Last weekend I made my first trip out to Olathe, KS for the Midwest 9-Ball Tour event out there.  I’ve been to the one in St. Louis a couple of times; but I’ve always heard that Olathe was the biggest stop on the tour.  “They” were right – as usual.  This event is AWESOME!!!! SO.MUCH.GOING.ON 

I got into town around 7:30pm, checked into my hotel, and headed over to the pool room, Shooter’s. I decided since I was there I might as well go ahead and play in it; can’t hurt, right? So, I sign up, and pull up a chair next to Treadway Cues and start to take in all the atmosphere.  I look around and see all these great tables and a row of Diamond Barboxes.  Off in the corner, I see Gabe Owen playing Chip Compton an ahead race of Banks for what I heard was decent size bankroll.  People *everywhere*, cues, booths, products, match-ups everywhere you look.  It was really quite impressive.

After the calcutta, I checked the schedule and I didn’t play my first match until 2:30 Saturday afternoon.  So, I found Jacob and we managed to play a bit on one of the Diamond 9footers.  A really tightly shimmed Diamond even!  I came out the winner in a race to 7 to secure my first victory of the trip. 🙂

I hung out and sweated a lot of matches that night until I finally went back to the hotel around 5am.

Saturday, I get up around 11, get myself ready and head back to Shooters around noon.  In an attempt to get warmed up for my match, I play Jacob on the Diamond barbox for the cost of time. I come out the loser on that one when my match gets called early and he’s ahead in the race.  

So my match is right next to the table they’re showing on the stream, in the front row, in front of the bleachers.  Strangely, I don’t get nervous about this.  I focus on my match and try to get out when I can.  The match was slow to start – and my 2 trips to the table, I was kicking at the ball.  But, I finally caught a little bit of a gear and got some games on the wire.  Then, out of nowhere, I break and run out!! My opponent, who was a very friendly older gentleman said “One of us finally did it how it’s supposed to be done.”  Unfortunately, I was so nervous from my break and run that my attempts to calm myself down worked too well and I took myself right out of the match.  It would be my last win of the set, and he would take the next 4 racks to win 9-6. I know what I did, so it’s no real mystery.

Shortly (as in about 15 minutes) after that, I was called for my 2nd match; which I was not really ready for. I was still feeling a bit deflated about my loss and I didn’t make more than 2 balls the first 4 racks, finding myself quickly down 0-4.  My opponent won the flip, then proceeded to break and run out. I broke dry, he ran out. He broke, played safe, I missed a kick, he ran out. I broke, scratched, he ran out.  Or might as well have.  I did finally get into the match later, but it was far too late. I ended up losing 9-5; but I hadn’t really expected to do that well. Probably why I didn’t.

I spent the remainder of the weekend in the pool room, watching matches, playing some and staking a player.  A few hours after my 2nd loss, I decided to play Jacob some one pocket; a race to 3 for some green. This was on a tripple-shimmed gold crown (see the link above for the tightly shimmed pockets; as this table was just as tight).  I recorded the match and you can watch it here.  It went hill-hill, but I came out ahead.  Afterwards, he wanted to play some 9-ball, but I got him to play 10-ball instead.  A race to 7 for the same amount.  Again, I recored it, and you can watch that set here. It wasn’t as close as the one pocket match, but I really let him come back on me. I had him down 4-0 in the beginning, but he quickly caught up making it 5-4.  However, I did sink the final 10-ball (it wasn’t pretty) and won my 3rd set against a player I have beaten only once in the year I’ve been playing him.

A couple hours later, after some food, Jacob matched up with a pro-am player, Manny Perez.  They played forever. They started playing with Manny giving Jacob the last 4, but Manny won the first race to 7 in just 9 games. They then played a second race with Jacob getting the last 5; they went hill-hill then changed to a win-by-two race; which Jacob won. Then they played a race to 8, which Manny won, then another race to 8, went hill-hill, then a 4-ahead, which Manny won. Then another race to 9, again it went hill-hill then this final race to win by 3; which I finally decided to go ahead and record since I knew it’d be the last of the session.  You can watch that match at this link.  

Somewhere around 2 or 3am I noticed Gabe Owen playing 3-cusion with who I later discovered was a local hotshot. I dont know what they were playing for, but they were racing to 15, and they played from about 2 in the morning until about 2 in the afternoon the next day – straight through.  I know, because I was there the whole time.  Jacob’s set ended around 6am, and I knew I couldn’t go back to the hotel to sleep since official check-out time was 11am, and if I went to sleep, I’d never wake up. haha  So, instead, I went to the hotel, changed, packed, visited the breakfast buffet and went back to Shooters.

I finally left that place around 3pm, stopped for gas and food and headed back to St. Louis.  It was a wonderful weekend – and I’m about 90% sure I’m going back for the next event!