14th Annual Western BCA Regional 8-Ball Championships
Story by Bret Baker
Chinook Winds Casino Resort was the site for this year’s Western BCA Regional 8-Ball Championships. A grand total of 1,160 players made their way to Lincoln City, Oregon the week of March 9-15th to battle for their share of the $90,000 paid out over the week in 15 different events. Equipment this year was again brought in by Bad Boys Billiard Productions. Ric Jones and his staff set up 80 awesome Diamond 7 ft. tables with Simonis cloth, Aramith balls and red circle cue balls. Bad Boys provided the players with brackets posted online in advance for the first time this year. That same online bracketing program helped them run the event in a first class manner and allowed players who couldn’t make it follow the action online. The stage was set for a great championship competition.
Play got underway on Monday, March 9th, with the Mixed Scotch Doubles events. Teams consist of one male and one female player competing in either the Open or Master division. The Open division featured 100 teams playing a race to 5, double elimination format. Racing to the hot seat undefeated was the team of Larry Maes & Jessica Orth. Their opponents in the finals were a team they had defeated earlier in the event, Tony & Tricia Tipton. The finals of many of the events were filmed and posted on the internet by OTBnTV.com and this one turned out to be a thriller. The team of Tipton & Tipton, having to defeat the undefeated team of Maes & Orth twice, got the job done in the first set 5-4. The second set, however, was dominated by Maes & Orth, and they took the title and the $1,400 first place prize money with a 5-2 score. In the Masters division, 31 teams competed for the $1,600 first place prize and the coveted title of Masters Scotch Doubles Champions. Mike Stevens & Cindy Doty, no strangers to Scotch Doubles success in the past, went through the event undefeated and beat the team of Martin Thurber & Jackie Fitchner in the finals, with a 7-4 score.
Tuesday morning saw the Men’s Open B division get underway with 216 players competing in the race to 5, double elimination format. Reid Rasmussen stormed to the hot seat undefeated to see whom he would face in the finals. Unfortunately a family emergency arose and Reid was forced to forfeit the final match and fly home. This gave Josh Holder, his opponent for the hot seat, the title after he defeated Adam Stromberg 5-0 in the B side final. Tuesday evening the Men’s Open A division started play with 160 players competing for the $1,000 first place prize and the title to go with it. Russ Hodgin of Portland, OR, battled his way to the hot seat with seven straight victories to see whom he would face in the finals, also taped for viewing on the internet. His opponent would be Bobby Campbell, who lost a hill-hill match in the fourth round to Tommy Silva, then won seven straight matches to earn his place in the finals. Bobby continued his hot play with a 6-3 win in the first set of the finals, but Russ Hodgin came back and battled in the second and deciding set for a thrilling 6-5 win.
Tuesday night, Western BCA welcomed a special guest to the tournament, pro player Raphael Martinez. He played a special exhibition match against one of Western BCA’s Grand Master players, Dan Louie. The race to 9 only lasted 45 minutes. Raphael played nearly flawlessly, beating Dan 9-3. Raphael stayed for the week, watching the players and the finals; he sat in with the commentators calling the Men’s Master Finals for OTBnTV. He even played in a 10-Ball ring game, and won, of course.
Wednesday morning got the rest of the singles events underway. In the Women’s Open Singles, Natasha Hook stormed to the hot seat undefeated waiting to see who her opponent would be in the finals. That opponent was Selena Boise, who lost her third match 5-3 to Brenda Bartholomew. She then ripped off nine consecutive victories to face Hook in the finals. All that play on the left side of the bracket took its toll as a well-rested Natasha Hook took the first set and the title with a 5-3 score.
During the Women's Master Singles, late Wednesday night, one of the players, Denise Vaughn from Noti, OR (Near Eugene) had a severe heart attack while watching a match. One of the spectators and her close friend, Bob Robbins, jumped immediately into action, performing CPR on her. Security from Chinook Winds arrived within 2 minutes to assist Bob. The paramedics arrived just a few minutes later and within 15 minutes Denise was taken to the local hospital and then life-flighted to a Springfield Hospital where she is recovering and doing well. Bob Robbins and the fine security staff at Chinook Winds saved Denise's life, and for that, Western BCA will be eternally grateful.
