Monday, January 4, 2021

Ryder Cup Memories

With the TCL Signature Series #2 behind us, many of us are gearing up for the new year and the next TCL event.  Right smack dab in the middle of our sights is one of the biggest and most suspenseful events you will ever experience, TCL's Ryder Cup. Known as "An event unlike any other", this unique event continues to grow and is the biggest event of the year. What started out as a "our neighborhood is better than yours" type of tourney with a handful of teams, now has become a multiple division event with over 60 teams made up of 10 players. Well, there were over 60 teams last year so who knows how many will be vying for the cup this year but I can assure you it will be memorable.

One of my most memorable Ryder Cups was the one held January 2016 in Mesquite. It was a doozy folks! In this one, there were teams from outside of Texas...I mean really outside of Texas. There were players from Ohio and North Carolina and these squads had some of the best players in the country at the time and they came down here and put on a show. I don't remember what this particular division was called but it had all the top players from Texas on several teams along with those out of state teams. The Open Division was the one I played in with the East Texas team led by Captain Brad Jones. The 5 other teams including Red River, Texas Justice, North Tarrant, Mule Barn and East Dallas. This Division produced one of the most exciting finishes to any Ryder Cup and here is how it went down...well, best to my recollection.

Everything seemed normal as Team Ten concluded with East Dallas and N. Tarrant tied with 4 points each. Followed closely with 3 points were East Texas and Mule Barn. Men's and Women's Singles were next with a March Madness style bracket and this is where things started to heat up. Heath Mills beat Kyle Verner for the win and with both players representing E. Texas, big points were garnered for Capt. Brad Jones and his team. The standings at that point had E. Texas in first with 14.5, E. Dallas in 2nd with 13.5 and N. Tarrant tied for 3rd with the Mule Barn with 10.5. Doubles followed and things were really about to get intense!

I remember it being very close and after me and my partner, Jim Abdella beat the team from E. Dallas, I looked at the scoreboard and at that time we held a small lead. I walked around and started putting numbers together and after looking at the situation, I felt like we had enough points to win the cup. I knew there were only a few games left to be played and the closest team to us, E. Dallas had just one match left. If they won that match they would still be a point or so short so I felt like we were on the verge of winning. All the games were completed and some of us were waiting around for the scores to be completed while some went to their hotel rooms thinking it was all over. Being that it was around 11 pm, some decided to hit the sauce and that may have been a bad thing. I glanced over towards the scorers table and noticed a few people gathered around in what appeared to be a serious discussion. As I peered closer, I realized one of those folks was my Captain, Brad Jones. He wasn't happy about something so I made my way that direction to see if I could find out what was happening. 

I really wasn't sure what all had taken place but as I got close enough I caught glance at the television monitor which showed the standings and to my surprise, the E. Texas team was tied with the team from E. Dallas. Obviously something unusual had occurred and there were several Captains along with the Tournament Directors discussing things. One of the things I heard from them was that there was a tie and a sudden death match was to be played. Eventually it was explained and the fun was just getting started! 

