(photo: Francisco Bustamante)

The World Professional Billiard League held their first ever event this weekend. It was held in Canada at the beautiful, McPhillip Station Casino in Winnipeg.  It was a huge success. Statistically, the two best players were found battling it out in the finals.  That is what tournament director Barry Bremner and owner, Larry Chiborak predicted proir to the inaugrual event. “The game of Bonus Ball uses a scoreboard and time clock that operated flawlessly”, stated Chiborak. “The players made a few mental mistakes due to the challenge of having to think fast on their feet, but at the end of the event, all eight players were showing why they are called professionals!” Bremner said…”Perhaps, Corey Deuel, who seemed at odds with the new game, came storming back on the final day, playing flawless! I was very impressed with the size of his heart. Most players would have packed it in the final day. That was not the case with Deuel.  I expect Corey to be muched improved in the next event”


There was a movie in the 60’s about a gunslinger who hauled a coffin behind his horse and took out an entire force with a gattling gun hidden inside the coffin. This character was named “Django” Francisco “Django” Bustamante acted the part of gunslinger all weekend and took out anyone in his way! What an outstanding performance he put on. In a race to five, after Archer ran the first two tables to go up two games to nothing, this gunslinger won five straight to win the tournament. Here’s how today’s action played out to set up the final.

Championship Ring

The noon match featured the fifth place finisher, John Schmidt against the 6th place finisher, Erik Hjorleifson, a “raised in Winnipeg” product. In this consolation event, Erik got a couple of bad breaks, scratching after making his object ball, once in each of the first two games, allowing “Mr 400” to go up two games to none in a race to three. After a back & forth battle, Schmidt prevailed in the third game to finish fifth in the standings after event number one. This event was a great experience for “Big Red.” “I need to practice more to bring my game up. Banking was so important this weekend.” noted Erik.

In the quarter final match up, The “South Dakota Kid”, Shane Van Boening, who finished third after the round robin portion of the tournament, was up against his Mosconi Cup team mate, fourth place finisher Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer. Johnny jumped out quickly to a one nothing lead and Van Boening won three straight, two of them in over-time, to get to the hill. Archer fought his way to the hill as well and ran out the final game to win the prize of facing Nick “The Kentucky Colonel” Varner in the semi-final.

The semi final, like the quarter final, was a race to four. Varner came back from being down seven – nothing to capture the first game nine – seven. At that point “The Scorpion” once again found his stinger and won four straight games to sideline Mr. Varner. What a great tournament Nick Varner had though. If retirement was ever really on his mind, that has been put on the back burner. Bonus Ball brought out all the skills that Varner has specialized in the past and brought him back into the spot light. Without a doubt, Nick varner was quite a show!

Johnny Archer

With the quarter final and semi final matches, Johnny had won seven of his last eight games and was on a roll!Bustamante was well rested for the final. Winning the round robin, rewarded him with a birth into the play-off finals, while Johnny had just come through some pressure situations and had a couple of barn burners to get there. Archer came out very focused in this race to five and ran out the first two games. That’s when Bustamante took over and proved to be too much for Archer on this night. Francisco was very strong from Thursday evening right through the entire event and was deserving of the win. What an amazing three and a half days of Bonus Ball and the “Super Series of Billiards was just that…super!

Mike Massey had a crowd everywhere that he went. The World Champion trick shot artist was a crowd pleaser for sure. Mike Massey was the player that convinced Larry Chiborak to use only three pockets in his game to help make Bonus Ball more challenging for seasoned players. It was a great addition to the game to great billiard entertainer.


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