The week of March 8-14, 2010 was a record-breaking, history-making, resounding success for Western BCA Pool Players Association. 8-ball players from around the Western BCA Region flocked to the beautiful coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon to compete in the biggest and best regional tournament in the country: The 15th Annual Western BCA Regional 8-Ball Championships. These Championships featured 16 different divisions with 1,215 players participating, many in multiple events. With the most entries ever in its 15-year history, Western BCA welcomed players from Oregon and Washington to Chinook Winds Casino Resort, including the first ever junior competitor. These players qualified for entry through their BCAPL/WBCA sanctioned local leagues and traveled here to try to win their share of over $100,000 in prize money! These Championships marked the beginning of the Grand Masters Challenge and the advent of live-streaming matches on the Internet. It was an event to be remembered.
The action got underway on Monday, March 8 at 9am with the Open Mixed Scotch Doubles and Master Mixed Scotch Doubles divisions. The Master Mixed Scotch Doubles featured 35 teams playing a race to six. Sean Lewis and Shari Ross from Players Club Limited League (LTD) ran through the field undefeated to take the $1,650 first prize. Eddie Mataya and Cindy Sliva from the Northwest Players League (NPL) finished second after falling short in the hot seat match 6-4. They defeated the team of Dave Schelske and Wanda Plummer in a hill-hill match to get a second shot at Lewis & Ross, only to fall short again by a 6-4 score. Meanwhile the Open Mixed Scotch Doubles division sported 111 teams playing a race to five. The team of John Te and Alisha Rogers of LTD chewed through the field to claim the hot seat after defeating Tim Haines and Rosie Jensen of NPL, 5-3. Play would be suspended for a couple of days as singles matches took over the tables and many of the Scotch Doubles participants were also faring well in their singles events. Finally on Thursday night the title was settled with John Te and Alisha Rogers taking first place honors and the $1,400 winner’s check with a 5-2 win over Tim Haines and Rosie Jensen.
Tuesday morning the singles events got underway. With eight different singles divisions. There was something for every level of player from Novice to Grand Master. The largest of these divisions, the Men’s Open-B division, with an incredible 252 entries, started playing first. Matches were a race to five. Jason Grijalva of NPL did the unthinkable—he won nine straight matches and did not allow any of his opponents to ever reach the hill. He topped 2nd place finisher Travis De Jong of LTD with a 5-3 win. Travis had won six straight matches before being sent to the one-loss side of the bracket by Anthony Wahpat with a 5-3 score. He then won three pressure packed hill-hill matches over John Chase, Chuck Skeen and Wahpat again to advance to the final. Grijalva collected $750 for his stellar 1st place performance while De Jong took home $590 for his 2nd place finish.
Tuesday evening the Men’s Open-A division kicked off with 169 players battling for almost $9,000 in prize money. Men’s Open-A matches were a race to six. JW Koon of Cherry City League (CCL) bulldozed through the field undefeated, winning nine straight matches to take the $1,000 1st place check. Koon’s opponent in the finals was Robert Alston, from Western Washington United League (WWA). Alston won three matches before suffering his first loss at the hands of John Evans. Alston then went to the one-loss side where he won seven straight matches, including a 6-3 rematch win over Evans, leaving John in third place and earning another shot at Koon in the finals. Koon, being well rested after waiting to see whom he would face for the championship, defeated a tired Alston 6-4 in the final match. Alston won $765 for 2nd place.
The Men’s Masters Singles event started on Wednesday morning. There was a buzz among the players that this might be “their year,” as the newly formed Grand Masters Challenge took eight of the top players out of this field and opened up the opportunity to win the most coveted title at the Regional Championships—Men’s Master Champion. Sixty-six players screwed their cues together to battle for their share of over $5,400 in prize money. Paul Marquez of NPL raced to the hot seat with six straight wins. Marquez would then wait to see who would survive the one-loss side to face him in the finals. That player would be LTD master player, Jim Conway. Conway, after being defeated by Marquez on the winner’s side 7-2, went on a mission, defeating Robert Niemeyer 7-2, Randy Baker 7-5, Tyler Luce 7-3, Eddie Carrido 7-6, and Dana Aldridge 7-6 to earn a rematch with Marquez. The finals got started late Thursday evening and were streamed live via USTREAM over the internet thanks to the women of Northwest Women’s Pool Association (NWPA). Jim Conway took the first set in a thrilling hill-hill match to force a second set for all the marbles. In the second set, Conway continued his strong play and finally at about 2am, the dust settled and Jim Conway was crowned the Men’s Master Singles Champion with a 7-4 victory over the young Marquez. Conway collected $1,250 for his tremendous performance, while Marquez cashed a check for $900 for his 2nd place finish.
