U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship Marks 40 Years for Barry Behrman

My 40th Anniversary

    I want to begin by saying, “Thank you all very much” to those of you who have stood by my side or not these past four decades. Never in my life did I expect to be writing 40 years later about the U.S. Open. With about 80 days to go now and much to do, I also want everyone to know just how special this year’s milestone year is to me.

    For many months now I’ve had some health issues, heavy breathing with little exertion, so I went through many series of exams. Chest x-ray turned out to be spotless, pulmonary test on a 1-10 scale (1 means I’m great and 10 mean OH NO), well I’m fortunate to have between a 1.0-1.5 which are very good results, and lastly a stress test on the treadmill, 20 minutes then right away the 2 nurses about threw me on my back into a table to perform an ultrasound. They said, Barry you have a 20 year old heart and knowing me my remark was, “Is there anything else only 20 years of age?”, they said, sorry, no and we all had a nice laugh. All of this while knowing, in the back of my mind, the facts of the matter cannot be untrue as on my next birthday I’ll be 70. I’m already in a state of shock which will only get worse by April 1, 2016. I don’t know at this time what the future has in store for me but I know one thing for sure, I’m going to work harder than ever to have, hopefully, the best U.S. Open in history. This is my “Mission from God” as Jake and Elwood once said in the “Blues Brothers”.

    The past several years, 2012-2014, have been the most difficult for me personally which I said goodbye to the Chesapeake Conference Center after 2011. For the record, since most of you do not know, the reason I stopped conducting the Open there is as follows. There are 9-10 hotels which surround the Chesapeake Conference Center but only 4-5 who are involved with the City’s Economic and Tourism that were counted for number of room nights and not all, so unfair what the City did. The 2010-11 U.S. Opens were fantastic years having 256 and 251 players, respectively, and the gentleman in charge of reporting the number or room nights, Mr. Ben White, turned in about 900 total room nights only which is 2 ½ times too low as the City, we proved to them by showing each hotel’s pick-ups did between 2,200-2,400 total room nights, can you believe that? It is only true. Here was the final straw and I have to let everyone know what else they did. In 2011 between the two great U.S. Open years, I wanted to have another professional men’s event, “The 10-Ball Masters” in March of 2011 and the city insisted I sign a contract to guarantee a certain number of room nights in order to thwart my paying for the space at the Conference Center. So, knowing what the 2010 U.S. Open room nights were, again, over 2200 and not having to have ever sign any contracts for the U.S. Open I knew in my mind even knowing “The Masters” would be much lower, I agreed to their terms and felt very safe. Well, what a mistake that was as it turned out.  We only had 50 players for 5 days and ample guests from out of town, VIPs, general admissions, vendors, sponsors, and the media. With this and again, thinking my room night pick-ups for the Masters was not going to be a problem achieving the number turned out to be not the case at all for me. Mr. White had the nerve to report to the City leaders that the Masters for the entire time did only 96 total room nights, that’s right 96 only they said. My daughter and I were livid, going before the City Council and showing all the letters from all the surrounding hotels to prove just how much they were off, 6-7-8 times as much off but they didn’t care and made me pay a $26,000.00 bill when it should not have been. This is a gospel true unhappy story. Can you imagine what they had me pay and as much as we fought it, was too bad. Then it was maddening in 2012 at the Holiday Inn in 3 ½ ballrooms and not so good the past 2 years at the smaller Marriott, 7000 square feet.

    Now, what a relief to be so fortunate to be back in the same city in which the Open began and at the beautiful Sheraton Hotel in its 14,000 square foot ballroom with everything I’ve asked for, low room rates for my guests, low food and beverages for my guests, and much more you will see.

 As even Pat Fleming said when Julian and he came 2 months ago for a site inspection, “Barry finally got lucky being here”. There are not enough words nor time for me to thank the many outstanding men and especially for this special year. Thank you Mr. Pat Fleming my friend for 34 years with having only one argument and, of course it was my fault, who came to my rescue as well as everyone’s when, instead of pondering to take a year off, is my hero and we all need to say thank you Pat for helping Barry by saving the year’s U.S. Open as Jay Helfert said.

     Also Mr. Skip Nemecek, President of the W.P.A. American Federation, and I’m very appreciative to Mr. Ian Anderson, President of the World Pool Association, W.P.A., who allowed, along with Skip, for Pat to handle the prize fund. I thank you gentlemen so much.

    So, what’s in store for me and my health issues while getting hopefully better, I hope for and ask everyone for your support this year especially.

    3-4 hurricanes, 9/11/01 attack on America, losing a few hundred thousand along the way and I’m still here or at least am for this milestone 40th Anniversary of the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships.
So let’s have a great 40th and fill the field at 128 players. That adds up to $188,000.00 with our champion receiving $40,000.00, 40th annual, and paying deep like no other, 33-48 receives $2,000.00 each. The biggest question is not about the money, it’s now can Shane Van Boening win 4 in a row and tie Earl Strickland’s 5 U.S. Open titles?