The Open Division of the Northern Lights Shootout is now in the record books.
Tournament field down
‘Shootout’ organizers go back to one men’s draw due to fewer players
by Matt Mullally, Pierce County Tribune
Organizers with the Northern Lights Shootout were planning to feature two men’s divisions this year for the 11th annual eight-ball tournament in Rugby, but before the first break elected to go back to one division due to a smaller-than-anticipated field.
“We didn’t have as many master-level players that we normally get and we didn’t have as many open-level players as we were hoping to attract,’ said Mark Hamilton, tournament organizers.
So two divisions went back to one, however, a provision was put in place. Whenever a master-level player faced an amateur in a match, the master player had to spot the amateur a one-game lead in the race to six.
All totaled, there were 74 players in the men’s draw which was just three less players than last year, Hamilton pointed out. However, the field didn’t feature as many high-end players.
Hamilton suspects the smaller top prize payout because of the planned two divisions likely kept some from coming to compete.
The plan next year is to go back to an open division and increase the payout.
The women’s draw had just nine players, which was also disappointing. “It’s not just our tournament, but other larger ones are struggling to get a lot of women to play,’ Hamilton said. “For our tournament I don’t know if being this close to Christmas is a factor in keeping some from coming.”
However, of the nine women who did compete there were a few newcomers. One came from as far as Aberdeen, S.D.
This tournament also was shown via webcast by “OTBnTV” – a Montana firm. Over 135,000 Internet hits went to the site to watch the tournament live.
“That was a nice addition and they did a good job of also visiting with our sponsors on their broadcast as well as showing the matches,’ Hamilton said. “We’re hoping to work something out to get them to come back next year.”
The Geographical Center Chamber of Commerce coordinated the tournament and it was run with volunteers. Hamilton said the support of the businesses and organizations is what makes it possible for the community to host this tournament.
This year’s champion was again from north of the border. Felix Beardy of Winnipeg, MB became the seventh Canadian to win the title. He had been runner-up on one occasion.
Three-time ‘Shootout’ champion Marc Oelslager, of Fargo, won the 9-ball International Cup held on Dec. 10 prior to the start of the eight-ball tournament. It features 16 players from U.S. and Canada. He also placed in the nine-12 range in the men’s division. There was a payout for the top 32.
Three area players also finished in the top 32. Travis Hamilton of Rugby placed in the 13-16 range; Layne Opstedal placed in the 17-24 range; and Curt Roerick placed in the 24-32 range.
Jeff Claire of Winnipeg won the consolation title.
Wentz wins women’s title
Minot‘s Rachel Wentz, formerly of Rugby, has been competing in the Northern Lights Shootout since 2000, and now the 29-year-old can call herself a champion.
She dropped her first match in the double elimination preliminary round, but battled to advance to the re-draw. Then, she finished undefeated, claiming the title with a win over Devils Lake’s Joan Jacobs in the finals, 5-4.
“Both of us ran the table three times each,’ Wentz said. “Joann competes in the master’s league in Rugby, so she’s a good player.”
So is Rachel, whose best finish prior to the title was third a year ago. She didn’t start playing pool until nine years ago.
“I played at Opie’s Pool Parlour and the first time I picked up a cue I just loved the sport,’ she said. “It was a way for me to be competitive at sports.”
Wentz practices every day to keep improving her game. “I have a pool table in the house,’ she said.
Her victory marked the first time a local player has captured a ‘Shootout’ title.
Wentz said the ‘Shootout’ is one of the best pool tournaments in the area and the organizers deserve a lot of credit for putting it on as do the local businesses who support it as well.
Beardy wins elusive ‘Shootout’ title
Winnipeg pool player takes $2,000 first prize
Winnipeg, Manitoba pool player Felix Beady has many titles to his credit, including winning the 2008 Canadian Eight-ball championship.
He can now add another to his growing resume.
The 38-year-old captured his first Northern Lights Shootout title on Dec. 13 in Rugby.
Beardy has participated in six other times and has reached the semifinals on four other occasions, but he could never quite capture the top prize. However, he would not be denied this time, winning seven matches en route to taking home $2,000.
The talented field and close proximity to Winnipeg is what has brought him back over the years.
Beardy has been playing the game since he was a young boy growing up on the Garden Hill Reserve in northeastern Manitoba.
