24th MONTANA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Yogo Inn, Lewistown

By: Don “Cheese” Akerlow
Lewistown – April 24-25, 2004
Getting to a tournament that is over 200 miles away can always be time consuming on back roads. I decided to take some extra time and drive the back roads that I haven’t driven for many years now. Leaving from Three Forks going to Townsend, White Sulphur, Harlowton then north to Lewistown. Sometimes in our busy everyday lives we should stop to look and see what is around us. I had the distinct pleasure of getting behind a semi that was crawling up the canyon east of Townsend. I decided to pull over after several attempts to get around the semi and let him get up the road for the next 5 or 10 minutes. In my quest for serenity, I went over to the creek and watched a beaver rebuild his dam. Before I knew it 30 minutes had passed and I knew I had to get back on the road, leaving was harder than I would have anticipated. As I pulled off I decided to take in what was around me. This is after all the “Big Sky Country”. Snow capped mountains, hay fields, tree lined rolling hills with snow on the north side where the sun doesn’t hit until late afternoon, to going past Two Dot, a small town made famous in a song by Hank Williams, Jr. Most of us drove hundreds of miles to get to the state championship. I hope all of you had the same opportunity as I did.

The tournament started Saturday, numbers were down about 10% from the previous year. This is the 3rd year that it was held in Lewistown, next year it will be in West Yellowstone, the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It was great to see all the people I haven’t seen all year long and the tournament ran smoothly. And for those of us who left their game at home, like myself, we were treated on Sunday to some spectacular pool. Jeff Boucher in the Men’s A, pretty much had his way at the table for the win.

Women’s A went down to a battle between Sky Tigart from Great Falls and Linda Asleson from Billings. It proved to be a seesaw battle through both sets with Linda coming out victorious.

Men’s B, Jeff Grinwis, a late entry into the tournament, walked pretty much through the tournament until he played Travis Hopstad. It went to a double set and more than just a couple missed 8-Balls in the side cost Travis the championship.

Women’s B between Shellie Mitchell from East Helena and Aimee Neel of Bozeman also went to a double set. Shellie came back to tie it at hill-hill in the final game. She ran down to the 8, had a long difficult cut, missed it. Aimee was forced to play safeties the next couple of shots. Shellie was able to make the 8 and win the championship.

Congratulations to all the champions and all the players for making this tournament what it is today. A special thank you to the MCMOA and its staff and hope to see everybody in West Yellowstone next year.













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