BCA Hall of Fame Banquet Ticket Deadline

Chicago — The ticket deadline for the 2013 Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame Banquet, which will honor women’s champion Jeanette Lee and Matchroom Sport president Barry Hearn, is rapidly approaching! The United States Billiard Media Association, which produces the annual banquet with the BCA, announced that the deadline to purchase tickets is Tuesday, Nov. 26. Tickets WILL NOT be sold at the door.

This year’s Hall of Fame Banquet, staged during the 2013 Mosconi Cup, will be held at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Monday, Dec. 2 at 6:30. Action on the first day of the Mosconi Cup will be completed by 4:00 pm, ensuring that all the players from Team USA and Team Europe will be in attendance as Hearn, creator of the wildly popular USA v Europe team 9-ball tournament, is inducted into pool’s most exclusive club.

The evening will begin with the Bass Pro Shops Cocktail Reception at 6:30 pm. Bass Pro Shops is a major sponsor of Ms. Lee.

Tickets for the 2013 BCA Hall of Fame Banquet are $95 per person, and can be purchased at www.USBMA.com, or by calling 312-341-1110 ext 229.

The 2013 Hall of Fame Banquet is sponsored by: Bass Pro Shops; American Poolplayers Association; Aramith, Billiard Congress of America, Championship, CueSports International; Diamond Billiard Products; Imperial Int’l; PartyPoker.com; Predator Products; Simonis; Tour Edition Cloth; and Tweeten Fibre.

Black Widow & Barry Hearn BCA HOF Bound

Jeanette Lee

Jeanette Lee

Broomfield, Colo., August 21, 2013 — The Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame is honored to welcome two of pool’s most media-savvy personalities in 2013. The United States Billiard Media Association today announced that women’s champion Jeanette “The Black Widow” Lee and British promoter Barry Hearn have earned induction into the sport’s hall of fame by becoming the 61st and 62nd members.

Lee, 41, will enter the Greatest Players wing of the BCA Hall of Fame, while Hearn, 65, will be honored for Meritorious Service. Both will be formally inducted during ceremonies on December 2, 2013, at the Mirage Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas.

In the closest Hall of Fame voting ever, Lee edged Finnish star Mika Immonen in a special runoff election. The two champions were tied after the initial ballots were submitted. In the runoff, Lee and Immonen went head to head, where Lee surpassed her male contemporary by just two votes.

BCA Hopes to Rev the Industy’s Engines with New Executive Director

In a move that Billiard Congress of America directors hope will put the association’s desire to become more of a marketing arm for the industry on a fast track, the BCA announced the selection of veteran motorsports executive Rob Johnson as its new executive director.

Johnson, whose most recent duties as executive vice president/general manager of Sutton International Motorsports included the staging and marketing of the Grand Prix of Denver, was unanimously confirmed by the BCA board of directors at its meeting in Baltimore, Aug. 13. At Sutton, Johnson managed sales, marketing and public relations initiatives for NASCAR, Baja and Champ Car projects. In 2002, Johnson formed Professional Sports Management, a company that managed and operated the Pikes Peak International Raceway, a 1,200-acre, 42,000-seat motorsports complex that hosted major events, including NASCAR and Indy Racing League.

“We’re very fortunate to have found someone of Mr. Johnson’s caliber,” said BCA President Gregg Hovey, of Olhausen Billiards. “He has experience taking major projects from inception to the finish line. He’s gotten major races off the ground, and has put butts in the seats.”

The move follows the retirement of Steve Ducoff, who led the BCA office for nearly six years, and coincides with the association’s revised long-term vision. “We’re looking for someone to develop ideas to get pool into the forefront of consumers’ minds,” said Hovey. “We think this will also get our membership excited, and will even help grow our membership.”

Johnson, who graduated from the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, currently resides in the Denver area. With the lease on the BCA’s current Colorado Springs offices set to expire in April 2007, Hovey did not discount the notion that the association’s offices might relocate to Denver. “We’ll wait for Rob’s proposal once he’s had a chance to work in the office and evaluate the staff and the association’s needs,” Hovey said.

Lovely Day for First-time Junior Nationals Winner

The 2006 Billiard Congress of America Junior Nationals would’ve been a re-run of last year if it weren’t for the debut of Elizabeth Lovely, who dethroned the defending champion in her division to join the three other defending champions in the winners’ circle.

The 9-ball event brought 94 of the nation’s brightest young pool players to Tucson, Ariz., where they competed in divisions of 14 and under and 19 and under.

In the 14 and Under Girls division, Lovely of Centerville, Ohio faced defending champion Chelsea Hardwick from Evansville, Ind. in the final. Both players felt the pressure to perform and the match was marred by nerves. Lovely took an early 2-0 lead, but Hardwick came back to take the lead at 3-2. That third game would be the last that Hardwick won as Lovely took the next three racks for the 5-3 victory and her first Junior Nationals title.

