WriteUp

11th Annual Western BCA Regional 9-Ball Championships
October 22-26, 2008

Were You There?

Then you'd know:

  • You just experienced the largest regional 9-ball tournament in the United States.
  • You received the benefit of the new Bad Boys Billiard Productions tournament program.
  • You played on beautiful Diamond tables with red circle cue balls.
  • You loved the open tables and free practice time.
  • You played in the mini's and ring games Tuesday night.
  • You found the perfect gift at 911 Billiards or Billiards and Barstools.
  • You walked on the beach late at night in balmy 60 degree weather or took pictures of seagulls over the sunlit surf at high noon.

All these things and more were yours to enjoy at Western BCA's 11th Annual 9-Ball Championships, held October 22 - 26 at Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City. Did you stay at the Chinook Winds Resort, or maybe rent a house for your team through Horizon Rentals? If you're Brian Roberson, then you know you won the Grand Prize Giveaway of 4 nights lodging for two to six people from Western BCA sponsor Horizon Rentals!

Were you one of the 234 players who chalked up to win some of the more than $12,000 in the Mixed Scotch Doubles brackets on Wednesday? By Thursday morning were you ready at 9 am to crack the rack for the more than $17,000 total pot in Open singles with 406 others? Or in the afternoon with 92 Masters vying for prizes worth over $7,235?

It was a week worth remembering. The ever-present struggle to keep matches on time was considerably diminished at this event, thanks to the Bad Boys tournament program. Their posted brackets were crisp and easy to read – many said their results were posted even before they went to the charts to find their next match! Since this was the first time using Bad Boys Billiard Productions program, there undoubtedly will be a review of scheduling to ensure the next event is even better, but players and officials are to be commended for working well together to stay on time.

The BBBP program instantaneously provided Western BCA staff with important match tracking information, which gave them the ability to get results out to the media quickly. They also now have the beginning of trends and player history that thus far has not been obtainable without great effort. Ric Jones, Bret McKinney, "Bull”, Bonnie Jones, Ron Guilmette, Rick Donner and Billy staffed the Bad Boys bracketing tables and did a fantastic job for Western BCA.

Don "Cheese" Akerlow, of On The Break News TV, provided video coverage of the finals matches and close-to-instant broadcasting of the Western BCA event. If you haven't visited his website, check it out at www.otbntv.com and go to Western BCA, where not only will you be able to watch full match play, free of charge for the next year, but interviews conducted by Linda Carter and Sam Rabito and dozens of photographs Cheese took of the event. Cheese also set up a blog on his forum dedicated to Western BCA, where people from all over are enjoying the Western BCA videos and say it's the next best thing to being there.

Podium staffers are a die-hard lot. These are league operators, Western BCA officers and staff, and players, and they all are volunteers. One player's mouth dropped about a foot when he heard that the staff is not salaried. He's seen them come year after year and spend hours every day up there working away. Bill Henderson, Darcy Moss, Joyce Gumm, Cindy Rosenthal, Sam Rabito, Stacy Sherman, Cathy and Nate Dunford, Sassy Campbell, Rosie and Mike Jensen, Alex and Dayle Stroup, Terry Ludwig, Andrew Monstis, Jason Miller, Barb Sisneros, Steve and Denise Marker, Kathi Giles and others. These are some of the dedicated folks who bring the Western BCA event to the pool community. And most of them also work year round behind the scenes for the benefit of Western BCA.

Western BCA Fun Night Ring Games

Masters 10-Ball Ring Game

The Masters 10-Ball Ring Game was another smash. The $100 buy in drew 10 players. Previously this event had been a “winner take all” event, but a decision was made to pay the final 2 players a 60% to 40% split. The field split into two tables of five, then two finalists from each table moved to the final table. The format was 3 games at one bet, then change the rotation and bet every three games after that.

Table 1 consisted of Arlo W., Mike Stevens, Glenn Atwell, Colin McMurphy and Tyler Luce. Table 2 had Jim Conway, Russell Cearley, Jeff Jerome, Ivan Doty and Chad Bisconner. The first game winner on table 1 was Colin, setting the pace for that table. Jim won the first game and missed a chance to start with two wins. Ring games are an exercise in waiting for an opportunity, then making the most out of it. That’s what Chad did on table 2 when he busted out for three straight games when his turn came up. He ran out, broke the 10 then almost made the 10 again on the break but still made an early 10. Table 2 played 3 games in minutes, while the other table went back and forth. In a turning point on table 1, Mike hooked himself on a side pocket, had to jump to hit the 10-ball, hit it and made it in the cross side. The personalities of Group 1 were serious and meticulous, taking 45 minutes longer and table two was fast and furious. When all was said and done the table 1 finalists were Glenn Atwell and Mike Stevens and table 2 advancers to the final table were Ivan Doty and Chad Bisconner.