“I lived right next to a pool hall and there wasn’t much to do growing up, so I spent a lot of time at the hall, Beardy said. “I learned to splay on a four by eight snooker table.”
He moved to Winnipeg and there concentrated on mastering his game. “There is a lot of good players there and you learn by watching,’ he said. “You’re always a student.”
He continues to play in pool leagues in Winnipeg and was part of a team that won a prestigious tournament in Las Vegas a few years ago that had 600 teams. His Canadian Eight-Ball title in Toronto included several professional players.
Felix said what separates good players from great ones is the mental side of pool.
“You need a short memory,’ he said. “You can’t let a bad shot linger in your mind, or get too excited about making a great shot. You have to remain (calm).”
That approach has served him well, and Beardy is now part of that prestigious list of champions at the Northern Lights Shootout.
OTBnTV was there to film and has 25 matches online for your viewing. There were some great break and runs, safety play and interviews with the players.
We would like to thank Northern Lights, the Chamber of Commerce, North Dakota Phone Company headquarters in Devil’s Lake for the phone and DSL line. Everyone was extremely helpful to make this tournament a success and welcomed OTBnTV to Rugby. The official write up and press release will follow ASAP.
You can watch by going to www.otbntv.com they are coded as NLS-1 through NLS-27.
OTBnTV is sponsored by:
Lucasi Hybrid www.lucasihybrid.com
Crown Cues www.crowncues.biz
Rackem Magazine www.rackemmag.com
On The Break News www.onthebreaknews.com
Men’s Top 32
1 Felix Beardy “$ 2,000.00″
2 Carey Hafner “$ 1,300.00″
3 Robert Pulver “$ 900.00″
4 Clayton Enno “$ 600.00″
5 Clarence Davis “$ 400.00″
6 Tony Weert “$ 400.00″
7 Terry Daniels “$ 300.00″
8 Tyler Perry “$ 300.00″
9 Mike Fieldhammer “$ 200.00″
10 Marc Oelslager “$ 200.00″
11 Brent Hanson “$ 200.00″
12 Chad Barber “$ 200.00″
13 Bruno Nadeau “$ 150.00″
14 Travis Hamilton “$ 150.00″
15 Jared Bailey “$ 150.00″
16 Sheldon Haas “$ 150.00″
17 Mike Frechette “$ 80.00″
18 Brent Donahue “$ 80.00″
19 Frank Howe “$ 80.00″
20 John Thorson “$ 80.00″
21 Curt Roerick “$ 80.00″
22 Dusty Geller “$ 80.00″
23 Richard Martin “$ 80.00″
24 Kurt Hanson “$ 80.00″
25 Layne Opstedal “$ 70.00″
26 Ed Herman “$ 70.00″
27 Chris Halkyard “$ 70.00″
28 Arden Smoke “$ 70.00″
29 Ken Azure “$ 70.00″
30 Brad Arny “$ 70.00″
31 Bob Larson “$ 70.00″
32 Dave Strachen “$ 70.00″
Women’s Top 4
1 Rachel Wentz “$ 300.00″
2 Joan Jacobs “$ 200.00″
3 Claudia Martin “$ 100.00″
4 Tammy Doerr “$ 75.00″
9-ball International Cup
1 Marc Oelslager “$ 800.00″
2 Tony Weert “$ 400.00″
3 Bruce Wheeler “$ 200.00″
4 Chad Barber “$ 100.00″
5 Jared Bailey “$ 50.00″
6 Ken Azure “$ 50.00″
1 Jeff Clare “$ 150.00″
2 Bob Flores “$ 100.00″
3 Jared Steiner “$ 80.00″
4 Jeff Nadeau “$ 60.00″
5 Tim Markwart “$ 40.00″
6 Larry Lord “$ 40.00″
7 Tom Komanski “$ 20.00″
8 Spencer Edwards “$ 20.00″
Northern Lights Shootout Raffle Winners
1 Todd Lysne – Rugby, ND Holland Gas Grill
2 Andrea Lashman – Towner, ND Remington Rifle 770 30-06 Caliper w/scope
3 Marty Schmaltz – Rugby, ND $100 Visa Gift Card
4 Jason Brossart – Rugby, ND Polaroid Digital Camera
5 Damian Lauritzen – Altura, MN $75 Cenex Gas Card
6 Rick Ostrem – Rugby, ND $50 in Rugby Bucks