At age 13, Austin Murphy from Folson, Calif. has accolades well beyond his years including the 2005 Junior Nationals title and a spot on the International Pool Tour. Now he can add two-time winner of the Jr. Nationals, defending his title In the 14 and under Boy’s division. Murphy cruised through the winners’ side to meet Ryan Dunn from Hillsboro, Tenn. in the final. Murphy was cool and confident, controlling the table to the tune of a quick 4-0 lead. It was looking bleak for Dunn until Murphy finally made a mistake in the fifth rack and Dunn capitalized, getting on the scoreboard, 4-1. Murphy continued to commit uncharacteristic errors and Dunn caught up 5-5. He had the chance to sprint ahead and get to the hill first, but Dunn missed a 2-9 combo with the crowd on the edge of its seat. Murphy came back and ran the table to make the score 6-5. Dunn had another opportunity to reach the hill in rack 12, running his way through some difficult shots but a miss on the 6 marked his end as Murphy ran the last three balls to defend his 14 & Under Boys Title.

While both 14 & Under Division Matches were close until the end, the 19 & Under Division Matches were very one sided. The 19 and Under Girls division saw defending champion Anna Kostanian from Albuquerque, N.M. take on 2004 Champion Mary Rakin from Daly City, Calif. The competition looked even at first, with the score tied at 1-1, but Kostanian commanded the table and pounced on every miss from Rakin on her way to a 6-1 lead in the race-to-7 match. Rakin saw a short reprieve in the eighth rack as Kostanian missed the case 9-ball, but the match end after a Konstanian won a short safety battle and ran out for the 7-2 win.

In his 18 years, Justin Bergman of Fairview, Ill. has become a force to be reckoned with by players of any age. As defending champion of the Boys 19 and Under division, it didn’t look like he was going to allow Chad Palmer of Battle Creek, Mich., to come even one game closer to his title in the final. Bergman’s game was near flawless as he cruised to an 8-0 lead and kept Palmer grounded in his chair for the majority of the match. Palmer put together a nice runout in game 9 after a Bergman miss but a foul on the one ball in game 10 would be his end as Bergman confidently ran out the final rack for the 9-1 win.

BCA Junior Nationals Brings 97 Players to Arizona

The 2006 BCA Junior Nationals got under way on July 5 at the University of Arizona student union with a total of 97 hopefuls in four divisions.

The 18 & Under Boys Division has wooed back last year’s winner, 18-year-old Justin Bergman, who also won in 2003. In his last year of eligibility, he hopes to take home his third title with a repeat performance. Last year’s third-place finisher, Kevin Peterson, is anxious to decorate his trophy stand, however. He and Bergman will face off today, July 6.

There is also an impeachment campaign for the returning champion in the 14 & Under Boys Division. International Pool Tour player Austin Murphy, 13, is back and so is last year’s runner up Landon Shuffett. Shuffett dropped a match on Wednesday, but Murphy has dominated all of his matches so far in the event.

The 18 & Under Girls Division has a field of six players. Anna Kostanian won in 2005, after two years of runner-up finishes. She looked to be en route to a second straight title on the first day of play, going undefeated. The 2004 champion, Mary Rakin will serve as the last line of defense in their hot-seat match today.

The 14 & Under Girls Division also has a returning champion as Chelsea Hardwick looks for another title win in her division.

BCA Pool League Bolsters Fierce Eight-Ball Competition

The Riviera Hotel and Casino in fabulous Las Vegas, Nev., was filled with 227 bright blue, brand new Diamond tables and some 7,000 amateurs ranging in skill from recreational to Grand Master, and coming from as far as Tonga to compete in the 30th annual BCA Pool League National 8-Ball Championships, May 12-20.

Teams “Slightly Competitive” and “Strategeary” did Denver, Colo. proud, taking home their division titles. “Slightly Competitive” topped the 17-team field in the Women’s Master division, toppling the California CueTees in the final for the second year in a row. Slightly Competitive consisted of Bonnie Plowman, Julie Schultz, Samm Diep, Katrina Games and Chris Honeman. Team “Strategeary” outlasted all of the 695 five-man teams in the Men’s Open division, made up of Billiard Digest’s own Tom Ross, Scott Tollefson, Bob Winters, Bob Keller, and Chizolm Woodson.

