All Photos courtesy of Amber Henning
Saratoga, Wyoming – USA’s #1 ranked Shane Van Boening went undefeated to win the 6th Annual Wyoming Open. The South Dakota native defeated Hawaii’s Rocket Rodney Morris in the 8-Ball bar table event that boasted a full field of 48 in the Masters Division. The event was produced by E.J. Glode and co-promoted by Dragon Promotions. Drawing over 150 players in 3 divisions, the Wyoming Open is widely regarded as the biggest and best pool event in 6 states. The event was sponsored by Asia’s #1 pro cloth Andy Cloth and Master Chalk. Local partners are Duke’s Bar & Grill and Riviera Lodge and all events coordinated by Shively Hardware.
In the Sportsman Division featuring novice players, Mike Kozeniewski of Wyoming won the 50 player division. He defeated Dwain Twiford twice in the finals. The Classic Division featured a full 64 player field of advanced players and $1600 for 1st place. Colorado’s Don Clements went undefeated including wins over runner-up Kevin Wall twice.
The main event open to masters level as well as professionals featured $5000 added to the purse, not including a calcutta which featured another $6000 in prizes. Early favaorites included Rodney Morris, Stevie Moore, Charlie Williams, Raj Hundal, Rafael Martinez, and Shane Van Boening. Other notable names were Marc Vidal of Spain and Mark Tadd of Utah.
All the favorites made it to the final 16 bracket. In the re-draw, Martinez defeated Hundal while Vidal made an upset over Charlie Williams 7-5. Van Boening defeated Moore, Martinez 6-5, and another hill hill thriller over Rodney Morris 6-5. Hundal then shutout Stevie 7-0 while Williams bounced back with 2 more wins to make the final 8.
The final day saw Rafael Martinez defeat Williams 7-4 while Morris won over Hundal. Morris then went on to win a tough 7-5 match over Martinez after being down 4-0. He then went on to eliminate Vidal 7-5 who finished 3rd. Notable finishes by non-pro players included 5th place by Ricardo Martinez (unrelated to Rafael), and Bruce Wilson who got 7th.
The finals pitted two red hot players in Morris vs Van Boening. Both players went #2 and #1 respectively in the player auction.The match went extremely fast. Morris had beaten Van Boening in the past 5 other tournament. But Van Boening’s break seemed unstoppable, and Morris scraatched the final break giving the match to Shane 7-5.
„The way I’ve been playing, I knew Shane would have to play absolutely perfect to beat me. And sure enough, he played a flawless two matches against me this tournament. My hat’s off to him“, said Morris.
„Bar Box 8-Ball is my all time favorite game“, said Shane.
The Wyoming Open also had a second chance Hard Luck 9-Ball event for the players knocked out early. This was won by Ace Brown of Utah who was thrilled to finally win his first trophy at the Wyoming Open in 6 tries. Several mini-tournaments were held at Duke’s Bar that went on to 3am.
„I’m finally starting to shoot loose! It’s so much fun! I won’t ever miss this tournament!“, said Brad Kallevig.
26 kids also showed up to play in the Wyoming Open Qualifier for the USA Junior Nationals hosted by the BEF (Billiard Education Foundation). Kids 17 and under came from Nebraska, Colorado, and all over Wyoming. The tournament was a bright gem that brightened further the atmosphere of the Wyoming Open, and the success was due to Mrs. Samm Vidal, new director of the BEF.
„The Wyoming Open is the biggest week for my business and for many others in our town. E.J. is always trying to improve the event, and this year is by far the best Wyoming Open ever!“, said Chris Duke, owner of Duke’s Bar & Grill. Duke is one of the event’s primary sponsors and partner.
„If we had more promoters like E.J. Glode, the pool world would be a much better place“, said Raj Hundal.
The event is majorly supported by the town’s own businesses which include : Hotel Wolf, Duke’s Bar & Grill, Valley Foods, Riviera Lodge, Carbon County, and Shively Hardware.
For more info on the Wyoming Open contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 307-329-8924