FOLEY - Not one, but two APA League teams from Foley will be heading to Las Vegas in October to represent Baldwin County during the World Pool Championship. The teams qualified earlier this year …
FOLEY - Not one, but two APA League teams from Foley will be heading to Las Vegas in October to represent Baldwin County during the World Pool Championship. The teams qualified earlier this year during tournaments held in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Along with the Foley teams, teams from Daphne, Fairhope, and Mobile will also be making their way to Vegas in October.
“We have five teams going to Vegas for this year and last year, three teams who qualified last year and two from this year,” said Russel Holt, APA League Operator for Mobile and Baldwin. “They combined them because last year we didn’t get to go due to COVID when they shut everything down so they delayed the event … There’s going to be about 15,000 people there in October.”
The championship will be held at the Westgate Las Vegas, with the 8-Ball World Championship going from Oct. 21 - 26 and the 9-Ball World Championship following on Oct. 25 - 30. The format will be Modified Single Elimination. Each portion is eligible to win up to $25,000.
“This is really a big deal and it’s a great honor,” said 8-Ball team member Dick Craig, who moved to Foley a year ago and joined the team. “We’re going to represent Foley; we’re going to try to do our best for Foley while we’re out there. Both teams are local, and all the team members are local, and the teams are based out of The Office Lounge … It’s going to be a fun thing I think, and hopefully we’ll reflect good on Foley.”
Foley will have an 8-Ball team and a 9-Ball team representing the city during the 2021 World Championship. The similarities don’t just stop at Foley. Both teams play out of The Office Lounge, where they have gotten to know each other and become a pool-loving family.
The 8-Ball team, Chalk Is Cheap, consists of Captain Frank Mason, Co-Captain Christina Mason, Donna Westmoreland, Jon Traudt, Craig, Josh McCormick, Tim Gier and Daniel Owens. A few team members have been to Vegas before. Gier, originally from Illinois, has been the most times, with seven previous experiences playing in the tournament. This will be his first time going with Chalk Is Cheap after moving to the area approximately a year ago and joining.
This will be Frank Mason’s second time playing in the championship. He first played in 2017 in the singles tournament and placed 17th in the world. This will be his first time going as a team.
“This time, going as a team, is incredible,” he said. “We played our hearts out. We had semi-tournament tri-cup and then we had world qualifier, and we played and went down, went to the losers’ bracket, and then we came back and fought and fought and fought and we won. And that was the best feeling ever, because there’s no other feeling than winning, and trying to go to Vegas and bring back the trophy to Alabama and to Baldwin County, especially to Foley and The Office as our homeplace. It’s a good thing that we just never could dream of, but we fought for it and now we’re going to do it.”
The 9-Ball team, Family Traditions, lives up its name. Including spouses, parents and their children, in-laws, siblings and couples, the team embraces pool as a family sport. Many members have been playing for more than a decade, and even newer members have been playing long before they joined the league.
“We’re fortunate, it’s a big, abnormally large family and we’re fortunate that we love each other enough to be a family,” said Michelle Szidon-Ewing. “So, we’re Family Traditions.”
Along with Szidon-Ewing, the team includes Gary Slaughter, Amanda Ewing, Louis Ewing Jr, Ricky “Allen” Moss, Janice Thomas, Cody Wible and Andy Schnider. The team qualified for the World Championship in Daphne, playing at Top of the Bay, where they won every one of their games. This will be the first time heading to Vegas for all of the team members.
While counting down until October, both teams have fundraisers going to raise travel and transportation funds for Vegas. Family Traditions is holding 50/50 raffle drawings every Sunday at The Office Lounge. Tickets are $1 each or $5 for six. You don’t have to be present to win the drawing.
On Saturday, Oct. 2, Chalk Is Cheap will be holding a fundraiser event at The Office Lounge selling $10 Boston butt plates beginning at noon, including a choice of two sides and dessert. A 50/50 split 8-Ball Tournament will hold sign ups beginning at 2 p.m. with a $10 entry fee. Raffle drawings will be held at 6 p.m. Winners need not be present to win.
If you’re interested in joining a pool team, there’s plenty of opportunities available.
“We’re trying to grow, trying to get as many teams as we can in the area and let more people know about it,” said Holt. “A lot of people in the area don’t know it exists, they don’t know what they can do at nights, when you can come out here and meet new people and have a good time and get a spot in Vegas to represent.”
To learn more, visit gulfcoast.apaleagues.com or find them on Facebook. To learn more about the upcoming APA World Pool Championship, visit APAWorldPoolChampionship2021.com.