The 2007 Western BCA Regional 8-Ball Championships held at Chinook Winds Casino Resort March 13-18 turned out to be more than just another day at the beach. Leprechauns were “sighted” at the event. It is even rumored that leprechauns were responsible for the record amount of added money. The excitement was so high that even members of the Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce heard the buzz and turned out to watch.
This year’s regional tournament attracted 1,105 player-members with more than 1,850 entries in 15 events. Entries increased a whopping 25 percent, with the biggest increases seen in Scotch doubles and women’s events. A record of $95,525, composed of total entry and registration fees and $37,705.00 in added money from several sources ($10,000 from Chinook Winds Casino Resort, $2,200 from the national Billiards Congress of America Pool League, and $25,505 from Western BCA) was paid out in the different events. This record will most probably be broken at the 2008 8-ball regional but for now stands as one of the biggest prize purses in the country.
This tournament brings top-level players to one of the best regional pool tournaments in the country. Competitors began rolling in like waves on the shore on Monday evening prior to the Scotch doubles, which began Tuesday morning. Many top players came and showcased their skills, some playing for the first time in the regional championship, including nationally known players Glenn Atwell, Mike Zimmerman, Todd Marsh and world champion Dan Louie.
This was the 12th Annual Regional 8-Ball Championships and the ninth time that Scotch doubles has been an official part of these championships. The growth in this event has been staggering. Starting as an unofficial late-night mini tournament, the event has grown to a full-fledged part of the championships. Scotch doubles now fills the room’s 72 tables for a day and a half. The 112 open couples and 35 master couples were both records for the event.
The Masters Scotch Doubles was a tight one. Glenn Atwell (Grand Master) and Andrea Saenz-Maes (Master) prevailed over Linda Carter (Master) and Mike Zimmerman (Grand Master) in the finals. In the open division, David Bersenadze and Margie Avlon from Seattle defeated the Tacoma brother and sister combo of Tommy and Cindy Sliva to capture the championship.
Mini-tournaments started on Wednesday night with formats ranging from Open-B Singles to Master Scotch. Play finished for the mini tournaments on Friday night. In Second Chance tournaments, Western BCA added more than $2,200 to the pot. The Second Chance team tournament included some negotiation with the men’s teams graciously agreeing to give the women’s teams a 3-game spot.
The singles events got underway Thursday morning. Men’s Grand Master Dan Louie of Seattle played like the champion he is, climbing to the top to become the Western BCA 2007 8-Ball Masters champion. He went through a tough field, defeating his teammate Todd Marsh in the final to win the toughest and largest Men's Masters field ever.
In the women’s Masters, Cindy Doty won over Barb Thompson in a classic battle, with Barb taking the first match from Cindy, who won the point. Cindy, however, came out the winner. Both Dan Louie and Cindy Doty will receive free entry into the singles events at the BCAPL national tournament in Las Vegas in May.
The Women’s Open singles championship came down to a marathon match between Margie Avlon and Cindy Sliva. Margie won two sets to capture her second championship of the week.
Jonathan Hahn from Longview took the Open-A division. He played steadily and did not let anyone down who predicted his eventual win. Rich Duffy from Thurston County took second. Welcome to the Masters, guys. The third time was the lucky charm for Ron Ok who finally won the Men’s Open-B, playing like a champ, running through everyone undefeated. Runner-up Herb Johnson could not unlock Ron’s game. They are both from Portland’s Cascade League.
A pair of Seattle area players finished first and second in the Men’s Senior singles. Mike Mooney took the championship and Bob Sandy was runner-up. In the Women’s Senior singles, Bonnie Mahaffey won the championship over Lou McCarthy. Griffin Dunagan of Astoria survived a hill-hill match with Chance O’Neill of Port Angeles to capture the Men’s Novice championship. Molly MacCorkle won the Women’s Novice championship over Julie Elce.
Just when everyone thought that it was not going to happen, the ring game materialized. Just like last year, it provided some great viewing and good match play. Glenn Atwell and Jeff Jerome played the finals in the two-hour fight. Team events started Friday night and once again, the room was filled to the max. One hundred and seven men’s open teams and 32 women’s open teams were vying for titles. McQ’s Q’s from Spokane, with team members Duane Bumgarner, John Marshall, Bob ‘Deacon’ Pike, Bob Riddell and Carl Tibbetts, won the men’s open championship, playing neck and neck before finally pulling away from Short, Yellow Bus # 6, Northwest Players League (Mike Crenshaw, John Evans, Steve Myers, Kevin Parr, Darrell Schulden and Mike White). Going through the winners side, Driving 101 Again with Nikki Bisconer, Cathy Dunford, Eve Stockstill, Linda Knight and Shirley Morgan, won the women’s open championship by defeating Shotze’s Gals in a hard fought match.
The Billiard and Barstools team of Mike Stevens, Ivan Doty, Bob Zack, Steve Lingelbachand Gary French defeated Team Seattle to win the Masters team championship. The men’s master division had a record 22 teams competing this year. The women’s master team champion NPL Chix made up of Liz Cole, Mary Hopkin, Andrea Saenz-Maes, Crystal Opoka, and captained by Cindy Doty, won by beating 7 Cedars Firebirds. That gave Cindy two championships in the two events she entered.
Players not only had a great time at the beach, but also showed their concern for a fellow player. Dave Schelske who has played in Western BCA events for years with Cascade Pool League and Northwest Players League, has developed Guillain-Barré syndrome and could not attend the event. A fundraiser was developed and many of the Western BCA players donated money to help the family. One team, Sandy Clinic, donated their winnings to the family. It is reassuring to see such an awesome outpouring for a colleague.
Throughout the entire tournament, Chinook Winds and Western BCA gave away door prizes to lucky players. Brian Roberson was the winner of the biggest prize, a mini-vacation at the beach provided by Horizon Rentals and valued at $800. Jump cues, billiard tools and Western BCA embroidered jackets were also given away.
A tournament of this scope would not be possible were it not for the vision and dedication of the officers and board members of the Western BCA. A big thank you goes out to all who were instrumental in coordinating this event. The Western BCA Board led by President Bill Henderson is responsible for this very successful event. The St. Patrick’s Day shirts, designed by Shirley Morgan, sold out in a couple of days; the vendors profited from the new layout set up by Tom Moss; and the tournament podium staff, headed by WBCA vice-president Sam Rabito and anchored by Stacy Sherman, Sassy Campbell (back after a few year’s layoff) and Cindy Rosenthal, kept everyone informed. Andrew Monstis, Membership Committee, gave away over $2,000 worth of prizes. Darryl Farley brought in a crew of refs with national credentials who did an outstanding job. Not enough can be said about the job our Secretary/Treasurer Joyce Gumm did in gathering and verifying the entries, getting out the checks in record time and answering all the little questions that needed answers. As always, Gary Benson and High Country Promotions did a great job of running the tournament and providing the tables. The Break produced the full-color tournament program this year. A huge thanks to goes to BCA Pool League Mark Griffin’s national team for their support, both here and nationally. Many others volunteered countless hours so this tournament would run efficiently and competitors and spectators alike would enjoy the event. Again, thanks to all.
As this tournament ended, it was very gratifying to hear the many positive comments made by players and spectators. “I have attended many of the Western BCA’s regional tournaments, and this is the best 8-ball ever held,” one player said. Countless others echoed these sentiments.
The caliber of pool continues to grow at the Western BCA tournaments and when you add players of the caliber of National Grandmasters Dan Louie and Mike Zimmerman the future looks bright. Next up is the Tenth Annual 9-Ball Championship on October 23-28. Stay tuned – it will be a dandy.