The final four went fast. Glenn and Ivan took duo leads right away and went on to battle it out. With a three game to win possibility they decided to split the $1000, $500 apiece.

Open 10-Ball Ring Game

Eight players signed up for the Men’s Open-A/B 10-ball ring game paying $75 each for a chance at the 1st and 2nd place payouts. They started on two tables with four players on each table. The money round would have four players advancing to one table.

A Ring Game, as most of you know, can be a fun, exciting and frustrating game. To win you need to be lucky, get some rolls and play consistently throughout the entire game. The players draw for shooting order. After three games, the players redraw for a new shooting order. Every time you win a game you collect chips from each player until only two players remain with chips.

It took fifteen games on each table to eliminate four players and get to the final round. Lee Brohel, Bob Cummings, Ray Sibert and Treon Pham made the cut. Bob and Lee were eliminated in the next nine games with Treon holding on through two more games for 1st and winning $360.00. Ray received $240.00 with a 2nd place win.

NPL Chix Take Women’s Team Title

Winning isn’t all that new to Cindy Doty. That’s not to say that she doesn’t still get excited when she wins a tournament. Cindy and her two teammates were pretty excited Sunday evening when they won the Western BCA women’s team championship match. The team (NPL Chix) consisted of master Cindy Doty, and open players Anna Busley and Shirley Morgan. These three put together quite a run of matches to take first place without losing a match.

One of their toughest matches was against a strong Salem team, Super Freaks (Paula Huesinkveld, Kimber Sexton and Tricia Tipton). That match started badly for the NPL Chix with a lopsided score of 9 to 3, in favor of the Super Freaks. But the NPL Chix started chipping away at the lead and finally finished out the match with a win after going hill-hill with Cindy playing a nail biting tiebreaker. She pulled it off with some fantastic shots for the win.

Anna showed her prowess on the table a number of times with her jump shots. She got out of quite a few jams this way. She shot solid pool throughout and showed nerves of steel.

This was Shirley’s third women’s team first place finish, but the first in nine-ball. Team play seems to agree with Shirley’s game and she feels she plays better when she has a team supporting her.

After playing until about 3 a.m. Sunday morning, Cindy, Anna and Shirley were actually pretty well rested for their final match on Sunday afternoon, which started at five p.m. They were up against The Barbarians, a team consisting of Barb Thompson, Dolly Martel and Kathy Beilas – three very solid players who had lost their last match the night before to Back for More (Kari Stevens, Wanda Plummer, Jennifer Nordling). Barb’s team played Kari’s team again Sunday and won this time, which would set The Barbarian up with the NPL Chix for the final. The match began with the NPL Chix holding a slight lead through the first couple of rounds. Then the Chix started taking control and kept widening the lead. The Barbarians played well but the Chix dominated that last match for the 2008 women’s nine-ball championship.

Bob Zack Crowned 2009 9-Ball Men’s Master Champion

It's Friday night at the 2008 Western BCA 9-Ball Championships. Matt Horner and Bob Zack have survived the field of 65 Western BCA Master Men. They'll meet up late tonight to duke it out for the championship. Mini-tournaments are winding down and most everyone has gone off to bed, bars, betting or maybe even the beach. The Master Women's finals concluded just a few hours earlier, and the finals table is ready and waiting. All nearby tables are cleared and quiet. On The Break News TV is poised for filming. A few spectators settle in on their side of the bannered railings.

Both men have worked steadily through the Men’s Master bracket with Thursday night and Friday afternoon matches. Matt took care of Shawn Gibson, Ivan Doty, Kevin Fong, Jim Conway and finally Glenn Atwell, where he made up for his loss to Glenn for the point at the 8-Ball Championships in March. Meanwhile, Bob was dealing with Randy Ohrstrom, Todd Marsh, Chad Bisconer (8-7), Gary Givens, and Randy Baker. After defeating Glenn, Matt Horner put Bob Zack in the loser's bracket late Friday afternoon with a narrow win, forcing him face Glenn later that evening, winning 8-6. The finals will begin just after midnight. Bob has just come off a match and Matt has rested up since 6. The two players have distinctly different styles. It will make for an interesting match.