Also in the Men’s Divisions were the Men’s Senior Singles and the Men’s Novice Singles. In the Men’s Senior Singles, Ron Shelton of NPL outlasted the 46-player field, defeating Dennis Hostak of WWA in two hill-hill sets to claim the $500 first prize. Hostak earned $340 for his impressive second place finish in this tough field. Meanwhile in the Men’s Novice Singles, Alan Junes of Lower Columbia Clatsop League (LCC) came out on top of the 10-player bracket losing the first set in the finals 4-2, but coming back to defeat second place finisher Tyler Franklin by a score of 4-2 to claim the title. Junes and Franklin won free entry into the next Men’s Open-B Singles event.
While these events were taking place, the first annual Grand Masters Challenge kicked off. This very special event featured eight of the top ranked Master and Grand Master pool players, playing a round robin tournament, with each playing each other 10-game matches. Glenn Atwell of NPL played steady and strong throughout the three days and finished with an outstanding 47 wins and cashing a $2,000 1st prize check. Glenn’s closest competitors were Don Wirtaman and Todd Marsh, who finished in a tie for 2nd place with 36 wins, both receiving $1,075. These matches were all streamed live on the internet courtesy of NWPA. The live stream turned out to be very popular, with 2,262 unique viewers and over 4,500 total hits. For more on the Grand Masters Challenge, see the article on the next page.
Also taking place on Wednesday and Thursday were four jam-packed divisions of Women’s Singles events. In the Women’s Master Singles, 36 ladies battled in a race to seven to claim the title of Women’s Master Champion and the $925 1st prize. Kimberly Kirk of LTD went through the tough field undefeated and took the title with a 7-4 win over Cindy Sliva of NPL. Kirk had defeated Sliva earlier in the tournament by a slim 7-6 score, but Sliva then charged through the one-loss side and defeated Coryn Walker 7-2, Cindy Doty 7-3 and Kris Robbins 7-4, to earn a second chance at Kirk, but Kirk played a strong final match and Sliva took 2nd place for $600. Cindy Sliva gave an outstanding performance and really stood out at this tournament, being the only competitor to play in three final matches; she took home 2nd in both Masters Singles and Scotch Doubles, and 1st place with her team (details later in this article).
The Women’s Open Singles division boasted 124 competitors—the most ever to enter this event. The path to victory would not be an easy one. Rosie Jensen of NPL stormed through the A-side of the bracket undefeated, winning nine straight matches on her way the title and an $800 payday. Rosie’s opponent in the finals was Dawnella Saville of LTD. Jensen defeated Saville in the hot seat match 5-3. Saville came back from the B-side of the bracket to face Jensen again, but Jensen took the final match and Saville claimed $585 for 2nd place. In the Women’s Senior Singles event Lynda Moore of LTD steam-rolled through the 12-player field undefeated to claim the title and the $250 first prize. Sandy Masterjohn, also of LTD, finished second and earned a $135 paycheck.
The Women’s Novice Singles turned out to be a little bit of a family feud. Charlene Dawson of NPL raced to the hot seat to wait and see who she would face in the finals. That player would be none other than her own sister, Donna Wainanwit, also of NPL. Wainanwit, after a 4-2 loss to Dody Orr, went to the west side of the bracket and defeated Sherry Smith, Stephanie Amerman and won her rematch with Dody Orr to advance to the finals. In the finals, Donna continued her strong play and defeated her sister Charlene 4-0 and 4-1 to claim the title. This was the first time at the regional championships for both sisters and since they both won free entry into the Women’s Open at the next event, they’ll be back again.
Friday morning the team events got underway. In the Women’s Open Team event, 26 teams played a race to 11. By the time the dust settled, one team would wind up undefeated. That team was the Pine Tree Girls from Thurston County BCA, made up of Cathy Early, Marla Mortensen, Cindy Perry, Cindy Nieznalski, and Tracy Wahl. These top women shooters pulled off the feat with wins over Roaming Cues 11-3, The Dogghouse 11-7, Duck Inn Mother Duckers 11-7, Shooting Stars 11-2, and Crazy Al’s Better Late Than Never 11-9 for the hot seat. Facing Crazy Al’s Better Late Than Never in a rematch, the Pine Tree Girls remained steady and strong, defeating Crazy Al’s girls 11-9 for the title of Women’s Open Team Champion and a cash prize of $1,300. Better Late Than Never were very happy being better 2nd than 3rd, and won $1,050.
The Women’s Master Team event featured only nine teams but was not lacking in talent. Reigning champions NPL Chix, consisting of Liz Cole, Kim Hole, Andrea Saenz-Maes, Mary Hopkin, Cindy Sliva and 2010 Women’s Master Champion Kimberly Kirk, raced through the tournament undefeated with victories over Whatever 13-5, Fins 13-7, Master’s Women 13-5 and then again in a rematch with Master’s Women, made up of Carissa Biggs, Ann Brandt, Phyllis Fernandez, Shelby Locati, and Susanne Smith 13-8. NPL Chix played a remarkable final match to take the title and the $1,825 first prize. Master’s Women, finishing 2nd, earned $1,025.
