INSIGHT FROM JULIE HUNTER
The Western Women’s Regional (WWR) tour had its beginnings thirteen years ago as the Northern California Women’s tour. The tour was run solely by Susie Miller from Sacramento and included women players from the northern part of California as well as Nevada. The tour had humble beginnings, with upwards of sixteen players the first two or three years, by the fourth year though the tour had around thirty-two players and was continuing to grow.
It was in the fifth year, the tour with more than thirty-two players, that a "mutiny" occurred. The era of singular running and decision making was over and a new stronger, more organized tour was emerging. Julie Hunter spearheaded the changes by moving the tour headquarters to Carson City, setting up a board to oversee the tour, establishing rules and making sure that all the moneys went back to the players.
The name was changed to the Western Women’s Regional tour. That was eight years ago, and the tour has grown to fifty members now. Julie Hunter is still the president, an unpaid position that on one else seems to want. The WWR is a credit to Julie’s abilities to run the tour and also her generosity by donating her time and energy to keep things running. Julie now has help from Linda Silva who came on board five years ago to run the tournaments. Linda’s credits include running tournaments at the Sands, for the USPPA and at both Breaktime Billiards and Family Billiards to name a few. Now everything is on computer thanks to Linda and that makes Julie’s life a little easier.
The tour has five stops and most of the rooms stay the same from year to year. Cuephoria, Julie’s room, hosts the tour every other year and she had a weekend of fun planned. A buffet was set-up all weekend long for the players, along with raffles all weekend. Ted Kidwell was donating a custom cue to the raffle and Julie was donating some cues herself. Besides cues, the raffle will include, T-shirts, hats, clocks, video games and more (estimated at nearly 100 items).
The objective of the WWR is to have all their tour stops run similarly to pro events. Rules of play, dress codes enforced, name tags, scoreboards and check-in times that will give all the women a flavor of what a pro-event is like. The tour pays down half the field and holds a second chance tournament, so the women really get their moneys worth, and spend a weekend full of fun and commeradery.
The tour has seen more growth recently due to the interest of many of the leagues operating in the area. The San Francisco 8-Ball leagues have brought in twenty new players and the San Rafael pool leagues have held qualifiers and paid fees for their winners to play in a tour event.
Rumors have been circulating about combining the area women’s tours (WWR, SCWBT, and NWPA) into one tour with more corporate sponsorships, which would mean larger tournaments and more prize money for the players, with advancement to the WPBA. The largest drawback to this is affordability. Not all of the women playing in the regional tours are looking to turn pro, most play for the experience. Travel expenses for a combined tour may make the events too costly for a lot of the women who participate regionally. The combined regional event that was first held last year, open to the top eight players from each of the women’s tours nationwide was a big success. It is planned for this year again on November 22-24, 2002.
The WWR is enjoying great success and as the popularity of pool increases and with the participation of more women in this sport, the tour looks forward to more growth.
In January of this year, despite a harsh winter storm, an impressive
field of 31 players attended the newly founded Northwest Women’s Pool
Association’s [NWPA] first tournament. With a guaranteed minimum of
$500 added, as well as local television news and radio coverage, the
players were left with a strong sense of excitement and a desire to
support the new tour.
The NWPA is a women’s regional 9-ball tour that is sanctioned by the Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA). The NWPA’s mission is to encourage and promote all skill levels of women’s pool in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to providing two WPBA qualifier events this season, the tour offers other events such as 8-ball tournaments and a pool exhibition/educational clinic aimed at supporting and elevating overall play for less experienced members.
The NWPA Board of Directors has incorporated innovative marketing and promotional strategies, such as unprecedented television and radio coverage for their events. Increased added monies are anticipated based on corporate sponsorships. Plus, the Board strives to run each tournament more efficiently than the last. The results have been a pleased and growing playing membership: Stop 1 -- 31 players; Stop 2 -- 39 players; Stop 3 -- 52 players. Current NWPA membership is comprised of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Canadian players, though the tour is open to all female players as either members or non-members. You can get more information about the NWPA from their website at www.nwpatour.com