Brad Jones and his E. Texas team was deadlocked with E. Dallas led by Will Davis and both were about to be a part of TCL history! The unique way TCL decided to settle this situation was interesting and ultimately, very exciting. A coin toss decided which Captain would have the first choice to pair players up in a "down and back" round. The team that scored the most points in that down and back would earn a point for their team. The first team to get to 6 would win the Cup! The Captain that won the toss could pick any player from his team to play any player from the other team and after that down and back was completed, the other captain would have their turn to do the same. They would take turns until one team reached 6 points. Jones won the toss and with a huge boisterous crowd lining the outside edges of the court, his first pick was Heath Mills and I don't remember who jones selected to play against Mills but Mills won to give E. Texas a 1-0 lead. Davis went next and whoever he chose for his team won tying the score at 1-1. I believe Jones went with Kyle Verner who lost to give E. Dallas a 2-1 lead. Captain Will Davis went on to win 2 more matches to give them a seemingly insurmountable 4-1 lead. I can't remember who all played the next 2 matches but E. Texas won to draw them closer at 3 points to 4. Up next for E. Texas was Sean Gay who was a good player but I really don't believe any of the standing room only crowd, including Sean would have expected him to hit the shot that he hit. With one bag left and a board cluttered about with several bags all around the hole, Sean had only one option. He had to hit a airmail and drag one of the bags to give him the win. The place had been buzzing but as he let his bag fly it got eerily quite and as the bag seemed to fly in super slow motion...the crowd quickly erupted as he not only hit the airmail but drug 2 bags to give him and his E. Texas team the point! It was freakin' awesome y'all! This tied the score at 4 and there were only 2 players from each team left to battle. I remember Jones getting me and Justin Bennett together to ask us who we would want to play against from E. Dallas and I spoke first saying for him to match me up with Richard Reed. I had some success earlier against Richard in doubles and felt like I could have some success against him in this critical situation. So it was me and Richard Reed stepping to the line and after the first 8 bags had been thrown, Reed was ahead by 1. I don't really remember what the exact situation was completely but with my last bag, and a bag or two in front of the hole, I had to hit a airmail as a boarded bag wouldn't be enough. With little hesitation I threw a bag that had more prayers and hail mary's than you could imagine and some how went right through the hole to give us the win and a 5-4 lead and a whole lot of momentum! With a rather bleak outlook just a few minutes earlier, no one would've expected things to go the way they had gone. Down 4-1, with a unsuspecting player hitting a crucial airmail drag, a old guy playing way past his bedtime making a game deciding airmail, E. Texas had brought the room to a frenzy! The last matchup was Justin Bennett for E. Texas playing against Randy Husband from E. Dallas. They washed after each player had thrown their 4 bags but Bennett was about to put the nail in the coffin. He made his first bag, Husband's first bag went wide right, Bennett made his 2nd and his third while Husband only was able to make one. Bennett drained his last bag to give E. Texas the win and the cup in what would become one of the most exciting Ryder Cup finishes in TCL history. 

The exhilaration and excitement overshadowed our fatigue as we all began to realize what had just happened. My tank was empty but I had just enough energy left to give my teammates high fives and hugs as we celebrated into to early morning hours. It was a great feeling, the feeling we all play for and even though Will Davis' E. Dallas squad was disappointed, they too were a big part of this moment. It was a big time moment for all of us, one that we all will never forget. Words from a speech I've given come to mind..."Great moments are born from great opportunities". This was a great opportunity and in a few weeks, there will indeed be more great moments available.

This was a Ryder Cup memory that I was fortunate to be a part of and as we gear up for the next Ryder Cup, I hope you all are able to enjoy the moment and if the opportunity becomes yours, fate will be on your side and you're able to create memories and moments like these. 

Have fun and throw 'em straight y'all! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

TCL's Faces in the Crowd

I recently wrote a blog mentioning J.D. Thompson and hinted that I would be writing about different players and Directors. This little write up is about a player...or 2, or 3..well actually it's going to mention several and I hope you all enjoy it!

The 1960's in America were known as one of the most tumultuous and divisive decades in world history. There were assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The Vietnam War, Civil Rights protests and a Cuban Missile Crisis before ending the decade on a good note when the first man landed on the moon. It was also in the 60's that NOW was organized focusing on Women's rights and by the early 70's Title IX was passed. This forced all male schools to open their doors to women and athletic programs to sponsor and finance female sports. A long time pioneer and advocate for equality, Women's Tennis great Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match in 1973. At the age of 14, Nadia Comaneci was awarded the Olympic Games first perfect score in gymnastics on her way to 5 Gold Medals. Babe Didrikson was another athletic sports pioneer as were Nancy Leiberman, Wilma Rudolph and Althea Gibson. Just like all of these ladies, there are some women that play in TCL that have made and continue to make their marks in a sport that typically has more men players.

Starting with Christina Espinosa who has been TCL's Female Player of the Year a few times and with her unique style she is always one of the top players. Espinosa, who plays out of the East Dallas Region is one of very few players who throws from a bent over position. With her silky smooth delivery and super flat bag, she can almost always gets her low flying bag to find the hole. Following her outstanding performance at Signature 2 in Mesquite, you can certainly expect Espinosa to be one of the favorites in any event she enters.

