Dedication to the Sport
In March 2008, the last billiard room within fifty miles of Blairsville, Georgia went out of business. KT Billiards, located in Hayesville, just across the border from Blairsville in North Carolina, had been running weekly tournaments for years. The 20-odd players who had supported and competed in those tournaments suddenly found themselves with no place to play.
Toby Perry, a retiree from Florida who had recently moved to Blairsville, decided to do something about the situation. He contacted as many local players as he could locate and ran ads in a regional weekly newspaper soliciting players for a league that would compete in the members’ homes. By late summer, he had commitments from seven other dedicated players.
Having been a member of BCA, ACS, and APA leagues in Florida, Toby recognized the benefit of playing in sanctioned competition and set about trying to become an official league operator. After pleading his case to John Lewis, Executive Director of the American CueSports Alliance, he was able to have ACS’s 30-player minimum league size rule waived for his league, and the NC-GA Mountain Masters league was born.
The primary criterion for entry into the league is that one member of each team must have an 8-ft or a
9-ft pool table in his home available for league play. The first league session started in September 2008 with four teams of two players each, making it the smallest sanctioned league in the nation. The format is a combination of 9-ball and 8-ball, similar to the APA Masters, except the matches are a race to five. One scotch doubles and four singles matches are contested each league night.
The second session kicked off in November with the league having expanded to six teams. In January they sent seven players to the ACS Southeast Region 8-Ball Singles Championship held in Jonesboro, Georgia. They made their presence known when the “mountain men” finished 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 9th through 12th.
By the third session, the league had doubled in size, but, at sixteen players, it was still the smallest sanctioned league in the nation. In March they sent three 3-man teams to compete in the ACS Southeast Regional 8-Ball Team Championships held in Roswell, Georgia. Their teams finished 3rd, 5th and 6th, solidifying their reputation as a league to be reckoned with.
During the tournament weekend, at a Board of Directors meeting conducted by John Lewis, Toby Perry was elected President of the Georgia ACS League Association. In addition to being responsible for their leagues in Georgia, the organization also provides administrative assistance to ACS leagues competing in the adjoining states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, which do not currently have formal state associations.
Since taking office, Toby, working with his Board of Directors and local contacts, has been able to launch an Internet web site and conduct popular, well-attended regional tournaments in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Savannah, Georgia. ACS Georgia has plans to host at least four tournaments in the ACS Southeast Region over the next twelve months. Be sure to check out their new web site at HYPERLINK “http://www.ACSGEORGIA.com” www.ACSGEORGIA.com and see first hand what can be accomplished with a little hard work, a high degree of commitment, and of course, a whole lot of dedication to the sport.