Dwaine Bowman’s Leisure Time Billiards & Sports Bar in East Moline, IL hosted its 2n.d Annual Bar Box Classic over the past several days. Featuring three divisions – Eight Ball, One Pocket and Ten Ball – a total of $16,000 was added by local sponsors. They included Jacoby Cues, Behnke Trailers, Bull Carbon, Diveney Cues, Andy Billiard Cloth, Comfort Inn, PoolActionTV.com and Anytime Billiards of Clive, IA.
Plenty of recognizable faces and names roamed the building! They included BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan, current International Open One Pocket champ Roberto Gomez, current US Open 10 Ball champ Fedor Gorst, current Big Tyme Classic One Pocket champ Robert Frost, current Midwest Billiards Nine Ball champ Kristina Tkach, Wisconsin Billiards Hall of Famers Jeff Carter and Gene Albrecht and former speed pool champ Bobby McGrath. Jesse Bowman, Warren Kiamco, Brian Groce, Ricky Evans, Chris Lawson, Houston Rodriguez, Whitey Walker, Benny Conway Jr as well as young guns Joey Tate and Kash Keaton were among the other players.
The $4,000 added Eight Ball division began on Wednesday evening with a players auction followed by players meeting and the draw. Forty-eight players paid a $300 entry – the format was double elimination, winner breaks and races to nine.
Last year’s third place finisher, Jesse Bowman, shot straight out of the chute after drawing a bye and sent Benny Conway Jr, Gordy Vanderveer, Fedor Gorst and Alex Pagulayan to the one loss side before arriving at the hot seat match.
Brian Groce also went undefeated in his march to the hot seat. After drawing a first round bye, his victims included Will Thomsen, Gene Albrecht and Blake Baker before he went to the wire with Corey Deuel. After surviving that match, Brian beat Jesse Bowman and locked up his berth in the finals. Jesse headed west to await an opponent.
Roberto Gomez won his first two matches over Tony Ehlers and Chris Lawson before being felled by compadre Alex Pagulayan. Once on the one loss side, he defeated Marty Heldenbrand, Ray Skendore, Blake Baker, Brandon Heldenbrand and exacted his revenge on Alex 9-8. He then defeated Gene Albrecht to finally play Jesse Bowman for the remaining spot in the finals.
It was a battle but Roberto eked out a win – 9-8. Jesse, again, finished in third place.
As this was true double elimination, Gomez had to defeat Groce twice to claim the title. In dead punch after winning seven matches in a row to arrive at the finals, Roberto won the first set 9-6 and then the second 9-3. Congratulations, Roberto for a hard fought win! Good tournament, Brian!
The $2,000 added One Pocket Division began on Thursday evening after the players auction, meeting & draw. Played on nine footers, twelve players paid a $500 entry fee into this single elimination, race to four, winner break event.
With his one pocket game on the improve, Fedor Gorst arrived at the finals after defeating Randy Jordan, Robert Frost and Alex Pagulayan. His opponent, Jesse Bowman drew a first round bye and then beat Roberto Gomez and Corey Deuel. Due to time constraints, Jesse and Fedor decided to split the purse. Congratulations to both players!
The $10,000 added Ten Ball Division began on Friday night. Ninety six players paid a $150 entry fee into this double elimination event. Racing to nine with alternate breaks, there were no jump cues allowed. This old schooler really enjoyed watching the safety battles!
Following the players’ auction, meeting and draw, the matches began.
Houston Rodriguez began his journey to the final four on the winner’s side with victories over Bob Smith, Donny Thompson, Ricky Evans, Alex Pagulayan and Gene Albrecht.
Roberto Gomez caught a bye and then worked his way past Jeff Berger, David Kelly, Warren Kiamco and Benny Conway Jr. He then defeated Rodriguez and advanced to the hot seat match.
In the lower portion of the bracket, Robert Frost defeated Kash Keaton, Greg Pitts, Tom Tan, Bobby McGrath and Mike Banks Jr to arrive in the final four.
Home court hero Jesse Bowman also drew a first round bye and then sent Joey Dyer, Adam Thomas, Ryan Ponton and Jimmy Nosavan west before he was defeated by Frost who moved into the other spot in the hot seat match.
Frost was then defeated by Gomez 9-6 and was sent to the one loss side while Gomez cooled his heels awaiting an opponent for the final match.
After losing his third round match to Ryan Ponton, Fedor Gorst clawed his way past Josh Ray, Kristina Tkach, Warren Kiamco, Kash Keaton, Mike Banks Jr, Randy Jordan, Houston Rodriguez and Jesse Bowman before encountering Robert Frost.
Fighting for the remaining seat in the finals, the match was neck and neck until Robert pulled away at the end. Final score 9-6. Fedor finished in third place.
Moving into the finals, Frost had to defeat Gomez twice to claim the title. An early miss by Frost resulted in Gomez claiming an early four game lead – score 5-1. They traded games with Robert closing the gap – now 6-4. Roberto dug in and reached the hill – 8-5. He made a ball on the break and ran out for the win!
Congratulations to Roberto for not only snapping off this one but also the Eight Ball! Good tournament, Robert!
PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Dwaine Bowman and his fantastic staff for taking such good care of all the players and fans. We’d also like to thank Tournament Director Eric Gardner for doing a great job.
We’d like to thank Larry Schwartz, Corey Deuel, Alex Pagulayan, Mary Kenniston, Jerry Johnson and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary.
And, last but not least, we’d like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Diveney Cues, Aramith, Hanshew Jump Cues, EnviroAssessments, Lomax Custom Cues, Simonis, Durbin Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and CR’s Sports Bar of Minneapolis, MN.
Our next stop is Big Dog Billiards in Des Moines, IA for the 7th Annual $18,000 added Midwest Billiards & Cue Expo. The dates are July 13th– 17th – hope to see you there!
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