Beautiful, clear sunny skies and a light warm breeze welcomed pool players from all over the Northwest to the gorgeous Oregon coast for the 13th Annual Western BCA Regional 9-Ball Championships, held Oct. 12-17, 2010. Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, OR rolled out the red carpet for the 730 entrants signed up in 10 divisions; each vying for their share of the $63,000 in prize money and everyone was in it to win it! This championship seemed to be the year of the Mike with 4 out of 10 of the division titles going to a “Mike” including one woman and the Men’s/Mixed team champs which had two Mikes. For the first time in 9-Ball history, the finals of most of the events were live-streamed on the Western BCA website! The live-streaming was provided by the women of the Northwest Women’s Pool Association (NWPA).
As a tribute to a Western BCA legend, these championships were dedicated to the memory of 5-time Women’s Master Champion, Martha Hartsell, who tragically died too young from cancer this past summer. To further honor her memory, Martha’s brother Rocke Bell lit a candle for his sister at the beginning of the Women’s Master Singles Event, and it burned continuously as the Master women played the game Martha so loved.
Once again, the evening before tournament play would begin was “Fun Night” with lots of Mini-tournaments, Ring games and lots of practice on the Diamond tables provided by Bad Boys Billiard Productions. Kenny Dodd won the Men’s Master ring game and John Waters won the Open-A Men’s ring game.
Players woke up early on Day 1 to start the Mixed Scotch Doubles competitions in both Open and Master Divisions. In the Open Division, the team of Bob and Sheri Cook from the Mid Valley League went undefeated through the field of 72 teams until they ran up against Rod Bair and Donna Kingsbury for the hot seat match. The Cooks were sent to the left side of the bracket by a 5-2 score. Undaunted, the Cooks earned a rematch, knowing they would have to defeat Bair and Kingsbury twice to win the title and that is exactly what they did, winning $1,300.
In the Masters Scotch Doubles, 30 teams battled for the $1,600 first place prize money and title of Masters Scotch Doubles Champions. Mike Stevens and Cindy Doty of the Northwest Players League raced to the finals undefeated. After a 3rd round loss to Stevens and Doty, NPL’s Eddie Mataya and Cindy Sliva went to the one loss side of the bracket and won 5 straight matches to earn a second shot at Stevens and Doty. But Stevens and Doty played amazingly well to take the set and the title, and remain undefeated! Mike #1.
In the Men’s Open-B Division, 136 players shot for the title of Champion and the $700 payday. Milan Kopecky of the NPL raced to the hot seat with 7 straight victories. Meanwhile another Mike was storming through the B-side - Mike Owings of LTD was coming back for another shot at the opponent who knocked him out of the winners’ bracket. In the finals, Mike won two straight sets to earn the well-deserved title of Champion. Mike #2.
The Men’s Open-A Division featured 123 tough shooters, all of whom had their eyes on the $900 first prize. After two and a half days of nice run-outs, good safety play when called for and the occasional “that’s 9-Ball” roll, two top players emerged from the heap: Paul Johnson and Scott Brasher, both of the NPL. Scott showed no mercy, taking the title and the prize money with scores of 7-3 and 7-1. Scott’s triumph also earned him free entry to BCAPL Nationals in May. Scott and Paul will move to the Masters Division after this tournament, along with Jing Gicosa-WWA, Morgan Prescott-NPL, David Ohler-INL, and Darrel Sampson-CWY.
The Women’s Open Singles boasted the largest field in WBCA 9-Ball Regional Championship history, with 98 talented women reaching for the title of Champ and the $775 first place prize money. Maridana “Mike” Fitzgerald of the NPL dominated the field winning a total of 11 matches in her rise to the top, never allowing an opponent to reach the hill in any of her matches. 2nd place finisher, Wendy Luft of Central Oregon Bend BCA, gave her a good run for the money, but this Mike proved to be too tough to beat and will get free entry to the BCAPL National 8-Ball Championships in May for her extraordinary effort. Both women are joined by Michelle Nelson of Western Washington League and Julie Baker of Player Club League GP as new Women’s Master Players in Western BCA. Mike #3.