Also getting underway on Wednesday was the Women’s Master Singles. Thirty-four women competed in the race to 7, double elimination format for the $900 first prize and the prestigious title of Women’s Master Champion. Jackie Fitchner marched to the hot seat in dominating fashion with wins over Kathy Giles 7-1, Cindy Doty 7-3, Susan Preston 7-0, Mary Hopkin 7-2, and Melanie Elder 7-1. Her opponent in the final match would be Liz Cole. Liz defeated Cathy Gamble 7-3 and Kim Hole 7-4 before being sent to the left side of the bracket with a 7-5 defeat at the hands of Mary Hopkin. Liz then defeated Barb Thompson 7-3, Kris Robbins 7-3, Carissa Biggs 7-3, Melissa Rushton 7-6 and Melanie Elder 7-4 to set up the finals showdown with Fitchner. Jackie only gave up a total of 9 racks in the 51 games she played! In the final match, taped by OTBnTV, Jackie controlled the match from the onset and went on for the 7-2 win over Liz Cole and the title of 2009 Women’s Master Champion.
Two Novice division titles were also decided as Noah Thornton lost his first match, then rattled off seven straight wins, including two matches against Kevin Holden, who had the point, to become the Men’s Novice Champion. Gracie Amos went undefeated in five matches to become the Women’s Novice Champion, beating Linda Droge in the finals with a score of 4-2.
The Men’s Seniors division crowned its champion as Vernon Joe went undefeated into the finals against Owen Miller. Vernon quickly dispatched Owen with a score of 5-2 to become the Men’s Senior Singles Champion. Judy McLeod also played through the field undefeated to take the Women’s Senior Singles title over Lezlee Nelson in a match that went hill-hill.
The feature division in singles is the Men’s Master Singles. Fifty-five players screwed their cues together to battle for the $1,250 first prize and the title that goes along with it. Glenn Atwell, coming off his very impressive showing as All-Around Champion at the recently completed U.S. Bar Table Championships in Reno, Nevada, marched to the hot seat undefeated, with dominating wins over Marvin Holmes 7-1, Ray Galli 7-3, Criegh Dumo 7-2, Damian Rebman 7-1, Don Wirtaman 7-2, and Mike Stevens 7-5. His opponent in the final would be Don Wirtaman after his 7-2 win over Stevens in the B side final. In a match taped for viewing on the internet by OTBnTV, Atwell overcame a faulty break and defeated Wirtaman in the first set 7-4 to win the Men’s Master Singles title for the 5th time this decade.
This 8-Ball Championship offered players in the Men’s Open A and B who didn’t make it into the money a 2nd Chance Tournament. The format was single elimination, race to 5 for the A players and race to 4 for the B players. Andy Eiden took 1st place in the Open B 2nd Chance Tournament and Daniel Sternberg won the Open A. Another avenue for players to compete is in the mini tournaments and ring games that were offered. Western BCA hosted 66 mini tournaments and several ring games.
Friday, March 13th brought many new players to town to join their teammates in the team competition. Teams were made up of 5 players playing a race to 13 games, double elimination, except in the Women’s Open Teams, where the race was to 11. Thirty-one teams competed in the Women’s Open Teams and the team Nice Rack, from Players Club Limited in Seattle, Adrianne Beach, Angela Jensen, Alisha Rogers, Suwanna Kroll and Betty Wagner, found themselves in the driver’s seat with wins over Sooo Ridiculous 11-5, Better Late Than Never 11-3, B – BEEP! 11-8, Lucky Ladies 11-8 and Driving 101…Again 11-9. After their loss to Nice Rack, B-BEEP! went to the B side of the bracket and scored wins over Out of Towners 11-10, Queens 11-3, Super Freaks 11-9, Fast Cheap & Outta Control 11-9, and finally Driving 101…Again 11-9 to gain another shot at Nice Rack in the final. Nice Rack, not to be denied, took the first set and the title with an 11-3 win.
The Women’s Master Teams division showcased 9 teams and was won by the undefeated team, NPL Chix Cindy Doty, Andrea Saenz-Maes, Liz Cole, Mary Hopkin and Suzanne Smith, from the Northwest Players League. NPL Chix stormed to the driver’s seat with wins over Shooting From the Short Bus 13-6, On The Wire 13-12 and the Rush Hour Chix 13-7. After their first round defeat by the NPL Chix, Shooting From the Short Bus drove through the left side of the bracket with wins over 5 Chikas 13-8, Spot Shots 13-2, On The Wire 13-9 and Rush Hour Chix 13-7 to earn another shot at NPL Chix in the final. However, NPL Chix took the first set and the $1,850 first prize 13-11.
