid out $2,000.00 1st Place, 2nd Place $1,500.00, 3rd $1,100.00, 4th $900.00 5/6th $750.00 each. Finally the Expert Division tallied $2,000.00 1st Place, 2nd Place $1,500.00, 3rd $1,100.00, 4th $900.00 5/6th $750.00 each.

In The Masters Division, The Team Hustlin from Naples, Florida came back from the left, with nail biting action. They needed to beat team 'Wrecking Q" to take the championship. They won the first match forcing to a decisive second match, but Bradenton, Florida's team "Wrecking Q" prevailed. Taking the championship.

In The Expert Division, The Team "Over The Top" From Stewart, Fla went undefeated to take the championship from team "Jagged Edge".

In The Sportsman Division, "Dolly's Big Dogs" from Deland, Florida defeated "Motown Boy's" from Immokalee, Florida. The closest match of the championship rounds. This was certainly the place to be in Tampa Florida this past weekend for Action, Action, and Action!

What a class act this event was! OB Osceola, liaison of Naples Community Seminole Tribe of Florida, went all out to make this one of the best events I have ever seen for a billiard tournament. Everything from the smallest attention to detail was paid to this event. It was a non-stop class act with top shelf clothing for the staff, laminated postcard stock score sheets and 4 feet high trophies for all the winners. They didn't miss a beat!

The $300.00+ a night Hard Rock Hotel boasts everything the Ritz Carlton has and more in rock star fashion. From the 400-thread count down filled linens to the signature chocolate guitars left on your pillows at night, this is the place to be when visiting Tampa. The staff treats you like family, tending to your every need. The behind scenes of this Hard Rock Empire, provides their employees with hot meals and extremely comfortable environment to work in. It is no wonder that all of the guests leave happy!

A note to other league Systems to stop and take a look at these payouts and what The Seminole Tribe of Florida is doing for this sport. This event was truly player orientated, and a "For The Player Event"! This is the beginning of one of the best things to happen to Florida VNEA players. If you live in Florida and are not playing on a Valley team, this is the time to start playing.

Congratulations Seminole Tribe, and OB Osceola for a job well done!