The Men’s Seniors Division feature some of the most seasoned and skilled shooters in Western BCA. Joe Chun, of Players Club LTD grabbed the title and Steve Baumann of Mid Valley League took 2nd place.
Nearly all of the women in the Women’s Master Division knew Martha Hartsell and were touched by the candle lit in her honor. Andrea Saenz-Maes and Cindy Sliva played the final set with the candle on their score table. Cindy, coming up from the B-side of the brackets, won the first race to 8. But Andrea, drawing inspiration from the burning candle, Kimberly Kirk, Cindy Doty (players she had looked up to and who were watching the match) and Rocke Bell, dug deep and won the second set. This is the second Women’s Masters 9-Ball title for Andrea in the past 5 years, which has elevated her to the status of Grand Master. In a touching moment, Andrea blew out the candle for her dear friend Martha and then handed it to Martha’s brother to take home to Martha’s family. It was a heartfelt remembrance of one the greatest female pool players the game has ever seen. Andrea said she is thankful for all the support she gets from her husband, Larry and from Clark Smith, owner of Malarkeys in Seattle, who was one of her first teachers and who also made her cue. Andrea says, “Pool is in my blood I guess, my Dad introduced me to the game and my grandmother was a top straight pool player in Southern California back in the 60’s and 70’s. I love this game!”
In the Men’s Master singles, fans did not have to wait long for the big boys to go head to head as Glenn Atwell and Dan Louie drew each other in the first round. Glenn got off to a good start and defeated Dan 8-4. Dan was not discouraged by his draw or his early loss. Dan rattled off 10 straight wins over the toughest players the Northwest has to offer to earn a second chance at Glenn in the finals. Dan continued his strong play, but came up on the short end of an 8-3 score. By making an incredible bank combo to win the final game, Glenn added a 4th Men’s Masters 9-Ball plaque to his impressive collection with the win and tightened his hold on the claim of being the Northwest’s strongest player.
By the end of the Men’s/Mixed Team Division, every team had suffered the taste of defeat except one, “A Little Loaded”, made up of teammates Mike Stevens, Mike Jensen, and Frank Kincl, all of the NPL. After play concluded on the B-side, their opponents for the final would be the “East-Side Boys”, Dave Schneider, Scott Brasher, and Sam Maul. Both teams played very well in a seesaw match, but in the end it was “A Little Loaded” remaining undefeated and taking the title and $3000. Mike #4.
By Sunday evening, all that remained to be decided was the Women’s Team division. The final match pitted the hot seat winners, NPL’s “Deadly Dames,” Josie LeRoy, Eva Hill, and Vanessa Rabito against the winners of the B-side of the bracket, LTD’s “Tits O Fury”, made up of teammates Kimberly Kirk, Suwanna Kroll, and Alisha Rogers. It looked like “Deadly Dames” were going to end this match in one set as they reached the hill at 13-10. But “Tits O Fury” never gave up and battled to a 13-13 tie. Kimberly Kirk banked in a tough 9 ball to give her team the 14-13 win and force a second set. In the second set, both teams fought through pressure and fatigue, but in the end it was “Tits O Fury” who closed out the tournament with the 14-10 win and the check for $1725.
As the team events wound down, there were four 2nd chance tournaments played. The “Unforgiven 3” (Craig Smith, Adam Cooper, Justin McCrory and Jose Aquino, NPL) won the Team 2nd Chance. In Singles 2nd Chance play, Emerald Valley’s Angie Kalamas won the Women’s Open, Steve Johnson, South Lincoln County, won the Men’s Open-B, and Tioga’s Jon Chase won the Men’s Open-A.