Back on the Men’s side of the tournament, the Men’s/Mixed Master Team event featured 17 very strong teams. Soundview Bar & Grill Bigs, from Player’s Club Limited, featuring Randy Baker, 2010 Men’s Master Champion Jim Conway, Randy Camantigue, Marvin Holmes and Sean Lewis, raced to the hot seat with wins over J.A.D. 2 13-5, Little Dutch Inn Yakima 13-10, Rowdy Bunch 13-7, and Malarkey’s 13-11. The Malarkey’s team united powerhouse shooters, 2010 Grand Masters Champion Glenn Atwell, Eddie Mataya, Bobby Campbell, Clark Smith, Scott Thurston and Damien Pongpanik; they were undaunted by their close loss on the A-side of the bracket and rallied back, defeating KC’s Midway 13-9 to earn a second shot at Soundview Bar & Grill Bigs in the final match. Malarkey’s took the first set 13-7 to force a second and deciding set. Malarkey’s did not ease up the pressure and won the second match with a 13-9 score, giving them the team title and the $2,750 first prize check. Soundview Bar and Grill took home $1775 for finishing 2nd place.
The largest field in the team events was the Men’s/Mixed Open Team event with a whopping 128 teams! Play got underway Friday morning and with this many teams in a race to 13, play would be continuous and some long days would be ahead for some teams. Have Cues Will Travel from the Inland BCA League in Spokane, Washington made up of Don Armstrong, Dan Glynn, Scott Gracio, Joe Portier, and Al Primm raced through the tough field undefeated, winning eight straight matches to claim the hot seat to wait and see whom they would face in the finals on Sunday night. Their opponents would end up being Bet Something of the Players League Grants Pass (PCGP), comprised of Bret Baker, Mark Fenn, Steve Heiman, Dennis Young, Mike Morang, and Chuck Skeen. Bet Something, after winning their first match, lost a close 13-11 match with Schooner Predators. They then went to the left side of the long bracket and won 11 matches in a row, including four hill-hill matches over two days, to secure their spot in the finals. The finals began at 6:00 pm Sunday evening. By this time most people were headed home and the crew had come in to start breaking the tables down, quite a different atmosphere than the hundreds of players that had filled the room the rest of the week. Bet Something won five matches on Sunday to reach the finals, while Have Cues Will Travel secured their spot 22 hours earlier on Saturday evening. In the first set, Bet Something looked to be a little more comfortable on the tables and took the first set 13-6 to force a second and deciding set. Bet Something once again raced out to a lead of 11-6 and looked to be on the verge of taking the tournament easily. But Have Cues Will Travel did not come all the way from Eastern Washington to give up without a fight and clawed back to even the score at 11-11. This was going to be Bet Something’s day, as they took the next two racks and secured the championship 13-11 and won the $2,750 winner’s check.
The 2nd Chance tournaments gave entrants who didn’t make the money a…second chance. In the Open Scotch Doubles, Bob Robbins/Katie Moses and Jon Letsom/Laurie Dawkins tied for 1st place. Bill Ermatinger stormed through the 47-player bracket in the Open-A 2nd Chance to win over Paul Ward. In the Men’s Open-B 2nd chance, 67 players signed up for the single elimination tournament. John Marshall finished 1st and Jason Patrick took 2nd place. Yukon Jacks, from Emerald Valley League, won the 2nd Chance Open Team Event.
Saturday night was the big night for prize giveaways. The Grand Prize of a 5-night stay at a Mariner’s Point house rental, donated by premiere sponsor Horizon Rentals and Doug Ellenberger of Cherry City League is the very lucky winner! Captain Cook Inn donated a 2-night stay and Carlos Santibanez, also of CCL, was the winning entry. And finally, John Day of PCGP won a 1-night stay at Lincoln City Inn. Thank you to all these sponsors for their generous contributions to the Western BCA Pool Players.
This Championship Tournament made Western BCA history, with its first junior participant who qualified in a Junior League within an established local league. Although there wasn’t a Junior division, Tyler Amos, 18, played in his first Western BCA 8-Ball Championship tournament as an Open-B player and he gave as good as he got. Tyler is from Marysville, Washington and qualified in Players Club Limited BCA Pool League. He entered two events, Men’s Open-B Singles and Men’s/Mixed Open Teams and did well in both, finishing one match out of the money in his singles and helping his team get to 25th in the team event. This is just the beginning for Tyler. He is looking ahead to future Western BCA regional events and, one day, challenging for a title of his own.
A very big thank you goes out to Chinook Winds Casino Resort for being such gracious hosts and for the money they add into this event twice a year. Also a big thank you to Ric Jones and Bad Boys Billiard Productions for bringing in and setting up 80 beautiful competition Diamond tables, hanging lights over each table and keeping things running smoothly with the most state-of-the-art computer program in the country. This year’s new feature was text notification; players could sign up to have Bad Boys text them the time and table of their next match. Thank you to the Western BCA and their countless volunteers that make this tournament possible. Many hours of work go into putting on events of this magnitude to be sure everyone has a good experience when they come to the biggest regional tournament in the country! Judging by the number of pool players in attendance and the number of viewers who tuned in to the live stream, the 2010 Western BCA Regional 8-Ball Championships broke records and made history.