The players arrive and go through their ritual preparations, making sure all their equipment is just so. The referee is in place, the camera is turned on, and the cue ball scatters the first rack. In these early games, Horner and Zack trade off taking the nine; neither player seems to be in top form, but the balls aren't always lying well, either, and getting on a roll doesn't come easily. The match moves along and there are some good moments. Bob works a seven-eight combo just right to take one game and runs out another when Matt misses a leave. Matt does some nice ball maneuvering to take his share. But shots are missed, tempting one-nine combos aren't realized, cue balls are hooked or scratched, balls are moved when they're meant to stay put, safeties aren't safe, jumps are just an exercise in screwing and unscrewing sticks, 9-balls are missed. Is it the late hour? Bob Zack is just shaking his head, Matt Horner is scratching his; both appear to be wondering where their game went. Bob seems determined to keep up his quick pace, only to hurry up and wait. Matt plays steady, make or miss. The match goes 15 games and at the end, Matt's run ends when he can't kick the seven home, and Bob takes the game and the match and now has an opportunity to win this thing.

In the second match, Zack quickly scoops up the first two games, breaking and running the first, taking Matt's break and running the second. He scratches on the two in the third game, leaving Matt a combo on the 9. In game three after a few safeties, Bob spots an opportunity to jump over an impeding ball and go down the length of the table to the one, where it then sends the 9 banking off the end rail and back down the table in between two balls with minimal wiggle room and silently disappears into the corner pocket. This is quite possibly the shot of the match. Cheese from "On The Break News TV" is switching the camera off and on between games and is heard to say, "Now that's the way 9-ball is supposed to be played…" he snaps his fingers… "Quick! Quick!" The players and spectators chuckle.

Matt gets in stride over the next several games, making some pretty shots like the one where he has to jack up on the rail, send a ball in and suck the cue ball just past the nine to a perfect leave on the next object ball. He's looking all business. Whatever seems to have taken him away is gone; his stroke is sure, his leaves are precise. He's back and he's on a mission. The score is three apiece.

Bob breaks but makes nothing, and Matt runs until he over cuts the five-ball and leaves it sitting on a corner cliff for Bob to clip in while Matt sits down and practices his air stroke – but the cue ball rolls too far and Bob has to jump at the six, resulting in a ball-in-hand to Matt who's then out.

Now Matt breaks and makes nada, and a push and safeties and a generally messy table follow until somebody has to win, and that's Matt. Score five/three Matt.

"The Four-Ball" Game: Bob breaks, nothing down again. He sits and taps his fingers, muttering something about breaks. Horner surveys, chalks, and clenches his jaw. Tough one-ball. He misses but forces a kick and now Bob two-rails into a good hit but that's it. He's frustrated – it's hell sitting down. Matt gears up. He carefully places the chalk on the rail and begins. But it doesn't take long until he's tied the four-ball up with the eight. He gets it out and leaves Bob a bank, which though missed, leaves the cue ball nicely tucked away. Matt connects with the four-ball but can't get the darn thing down. And neither can Bob Zack. Finally an intentional safe by Matt fails and gives Bob a corner cut that’s not meant to be, and Matt Horner is straight in on the pesky four-ball. Fifth time's a charm as Matt buries it with the rest following.

Matt's next break is nice, with a ball down; unfortunately so is the cue ball. Bob takes over and just slides the rest in, giving him some momentum. He breaks the next rack, makes a ball and safes the one, and Matt misses a kick into the corner. Zack's up and down on the ball before Matt evens gets to his chair. He just starts making balls and he's picking up speed as he goes. Now Matt breaks and makes two balls… but he has no shot on the one and pushes. Bob runs a couple and decides to safe, and Matt connects but gives Bob a great start to a smooth out – he's practically playing rocket pool by himself. Matt's three game lead has disappeared, and Bob makes three on the next break and runs on out, making it seven/six.

Matt wipes his hands on his towel, drinks some juice, takes a deep breath, power breaks. He surveys a dismal result – the one blocked by the seven. He rolls out. Bob is up quick. He wants this one. He thins the one and heaves a huge sigh of relief when the cue ball comes perfectly down table to a safe haven. Matt has to reciprocate and he is up to it, forcing Bob into a jump shot on the one. It rattles in the corner but stays up. The stress level is rising. Matt conducts an examination of the situation, doesn't look pleased. He makes the one but the leave on the two is less than desirable. He safes. Bob gets him back. Duck and hide; turn and dip. Finally Matt gets his chance and puts himself to the task of running on out. He slows the game back down to his own pace.

Hill/hill. Horner shakes Zack's hand and says, "Good luck."

Everyone sits up a little straighter. Bob breaks and makes the two, bringing all the balls to the lower half of the table. He doesn't like the lay and holds off pursuing the run, but he's not happy with his leave. He sits, shaking his head. Clearly that wasn't what he had in mind. He is not a happy camper. Matt surveys and decides pretty much the same thing. He shoots, hoping to distance the one and cue ball with a lot of interference between the two, but the one ball has other ideas and weaves back through the crowd and comes to a stop in front of a corner pocket only a few feet from the cue ball. "Oh, no, anywhere but there," he groans. Zack plans his run and carries it out. Matt can only watch and it ain't pretty.

