Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington played host to the Western BCA’s kick-off to the Casino Tour on February 5-8, 2009 with nearly 300 players competing in an Open-8 Ball Tournament. Bad Boys Billiard Productions headed by Ric Jones brought in 40 beautiful Diamond 7ft Smart Tables and Ric, along with his staff, did a great job of making sure everything was ready to go on Thursday morning when the Singles events were scheduled to get underway.
Due to time constraints and the number of tables available to play on, this event had to limit the number of players in each division. Men’s Master division was capped at 32 players, but the talent was still very high. The action got underway at 8:00 pm on Thursday night, and the first round saw great shooting right away.
Eddie Mataya sent one of the pre-tournament favorites, Dan Louie, to the B side in their first round match. Eddie did not relish in his victory over Dan very long as he continued through the field with wins over Cedric Sloan, John Plunkett, Todd Marsh and finally JD Doherty to claim the hot seat and his spot in the finals. On Friday play continued and that evening saw one of the greatest exhibitions of 8-Ball the Northwest has ever seen.
Dan Louie, undaunted by his first round loss to Mataya, showed everyone why he is considered one of the greatest players from this part of the country. He ended his match with Sam "Cocomo" Whitfield with four table runs, two off his break and two by dry breaks from his opponent. His next opponent was another top Northwest player, Todd Marsh. Dan won the flip in this alternate break, race to 7, format and continued his domination with a break and run in the first game. Marsh broke dry, and Louie ran out once again. This was a pattern that would continue through the entire match. Todd broke dry 3 times and Dan Louie ran out the set! Seven racks in a row! Added to the four he finished his previous match with, these brought his total to 11 straight racks ending with a run-out.
Dan’s next opponent in the B side final would be fellow grand master JD Doherty who was exhibiting some very fine play of his own. Dan once again won the flip and began the match with a break and run. JD broke, made a ball! But another ball kissed the cue ball in giving Dan ball in hand and leading to yet another table run. Dan followed that with another break and run, a run off of a dry break by JD and another break and run to bring his total to 16 straight racks of run out 8-ball. JD then stepped up with a break and run of his own and commented there would be no skunk in this match! But Dan broke the balls in the next rack and ran them out to reach the hill, and when JD could not execute a difficult run out, finished off the match 7-1.
Dan Louie had just run 16 racks in a row; and 17 out of 18 to reach the finals and a rematch with Eddie Mataya, who had been checking periodically as Dan was putting on his exhibition. Eddie just shook his head, knowing he would have his hands full if he was to be the tournament winner. The finals got underway about 11:30 pm Friday evening and the magic that Dan had exhibited all evening seemed to desert him. A couple of surprising misses that Eddie quickly took advantage of and the match was over 7-3. Eddie Mataya was crowned Master’s Champion and received the $800 that went along with that title.
Earlier in the evening, the Men’s Open winner was crowned. Play began on Thursday morning with 128 players dreaming of making it to the finals on Friday night. Only two men would make that dream a reality. Tony Chritton found his way to the finals a smooth journey, as he plowed through the field undefeated. Tony scored wins over Henry Dawson, Dave Sharman, Rick Tillett, John Fleck, Bill James, Scott Brasher, and Lyle Redthunder. His eventual opponent would be someone looking for revenge. That guy was Bill James. Bill began his tournament with wins over Shon Conn, Matt Person, Dave Shortt, and Robert Cummings before taking his first loss to Chritton. Bill then went to the B side and continued his path to a rematch with Chritton by defeating Dave Shortt again, Bret Baker, Scott Brasher, George Stefurak, and Lyle Redthunder. This being a true double elimination format meant that Bill would have to defeat Tony twice to win the tournament. The first set saw Bill play with determination as he defeated Tony 5-1 to force the second and deciding set. On this night Bill James would not be denied, as he won the second set by an even more convincing 5-0 score.
On the women’s side, only the Women’s Open garnered enough entries to have a bracket. Twenty women with cues in hand battled for the Women’s Open title and the $350 first prize. Suwanna Kroll made her way to the finals with wins over Heidi Hoffman, Arlene Delacruz, Evelyn Thornburg, Patty Conn, and Pam Carraway. Pam then had to go to the one loss side of the bracket to play Becky Rowell to try and earn a rematch with Kroll. In this tournament there would be no rematch in the finals as Becky Rowell defeated Pam Carraway leaving her to settle for a third place finish.
The Women’s final started about 11:30 pm and Becky knew she would need to be ready for the long haul as she had to defeat Suwanna twice if she was to be the women’s champion. The first set was a back and forth battle with neither player able to put much distance between them and their opponent. In the end, Becky took the first set 5-3 and forced a second and deciding set. The second set was also very close as both of these women are tough competitors and neither has any quit in them. Finally, just before 4:00 am Suwanna defeated Becky in a thrilling hill-hill match.
Also winding up on Friday evening was a second chance tournament for anyone who did not make the money in the Men’s Open. This tournament was limited to the first 32 players and was a race to 3, double elimination. The finals would pit Henry Dawson, sitting on the hot seat undefeated, against Jason Crapo who had to come from the one loss side. It was decided the finals would be a race to 5 and Jason would have to defeat Henry twice to win the tournament. Jason came out firing and won the first set 5-1 to force the second and deciding set. But in the second set, Henry Dawson came back with some fine shooting of his own and took the title with a 5-2 score.
Friday morning saw the room filled with players as the team events got underway. Teams consisted of 3 players, of which one could be a master level player. Races were to 11, double elimination. The women’s division consisted of 11 teams. A.D.S., consisting of Andrea Saenz-Maes, Debbie Leland and Susan Gray found their team in the finals as they started with a bye, then stormed through the field with wins over 3 Amigas, NPL Chix and That’s How We Roll. Their opponent for the finals would be NPL Chix, consisting of team members Cindy Doty, Nikki Bisconer, and Shirley Morgan. NPL Chix defeated Hannah’s #3 and Hannah’s #1 before losing to ADS. They then went to the left side of the bracket and eliminated the Pinetree Girls, Janet’s Team and That’s How We Roll to earn a rematch with ADS. ADS made sure there would be no revenge or drama that was seen in other divisions as they took care of business winning the first set and taking the title.
The Men’s/Mixed teams also got underway on Friday morning with a full field of 64 teams ready to do battle. Soundview Bar Grill consisting of players Ed Slade, Jim Conway and Loy Long played very sound 8-ball and went through the field unscathed to reach the hot seat. This was not a big surprise as these guys have done very well in every team event they have played in over the past year. Coming from the B-side of the bracket would be the Bro’s, consisting of Eddie Mataya, Bobby Campbell, and Tommy Silva. Eddie was looking to sweep the events in which he played, as he had earlier won the Masters Singles division. It was not in the cards though for Eddie and the Bro’s, as they were defeated by Soundview and had to settle for second place in this event.
A big thank you goes out to the Little Creek Casino Resort for hosting the first in the Western BCA Casino Tour, and for adding money to the prize fund. Also, thanks to Ric and Bonnie Jones and their fine staff for setting everything up, running a top notch event and sticking around after all the players had headed home to tear everything down, pack it up and head to the next event. And finally, many thanks to the staff of the Western BCA who continue to work hard to build the organization and offer more and bigger events for us players to compete in. Stay tuned as more regional events like this one are being planned and there may be one coming to your part of the region as part of the Western BCA Casino Tour. Western BCA President, Bill Henderson was quoted as saying, "events like this allow a lot of players to compete in a regional event who cannot make to the Western BCA Championships held in Lincoln City each March and October."