3.23.2002...From March 14-17, pool fans and players alike descended on Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for Allen Hopkins Super Billiards Expo 2002, for billiards what most would say is the greatest show on earth. Among over 8,000 pool fans that came were over 2,000 player participants in the shows events, and over 6,000 spectators. As well as players and spectators, there were over 100 vendors occupying 126 booths. For pool fans, it was a virtual pool school for the buyer, the player, and the spectator. If it could be had, it was there. For those that were looking to gain knowledge, Valley Forge was the place to be. Having been present at the last 6 shows, I have never seen it so busy.
The show occupies over 100,000 square feet, and at times there was standing room only. The few times I got away from my booth, I had to almost push my way through the crowd. For me, the show began on Wednesday morning, as I was trying to complete the cues for the show. I got only three hours of sleep from Wednesday until Friday morning, as I stopped and slept for an hour on the side of the road on my way to the show. When I got to the show at 3 pm on Friday, my wife Kathy, Drew Mutschler, and Matt Davidaux were busy running the booth and doing repairs like there was no tomorrow. Within 10 minutes of my arrival, all 14 cues were sold out, and I was doing repairs. I then worked round the clock until Sunday morning at 5AM on 4 hours of sleep since Wednesday. One thing is for sure, people come to this show to get their cues repaired.
This year the expo had more players and tournaments than ever before. There were a record 11 tournaments to be played in this year. Among them were the;
Men’s Professional 8-ball Players Championships-50 players
WPBA Cuetec Cues Players Championships-64 players
Mens’ 9-ball Open Amateur Players Championships-880 players
Women’s 9-ball Open Amateur Players Championships-128 players
Amateur Junior Players Championships 18 & under-
Amateur Junio Players Championships 14 & under-
Senior’s 9-ball Players Championships-160 players
Association for P.O.O.L. leagues “Rally in the Valley”-over 700 player
Dream Team event-75 teams
Singles 5-6-7 handicap
Singles 2-3-4 handicap
There was the Men’s 8-ball Professional Players Championship that had 50 players with Troy Frank in a thrilling win over the current World 9-ball Champion Mika Immonen. The event was supposed to have 64 players with a total prize fund of $19,200, including $5,800 added by Allen Hopkins. Since only 50 players showed up for the event, Allen Hopkins added the difference of $3,600 more to bring the event back to it’s original payout, for a total of over $10,000 added to the event. Talk about dedication to the sport!
The WPBA Cuetec Cues Professional Players Championship had Allison Fisher defeating current women’s sensation Karen Corr in the Finals. In the Men’s Open Amateur Players Championships it was Norman Wines defeating John Brumback against a field of 880 players! WOW! In the Womens’ Open Amateur Players Championships it was Rachel Abbink in a triumph over Irene Moser in the finals, and against a field of 128 women! The 18 & under division of the Junior Players Championships was historical as Josh Brothers defeated Nathan Kerr for the fourth time in as many years. We will be seeing a lot of young Josh Brothers from Newark, Delaware in the future. He is a great player and I wish him the best. The 14 & under division of the Junior Players Championships saw Mike Dechane defeat Telly Kikrils in the finals. And this year the new Senior Players Championships witnessed Rich Sluzalis defeating Ed Kleiss against a field of 160 Senior players for the Championship trophy. In its first year!!! WOW!
Next come the events from The Association for P.O.O.L. The Dream Team event saw The Perfect Storm from N.C. defeat Bust Out Three from Ohio from a field of 75 teams. The singles 5-6-7 handicap was won by Dan Hagens of PA defeating runner up Rick Barrett of Massachusetts. The 2-3-4 handicap was won by Bill Bienecki of PA defeating Ken Morano of Washington State, and finally the Ladie’s singles was won byAndrea Hess of Ohio over Sandra Nez of Oregon.