In the most formidable field of the tournament, the Men’s Master Team division saw the Young Guns of St. Louis, Miss. take top honors, after besting the British dream team, Team Manston, made up of Men’s Master Singles winner, Michael Hill, and Men’s Grand Master Singles champion, Darren Appleton. All six members are highly decorated in their homeland game of British “reds and yellows.” The Young Guns have ample trophy cases as well, with four-time Missouri State champion Andy Quinn, Ozark Mountain champion Joe Woolford, two-time NCAA chamption Lars Varderman, Chuck Ralston, and the young gun of Young Guns, 18-year-old Justin Bergman, a former Junior National champion.

The Women’s Open champions, the Las Vegas CueTees, didn’t have to travel far to set forth on their undefeated streak through the 119-team field. Members Norma Deitz, Summer Anderson, Karen Arthur, Pam Fletcher and Sarah Chatterjee credit their team mascots, “Spot” the turtle and “Aces” the river rat, for their win.

In the singles tournaments, Lauren Ward of Los Angeles won the Women’s Open, beating Caroline Pao, who went on to win the Open Scotch Doubles tournament with partner William Rueben. In the Women’s Master Division, Rebecca Wagner, who has recently moved from Chicago to Las Vegas, beat her teammate and Chicago native Amy Latzko, who took first in the Master Scotch Doubles with partner Ike Runnels. In the Women’s Grand Master division, Tammy Jones of Dallas, Tex. defeated a familiar opponent in the final, Pamela Patton of Milwaukee, Wisc.

While friends and Englishmen Hill and Appleton swept the Grand Master and Master divisions for the men, Derek Cumm, a mailman in Buelah, Ariz., delivered in the Men’s Open final against Bergman, winning, 5-1.

In this, the 30th year of the BCA Pool Leage National Championships, over 7,100 players entered, and took home $92,250 more in prize money than the previous year.

Strickland to Be Enshrined in Hall of Fame

Strickland's record was too impressive to deny.

Strickland’s record was too impressive to deny.

At long last, controversial pool superstar Earl Strickland has earned entry into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame, BCA officials announced Tuesday, topping fellow nominees Allen Hopkins and Maurice Daly in the Greatest Player division.

Strickland, 44, appeared on his fifth HOF ballot this year, having been previously nominated in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Strickland has been a dominant player since the 1980s, and in recent years has been known just as much for his mercurial personality as for his skill with a cue. His sometimes-volcanic temper was most recently on view in December at the 2005 Mosconi Cup, where he got into a shouting match with jeering fans in the stands.

Born in 1961, Strickland holds over 100 tournament titles and has been named BD’s “Player of the Year” five times (1984-1985, 1987-1988 and 2000). His rack-running resume includes nine wins at the Akron Open, five at the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, and a staggering six titles at the World 9-Ball Championships.

BD will have reaction from Strickland here on Headstring News later today.

Strickland’s induction ceremony will take place on April 6 at the BCA International Billiard & Home Recreation Expo in Houston, Texas.

BCA 9-Ball Champs Crowned

Thorsten Hohmann and Allison Fisher have taken titles at the Billiard Congress of America’s annual pro event, the BCA Pro Open 9-Ball Championship.

Fisher fought off three-time defending champ Karen Corr in the final, and won, 7-5.

The men’s final match was a shocker. Hohmann kept Johnny Archer in his chair for nearly the whole match, laying down a break-and-run each time he broke in the alternating format. Archer, meanwhile, struggled with the break, sinking nothing once and scratching once. The result was a lopsided 7-0 win by Hohmann.

Both winners collected $15,000. For detailed brackets from both divisions, visit www.wpba.com.

Surprises Galore at BCA 9-Ball Tilt!

The BCA Open 9-Ball Championships, the first of the year’s three “majors” in pool, has yielded some big surprises in the early going in Las Vegas this week. After three days of play, the ranks of the undefeated on the men’s side had narrowed to Johnny Archer, Thorsten Hohmann and the largely unknown Chris Szuter and Filipino Marlon Manalo. Big names like Gabe Owen, Charlie Bryant and Cory Deuel suffered early exits in the competition.

Over on the women’s side, Hall-of-Famer Ewa Laurance was riding a jaw-dropping hot streak that put her in the winners’-bracket semifinal against Karen Corr, while Allison Fisher faced off against the vastly improved Tiffany Nelson. (Laurance’s impressive list of victims included Julie Kelly, Jennifer Barretta and Jennifer Chen.) Even more surprising was the notable absence among those still playing — British sensation Kelly Fisher, who scored her first Classic Tour win in April but went 0-2 at the BCAs.

BCA Announces Hall of Fame Winners

The Billiards Congress of America has elected Mike Massey and Robin Dodson to the Hall of Fame.

Two-time world champion Dodson was elected in the “Greatest Player” category. Trick-shot artist and multiple trick-shot world title holder Massey was elected in the “Meritorious Service” category.

The official induction ceremony will take place at the BCA’s International Billiard & Home Recreation Expo, April 7-9 in Las Vegas.