SHERIDAN — The Southern Division of the Sheridan VNEA sanctioned 8-ball league played its tournament this weekend at various locations around Sheridan. Thirty-six teams started play Saturday, and the semifinals took place at Sutton’s Tavern Sunday with the BHME Short Bus All-Stars claiming the championship.
The Short Bus All-Stars toppled Sutton’s Fun N Games in a double-elimination championship round to win a $900 prize. Pool Sharks and Rails Sticks in the Mud represented the other two teams in the final four Sunday.
Every week during the regular season teams pay $5, which gets put into a pot, and 100 percent of the money is given back to the players. Fun N Games won $640 for its runner-up placing, and smaller increments of money were given to teams based on where they placed.
Nick George, the owner of Wyoming Amusement, has run this tournament for the past nine years, and this weekend marked the biggest one yet with 36 four-man teams participating. Numbers have grown partly due to the fact that six years ago George elected to split the town’s billiards league into an ‘A’ bracket (Northern Division) and a ‘B’ bracket (Southern Division).
“The really nice thing about it is everybody has their moment in the sun — the time where they get to be champions,” George said. “Whenever it was all one division, it really seemed to be one team or two teams were really the only ones that had that opportunity every year. And with this, it kind of spreads it around and makes it more competitive.
“… Everybody gets their 15 minutes of fame when it comes to pool.”
The Southern Division is designed for players of any skill level to compete for championships based on a handicap system. The individuals acquire their handicaps as they progress through the season, which started in September.
Each and every week the number of balls a player makes — each ball counting as one point with the 8-ball counting for three — over his or her four games is averaged to calculate a handicap. That averaging system occurs every week of the regular season. This allows the casual player to compete against a more experienced and precise player.
Each team consists of four people, and at the beginning of the season those teams select a home bar where they will play a match every other week. On the off weeks, those teams go on the road and battle other teams at their home bars.
A match is composed of all four players playing one another in four separate games and the total number of balls scored by all four players get added together to see which team wins. Handicaps get factored in prior to the start of the match.
The Northern Division tournament will take place this upcoming weekend as many of Sheridan’s best pool players will, once again, play at multiple locations around town.
George — who saw a fair share of the Southern Division participants playing with an edge — expects a heightened level of play come this weekend.
“It will be a lot more competitive,” George said.
The Rainbow Bar will play host to the Northern Division championship April 15.