After the show was over, there was a huge party for the staff and anyone else that managed to slip in (me included) upstairs next to the bar, where there was a band, pool tables and drinks. The band was awesome. It featured people that participated in some form or another in the event;
Dawn Hopkins of Allen Hopkins Productions -guitar and lead singer
Jerry McWorter of McWorter Cues -drums and lead singer
Hideo O’hara of UK Corporation (dealer of fine custom cues)-bass guitar
Carmine Sardo of Sardo tight rack-lead guitar
Mike Massey-guitar and lead singer
Line Kjoersvik-guitar and lead singer
Bob Meucci of Meucci Cues-lead singer(Elvis Presley)
The band was truly incredible, and the evening was a blast!!! They brought out the love and friendship that is the essence of our great industry. I hope to see them again next year!
In an interview with Allen Hopkins, he stated that next year the Men’s Pro Players Championships at the Super Billiards Expo event will be 9-ball, 64 players, $400- entry, with a $40,000 prize fund, including $14,000 added by Allen Hopkins Productions. Allen & Dawn would also like everyone out there to know that the next Allen Hopkins Productions event is slated for August 16-24 in conjunction with the APA league championships, at the Riveria Hotel nad Casino in Las Vegas, NV. The tournament, the Las Vegas Invitational, with a number of the players invited, will also be open for the remainder of participants. The format will be the best three out of five sets, race to five, alternate break 9-ball. If you win your first match you will get $700- back. WOW! The entry fee will be $500-, totals prize fund $50,000, including 18,000 added. Stay tuned, as I am sure that we will be seeing more from Allen Hopkins Productions in the future. Keep up the excellent work Allen & Dawn! Lastly, here is what Allen has to say about the show, “I would like to thank all the players, spectators, and vendors for making the expo the greatest show on earth!” Join Allen Hopkins Productions and all of us at the Super Billiards Expo 2003 from March 21-23 at the same great place.
Below are the results of the tournaments that took place at the Super Billiards Expo, the Greatest Show on Earth!
Men’s Professional 8-ball Professional Players Championships-50 players
3rd & 4th=$2,000=Earl Strickland, Max Eberle
WPBA Cuetec Cues Professional Players Championships-64 players
1st Allison Fisher=$
2nd Karen Corr=$
3rd Helena Thornfeldt=$
4th Gerda Hofstatter=$
Men’s Open Amateur Players Championships-880 players
3rd & 4th=$1,500=Scott Freeman, Brian Lee
5th-8th=$1,000=Juan Garcia, Jason Kirkwood, Scott Richardson, George Kieselat
9th-16th=$800=Brandon Sluzalis, Bruce Pfender, Jeff Bartdo, Reggie Cutler, David Grau, Steve Dennis, Joe Antler, Tony Rubert Jr.
Women’s Open Amatuer Players Championships-128 players
3rd & 4th=$400=Jamie Sanders, Juliet Houtz
5th-8th=$200=Charlotte Reeder, MaryAnne Cowach, Mary Collins, Gina Kim-Lipsky
Junior Players Championships 18 & under
3rd & 4th= Chuck Fought II , Billy Fusco
Junior Players Championships 14 & under
2nd= Telly Kikrils
3rd & 4th=Xavier Willis, Josh Marlowe
Senior Players Championships-160 players
3rd & 4th=Larry Szwaczkowski, Don Gibson
Association for P.O.O.L. league tournaments
Dream Team Event-75 teams-$21,400 purse
1st=$8,000=Perfect Storm, North Carolina
2nd=$3,000=Bust Out Three, Ohio
3rd=$1,200=All or Nothing, Virginia
singles 5-6-7 handicap-116 players-$8,050 purse
1st=$2,600=Dan Hagens, Pennsylvania
2nd=$1,290=Rick Barrett, Massachusetts
3rd=$500=Joe Ivock, Pennsylvania
4th=$500=Ken Ludy, Massachusetts
singles 2-3-4 handicap-$4,500 purse
1st=$2,070=Bill Bienecki, Pennsylvania
2nd=$1,100=Ken Morano, Washington State
3rd=$350=Tony Wilson, North Carolina
4th=$350=Joe Guimento, Pennsyalvania
Ladies singles-$1,680 purse
1st=$320=Andrea Hess, Ohio
2nd=$150=Sandra Nez, Oregon
3rd=$125=Michelle Jefferson, North Carolina
4th=$125=Stacy Macguire, Virginia