Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 APA 8-ball Southwest Challenge Day One

The APA Southwest Challenge is a fun annual tournament that draws folks from all over the southwestern states. There are actually two of these tournaments per year: 8-ball in the Spring and 9-ball in the Fall. Teams of three with a skill level limit of 14 (15 for 9-ball) compete with a pre-set and continuously rotating roster order. This makes things interesting, because you're not able to control the match-ups... they're already determined for you based on how the roster rotates. This means the weakest player on your team may end up playing the strongest player on the other team (or vice-versa). Since they're all handicapped matches, everyone's got a chance... at least in theory.

The first day of the tourney is pretty laid back... registration, practice, and mini-tournaments. One of my teammates and I headed to the Riviera about 7:30 PM to get our team registered, check out the tables, and get some practice in.

When we got there, the conference room was pretty darn packed. There were somewhere around sixty tables and all of them were in use. We made our way to the registration desk and got registered... found out our team number (Las Vegas #12) and checked out the brackets. First round bye... yippee-skippy.

We saw a couple guys packing up their cues at Table #29 and jumped right on it before it had a chance to cool off. We were both shooting pretty darn well... trading games back and forth and finishing most of the games off in one or two innings.

And then, it happened. My break. A good solid break, nice even spread of the balls all the way back to the head rail, and a couple balls dropped. The cue ball planted fairly well near mid-table initially, but then got deflected slightly towards one of the side pockets. Still not bad though, and potentially runnable. Except for one thing.

I broke the frigging cue ball! I couldn't believe it. To borrow a phrase from a fellow blogger, OMGWTF!

In case you've never seen a broken cue ball, they don't roll very well. My hopes of a break-and-run quickly faded as we both stared in amazement at the broken cue ball. It was a decent quality ball too, a Magnetic Aramith like they normally have at APA tournaments at the Riviera (and like the one I tried to run through my dishwasher).

I guess I need to dial back a bit on the Wheaties or something.

I took the ball up to the registration desk and asked if they had another one. They didn't. Believe it or not, they actually wanted me to give them the broken one. Nice try, registration desk people. It's going to end up in a plexiglass box on my trophy shelf. Or something. It's not going to end up in their trash can.

So there you have it... day one of the 2011 Southwest Challenge, and I'm starting off with a bang (and a souvenir).


  1. Haha! Try n repeat it this year. I don't think u can.

    1. I think you're probably right. One of those once-in-a-lifetime things - it's crossed off the bucket list now. I've switched to a different break cue anyway, the old one (that I used when I broke the cue ball) had a phenolic tip and I've since learned that they were banned in BCA play. Since I didn't play BCA then, I wasn't too worried about it, but now I do so I've made the switch to a legal break cue