Veronica Vinson is another standout female player who has had lots of success in her years playing in TCL. Vinson has been playing since around 2012 and when she is on, she's as tough as any one on the boards! A five time TCL Female Player of the Year winning four straight years from 2012-2015, Veronica is as cool as they come. In the heat of a match she seldom shows her intensity but trust me, the Kaufman resident is fierce! Vinson has been throwing well here of late and I expect her to continue to be a player to watch. 

One of the more impressive young players is Isabella Surprenant who at 14 years old became the youngest player to win a Signature Open Singles title. She also was the first female to do so and I don't see her slowing down any time soon. The Lawton Oklahoma native plays several nights a week and her arsenal of shots is a indication of just how much she plays. She has only been playing a short time but has developed a smooth right foot leading throw that can be lethal when she's at her best. Bella will be a tough out for anyone as I can only see her getting better and better.

There are several other ladies who have been playing in TCL and making names for themselves including Jesusa Rodriguez who can flat out put you in the truck! Taylor DeLeon, Betty Seymour, Leeanna Hartline, Toni Cranford, Amy Valdez and Brittney Arrington are all ladies who have been around for a few years who can prove to be hard outs at any time. Some of the newer players who are coming on are Jennifer Thompson, Megan Meaux, Desirae Cruz, Jodi Meredith, Vanessa Henderson and Cassie Kramer.

With the sport growing like it is, I expect more and more ladies to step up their games and become house hold names. I'm certain there are others that I failed to mention and I know there will continue to be new players rising up in the future. Keep throwing those 12's ladies!

Throw 'em straight y'all!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Texas ACE Signature Series #2 Recap - Mesquite

As I reflected on the Open Doubles final match, a phrase came to mind that was as fitting as it could be to describe the 4 players who were playing. The phrase "Long in the tooth" can often be related to the idea that someone is older or been around a while. Perhaps someone that is experienced in something. It also is an expression alluding to a horse's gums receding with age making the teeth appear to be longer. With TCL's ACE Signature Series event being held in Mesquite right next to the Mesquite Rodeo, I just had to use this phrase!  

Open Doubles has always been TCL's headlining event and typically the finalists are players who have been there a time or two. This time was different as Justin Fowler and Christina Espinosa defeated Chris Gardner and Jim Abdella to win their first Signature Open event. These are all really good players who haven been around for more than 8 or 9 years including Chris Gardner who I've heard rumors that he helped Noah with constructing the Ark!! Naw I'm kidding but Chris, Jim, Justin and Christina are seasoned veterans who put together some very impressive runs this weekend.

In getting to the finals, Gardner and Abdella beat Adam Utz and Matt Zonker in a hard fought opening round match then got past Grant Upchurch and Johnny Seymour. They went on to beat J.C. Nekuza and J.D. Thompson, Zeke Gutierrez and Zeke Sr., and Matt Ball and JR Reyes to get to the finals. They started out using Krakens bags but changed to the suddenly popular Yetis and what a run they went on winning most of those 2 out of 3 matches in just 2 games.

Fowler and Espinosa both haven't been at the top of their games the past year or so, but this weekend they simply were on another level. After winning their first two matches they ran into Ernest Herrera and Matt Longoria and lost to go to the losers bracket. That is when they decided to make a couple strategical changes which obviously helped as they went on one heckuva run. They beat Grant Upchurch and Johnny Seymour, Brandon Gregor and Daniel Vinson and redeemed themselves by beating Herrera and Longoria. Then they beat Matt Ball and JR. Reyes to get back to Abdella and Gardner. In the finals Espinosa was steady and down the middle while Fowler was stupid, hitting some huge airmails to win the 2 out of 3 match forcing a deciding game.  In that game Fowler and Espinosa clearly had the momentum and went on to get the win securing their first ever Signature Series title. 

Matt Ball and JR Reyes played well all day finishing 3rd while Ernest Herrera and Matt Longoria came in 4th. Brandon Gregor and Daniel Vinson tied with Zeke Gutierrez and Zeke Sr. to round out the top 5. 