The Western BCA Public Relations Department would like to recognize all the creative team names. We picked our favorite team name “Escalator Repair Men!” (For those of you who are new to the Regional Tournament at Chinook Winds, the escalator at the casino has been broken for a few years and was just replaced this fall) Among the many clever runners-up were the “Caromatics,” “Cue Tees,” “Two Balls Short” (2 men and a woman), “Cue Loves You Baby,” “Men of the Cloth,” “Spin Doctor,” and “Spot on.”
Western BCA wishes to express their deepest gratitude to our numerous local Lincoln City sponsors, Horizon Rentals, The Ashley Inn, Motel 6, Lincoln City Inn, Captain Cook Inn, Inn at Wecoma, Maxwell’s Restaurant, Mulligan’s Bar and Grill, Mo’s Restaurant, and Galucci Pizza. All of these sponsors not only pay for advertising that helps support the pool players, but they have all donated to our Giveaway Prizes. Every player entered goes into a random drawing for a wide variety of prizes from cue chalkers to free hotel stays. Winners of the Grand and Top Prizes:
Western BCA would also like to thank all of our other sponsors, including Diamond Pool Tables, Billiards 911, Doc’s Tavern in Ocean Park, WA, Soundview Bar and Grill in Everett, WA, The Hangout Sports Bar in Gresham, OR, Cascade Pool League in the Portland area and Players Club LTD in the Greater Seattle area. All of the revenue from advertisers and sponsors directly supports this event for the players.
The volunteers of Western BCA, whose tireless work makes this tournament happen, are committed to providing the best Regional Championship event of its kind for the pool players in Western BCA. People like Darcy Williams, Joyce Gumm, Sassy Campbell, Bill Henderson, Cathy and Nate Dunford, Kathi Giles, Rebecca Easley, John and Jenifer Lewis, Alex and Dayle Stroup, Julie Fraser, Robbin Iredale, Andrew Monstis, Steve Marker, Asker Akmed, Pam Desmarais and many, many others took time out of their personal lives to orchestrate this event, keep the podium running smoothly, answer questions from the players, make sure that everyone got their payouts promptly, handle publicity and advertisers, organize the live-streaming feed on the website and so much more. These people care deeply for the sport of pool, the pool players and Western BCA Pool Players Association, and without them, there wouldn’t be a Western BCA Regional Championship Tournament for the thousand or so pool players who attend. So THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS!!!
Mark Griffin, C.E.O. of CSI/BCAPL, Western BCA’s national affiliate, visited the event for the first time, and commented to Western BCA President Darcy Williams, “You have a nice event here—you are proud and rightfully so.” In addition to adding money to this event, BCAPL awards free entry into Nationals in Las Vegas for the winners of the Men’s Open-A and Women’s Open! The team from Bad Boys Billiard Productions once again brought in 80 Diamond Tables and made sure the brackets ran smoothly. Chinook Winds Casino Resort has been the most gracious host for this event for over 10 years and has always been very generous in adding money to the winnings. The film crew, Adrianne Beach and Annie Bounds, of the NWPA did an exceptional job of keeping up with the schedule of finals and making sure they were live-streamed for the viewers at home. Everyone worked together to make this event one of the best ever!
As the sun set on the final day of these Championships, 6 individuals, 2 pairs of scotch partners, and 6 team members each donned the coveted crown of Western BCA Regional Champion. Many players cashed checks and some players were advanced to the level of Master. Whether your name was Mike or not, whether you knew Martha or not, or whether you won money or not, one thing is for sure, if you were at the 13th Annual Western BCA Regional 9-Ball Championship Tournament, you will surely remember it! If you are not a part of Western BCA and you feel you are up for the challenge, click on the “Leagues” link to find a league near you and join the many players who rise to the challenge that Western BCA Regional Events present. Watch for the Casino Tour, bringing large-scale casino tournaments closer to the players in the region. Next stop: Little Creek Casino in Shelton, WA, Jan 26-30. 2011.