The Men’s Mixed Open Team division drew a nice field of 117 teams. But It Was Suited found their way to the hot seat, waiting for their opponent in the final with wins over Pool Gods 13-2, The Rack Pack 13-4, PC’s Broke Us Apart 13-8, Highly Overrated 13-8, Another Gear 13-12, Q’z Bushwackers 13-8 and Little Dutch Inn 13-11. Little Dutch Inn was not deterred by their loss in the A side finals as they went to the B side and defeated Hammertime 13-5 to earn another shot at But It Was Suited in the finals. In a thrilling final match up, Little Dutch Inn, from Yakima with Tim Desmarais, Nick Lopez, Clayton Foran, Bob Masters and Delmar Rowden, took the first set 13-11 and won the final set by the narrowest of scores 13-12. One hundred seventeen teams, hundreds of games and matches came down to a single game of 8-ball to decide the championship. Little Dutch Inn received $2,500 for their win, while But It Was Suited settled for $2,010 for second place.
The Men’s Master Team division drew 16 strong teams. KC’s Midway, consisting of big guns Mike Stevens, Steve Linglebach, Gary French, Bob Zack and Dan Louie, raced to the driver’s seat with wins over Malarkey’s 13-7, Solid 13-9, Anger Management 13-8 and PH.D 13-10. Malarkey’s after their first round defeat, came back on the B side to defeat McQ’s Masters 13-7, Where’d These Guys Come From 13-4, Misspent Youth 13-2, Anger Management 13-6, Soundview Bar & Grill #1 13-12 and PH.D 13-10 to earn another shot at KC’s Midway. There would be no drama or thrilling comebacks in this final as KC’s Midway commanded the first set with a 13-2 win over Malarky’s and took the $2,700 first place prize.
Saturday night's highlight, the Horizon Rentals Grand Prize Giveaway of 5-nights lodging at a future Western BCA event, was won by NPL player Darrell Schulden. Darrell said that he always rents a house through Horizon Rentals anyway, and now will be thrilled to be able to upgrade his lodgings for the next event. Western BCA gave away dozens of great prizes to lucky players, and Doug Schulze, Western Washington BCA league operator, donated $200 in vendor gift certificates. Chinook Winds Casino Resort staff was on hand to hand out gifts to players who used their Winners Circle
cards. Event vendors The Parlor, Billiards 911 and Billiards and Barstools all provided players with fine-quality pool-related gear and services. The smoke-free playing venue boasted a full bar and food concession, and all tables were open for play, including an all-night practice room, thanks to the green fee attached to the entry fees. Many players took advantage of Chinook Wind's free parking for the week and stayed in their RV's and campers. Local retailers, as always, were happy to see our players coming into LincolnCity, and look forward to having us back in October.
The 2009 Western BCA Regional 8-Ball Championships saw some of the best competition in the west, with 11 out of 15 champions being crowned undefeated. A huge thank you goes out to Western BCA for organizing and putting on this great tournament for the 14th consecutive year. Thank you to the over two-dozen Western BCA volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the event week, as well as all year long behind the scenes, to ensure participants have a great time. Also a big thank you to Ric Jones and his staff at Bad Boys Billiard Productions for running a first class event and for providing the great equipment for the players on which to compete; also thank you to Chinook Winds Casino Resort for adding $10,000 to the prize fund and for being such great hosts to all the players for the week; and our gratitude goes out to BCA Pool League for adding $2500 to the prize fund.
Thanks to Darryl Farley, Head Referee and the other referees, Paul Sapp, Pat Mowdy, Rodney Ward, Rick Donner, Dave Merrill, Sonny Boggs and special thanks to Jerry Salois, who had to drop out after sustaining an injury. We hope Jerry is recovering from his severe knee sprain; also best wishes to Mike Jensen, Western BCA Chairman of the Board, who missed his first Western BCA tournament due to a serious facial infection. Special congratulations to Darcy Moss, Western BCA Vice President, who became a master at this event.
Don’t miss the Western BCA Regional 9 Ball Championships on October 20-25, 2009 at Chinook Winds Casino Resort.