Tier 1 Open Doubles had Grant Upchurch and Johnny Seymour beating Bella Surprenant and Austin McCuistion. Tier II winners were Damren Kuykendall and Roel Salinas who beat Justin Winschel and Brian Weimer.

In Competitive Doubles, Joel Infante and Misa Gomez beat Payton Lopez and Michael Howard to get the win while Jerrod Sisson and Andrew Rainey finished 3rd. Jamie Willoughby and Allen Hooten came in 4th and Nomar Garcia and Brycen Diaz tied for 5th with Anthony Hudson and Chris Langston.

Social Doubles had Jay Humphrey and Joey Gonzalez taking the title as they beat Cody Hughes and Michael Hughes. Anthony Elliot and Kyle Monroe finished third and Al Uhse and Brandon Uhse came in 4th. Tied for 5th were Dennis Davis and partner Nick Aven and Skip McCain and Derek Paul.

There were many great matches and some outstanding new players from what seems like everywhere. I know the West Texas group put on a show and certainly have put themselves on the map.

In Open Singles Bella Surprenant held off Brandon Gregor to get the win. Justin Fowler, Ernest Herrera came in 3rd and 4th respectively while Christina Espinosa and Braiden Fink tied for 5th.

Tier 1 Open Singles had JC Nekuza beating Kenneth Johnston and Tier II was won by Matt Zonker who beat Angel Cruz.

In Competitive Singles, Joel Infante got past Logan Baker for the win with Michael Gomez finishing in 3rd. Fourth place went to Jeff Henderson while Daniel Rodriguez and Zeke Gutierrez Sr. tied for 5th.

Brent Holly won the Tier 1 Singles beating Eric Smith and in Tier II it was Jaime Willaby defeating Dino Reyna.

Social Singles had Jason Price beating Michael Hughes for the championship. Josh Davis came in 3rd and Dustin Sprague finished 4th. Tied for 5th were Skip McCain and Armando Jimenez.

In Social Tier 1 Singles Braeden Bomer beat Jesus Pando and in Tier II it was Chase Robinson beating Eric Nichols.

The Signature Series #2 Mesquite Texas Ace Points Event was about as good of a event that I've been to. The competition continues to strengthen and there are more and more players showing up. With over 600 players playing in several divisions, it's clear TCL has a really good thing going. Next up will be the most intense tournament of the year, TCL's Ryder Cup. Every year this event gets bigger and bigger and I look for that trend to continue in January.

See y'all in Denton, throw 'em straight!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

TCL Signature 2 Preview - Mesquite

It seems like it's been a long time since J.C. Nekuza drained a tournament ending airmail at TCL's Signature Event in Bryan/College Station. Since then there have been many players stepping up and improving their games with hopes of making similar splashes at this week's Signature Event #2 - Texas ACE Points Series in Mesquite, TX.

Signature Events are big and they always require players to be throwing their very best in order to make the podium and get a snapshot with a hand full of cash! Speaking of cash, this event features a guaranteed $20,000 payout and could have more than 500 players vying for some Benjis and hardware.

Mesquite is known as the Rodeo Capital of Texas and since 1986 when the Mesquite Arena opened, it has been home to the Mesquite Pro Rodeo. In 1998 the facility expanded to include an exhibition hall, convention center and a Hampton Inn. The Convention Center is where the bags will be flying this weekend and this won't be the first time a TCL event will be held here. A season opening Signature Event was held there in 2015 and it is where I played in my very first Signature Event. I played some guy named Reagan Choate and he must have felt bad for me and let me win giving me the opportunity to play Jason Andrews. I knew he was good because he wore a jersey and back then only players who made the Top 60 had jerseys. He beat me but my most vivid memory I have of that match was how bad my hands were shaking as I tried to move the clip. Had to two fist it a few times!! The Convention Center also hosted the TCL Ryder Cup the following January which included several players from all over the country who competed in a Super Division. That was also the Ryder Cup that went into Sudden Death with East Texas and East Dallas battling it out late into the night. Arguably one of the most exciting finishes many had ever seen...and not one video from it!!