Two class act players, a great match up. And Western BCA has a new 9-Ball Champion – veteran Bob Zack, of Northwest Players League. Congratulations!

Andrea Saenz-Maes Women’s Master Champ

Early Friday evening, Andrea Saenz-Maes reached the “hill” of the Women's Master Singles bracket at the 11th Annual Western BCA 9-Ball Championships in Lincoln City, Oregon. She relaxed for a few hours waiting a her challenger to work her way through the loser’s side of the bracket to get to the finals and battle for the title of Women's Master Champion. That someone would be Linda Carter, who lost to Andrea earlier in the day. Linda then prevailed over Ann Brandt, Kris Robbins, Karla Bagley, Cindy Doty and Liz Cole to meet up again with Andrea in the championship match.

The table was brushed, the balls were cleaned, On The Break News TV was set up to film, and spectators gathered. Sam Rabito, Western BCA Tournament Director, briefly interviewed each player and the match began.

Andrea broke and made the one but missed the two, leaving Linda not only safe but also needing to use the crutch. After some safety play, Linda eventually capitalized on a six-nine combo to take game 1. Linda sank the nine on the break in game 2. Game 3 consisted of safety play until Andrea finally was able to combo out on a three-five-nine in the corner.

Game 4 saw Andrea just missing an early nine carom and both players struggling with ball position. Linda had a nice nine in the side out but missed her leave and had to send it down rail to the corner instead. She undercut it a bit to avoid the side scratch and left the nine in the corner and the out for Andrea. Game 5 found Andrea looking for a three-foul win. The ref had to think for several seconds about the resulting object ball trajectory in potential foul #2 and finally called it as such to the surprise of some and the agreement of others. Linda didn’t escape the third foul and the circle on the scorecard went to Andrea.

Andrea almost sank the nine in game 6, but it had other ideas and sat in a corner while she worked around it with confidence until it was the last ball standing. Another circle. Linda narrowly missed a nine-ball break herself on game 7, then chose a safe on the three, forcing Andrea into a 2-rail kick which almost worked but gave Linda ball-in-hand and the out. Game 8 was full of quandaries, but eventually Andrea ended up with ball-in-hand with four balls on the table and decided what the heck, let's do a five-nine combo.

With the score now standing at 5-3 Andrea, game 9 was mostly cat and mouse on the one, with Andrea at one point shooting the safe while sending the cue ball off the rail into the nine and almost pocketing it in the corner. Linda finally took the one but couldn’t down the two, and Andrea, though she downed it, scratched. Linda ran out. Linda got a nice spread off the break in game 10 but overdrew off the one and kicked unsuccessfully at the two, giving Andrea ball-in-hand. Andrea got to work and took care of that game.

Andrea's break from the right was textbook in game 11, with the one headed for the side and the nine going towards the corner. Instead, the cue ball came back and scratched in the break side, leaving the nine near the corner. Linda was down two games; she needed this one badly and she could see the one-nine combo. She set it up, shot , missed. She just calmly sat down and waited for her next opportunity. Andrea decides to pocket the nine and used the eight, which also went. Both ladies struggled a bit in this game with some scratches, misses and bad leaves, but in the end it was Andrea, securing a 7-4 lead.

Linda, who breaks from the center, just shook her head when her break took three balls to three pockets but left all balls up and the nine an inch from dropping in the side in game 12. Linda's only saving grace may have been that Andrea had to use the crutch and still stretch to pocket the one. She was pretty sure it was over. Andrea pocketed the one and brought the cue ball over to take care of the nine, but it made the rail just short of the target. She was left with another crutch shot and tried to bring the two ball over to the nine – this time she narrowly avoided scratching and the two hails the nine, but doesn't touch it. Linda, who was barely breathing by this time, pulled herself up and ran out.

Andrea broke for the match win in game 13 with the nine ball coming back nicely to a corner pocket, narrowly avoiding cross traffic all over the place, and the spectators exclaim in unison when it rattled the pocket and nothing goes down. Linda quickly took the gift, pocketed the one and combo's the two-nine. The picture was brighter.

Linda's break was similar in game 14, leaving the nine close to the same corner. But Andrea couldn’t see the one, and there was no sense pocketing the nine, so she rolled out, nudging the nine closer to the pocket rail. The one got pushed around a little, then Linda took a shot at pocketing the nine off the six-ball to spot it, but missed the combo completely and no one could believe it. Andrea quickly set up a one-nine combo and the championship was hers.

Sam Rabito threw a little humor into the finale by inadvertently announcing Linda as the runner-up in the Men's Master Singles, and she plays along, looking inside her shirt just to make sure he's wrong about that.

Congratulations to Andrea Saenz-Maes in her first singles championship victory.