This Signature Event will no doubt be loaded with many talented players including the usual top players like Brandon Gregor, Stuart Foster, Daniel Vinson and Grant Upchurch. Other standout players who will be there include Ernest Herrera, Ernest Monarca, Frank Stockton, Matt Longoria, and Christina Espinoza. Folks, I could do this all day...add Bella Surprenant, Shane Creek, Bobby and Braiden Fink to the list of strong players. Not to mention all the young studs like Preston Peacock, Austin McCuistion, Logan Baker, Ryan Ancil, Stephen Furhman, Angel Cruz and Jon White. All of these youngsters have been throwing really well and can't be overlooked. Speaking of players throwing well, Jim Abdella, Justin Fowler, Donnie Greer, Matt Ball, Grant Duffy and Roel Salinas also have been playing well here of late. There are many others that are throwing some serious heat and I'm certain some will make their names known this weekend. I don't know many of the players from West Texas but I have a feeling we all will soon! The Competitive and Social Divisions will have several new up and coming players trying to establish themselves and as was the case in Bryan/College Station, these two Divisions should have a record numbers of players.

It's going to be exciting y'all and certainly not an event you will want to miss out on. I look forward to seeing you all this weekend and I hope you all are safe in your travels. 

Hold on tight and bad, I slipped into Rodeo mode...Throw 'em straight y'all!

Monday, November 30, 2020

TCL Faces in the Crowd

For those who have attended and/or played in a TCL Signature or Conference event, you may have at some point crossed paths with J. D. Thompson. He is one of the guys who is behind the score table doing a little, no, make that a lot of everything! He calls out matches, answers questions...lots of questions and runs multiple brackets, just to mention a few tasks he performs. Thompson is a vital piece to the TCL puzzle and his hard work and efforts are appreciated more than he will ever know.

Raised in New Philadelphia, OH, Thompson was a four year Varsity basketball player for the Fighting Quakers. He attended Wright State and was a walk on for the Raider basketball team before tearing his ACL. He went on to become an Engineer and moved to Mansfield in 2006 to work at Lockheed Martin. He spent most of his career there developing Guidance Navigation and Controls systems for Air Defense missiles...y'all, J D is a stinking Rocket Scientist!!!  

In 2012 he and a buddy started C4C, (Caring for Community but also referred to it as Cornhole for Community) and hosted a fund raising tournament for a local family in need. They had 17 teams raising nearly $2000.00 and decided they wanted to do it more often. Since then they have been a part of giving away about $90,000.00!! Wowser!

He doesn't typically play many events but I believe I've heard rumblings on the streets that he will be playing in Mesquite! Do not take him lightly, he can fill it up folks! 

If you see him, give him a high five or some knuckles and tell him thanks for all he does. He's very deserving!

Till next time, Y'all stay safe and throw 'em straight!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Dallas Fall Conference Event Recap - Tyler, Tx never fails!

Out in East Texas there are a gazillion Pine trees just about as far as you can see. Nestled twixt a bunch of them in Tyler, TX is a Indoor Soccer Center. This venue has hosted several TCL events and after the last TCL Signature Event, it was considered to be too small to handle the large amount of players. The TCL growth had taken it's toll on yet another outstanding venue. With TCL coming up with another unique format for tournaments, this venue was the perfect spot! TCL's first ever Super Regional was held October 17th and man oh man what an outstanding event!

With several Regions playing host to the Dallas Conference Event, one may have expected a nice turnout. Over 200 Players representing regions from Dallas, East Texas, Rose City, North Texas, North East Texas, Marshall, Rockwall, Hunt County, Oil City, Bonham, DDD, and East Texas Underground battled it out in Tyler and made this TCL Super Regional one to remember. Even more impressive than the number of players may have been the $10,000 in payouts! Yep, not a bad day huh! 

Jerry Crocker representing Oil City beat Dustin Stewart of the Bonham Region to win the Social Singles Championship. Jay Humphrey from Rockwall finished 3rd just ahead of Jeff Henderson while John Hammonds of NE Texas and Tony Jaure from Dallas tied for 5th.

Jeff Daniels and Dustin Stewart came back through the losers bracket to double dip Cassie Kraemer and Denise McEvoy to win the Social Doubles title. Daniels and Stewart, who both play in the Bonham Region, lost in the winners quarter finals and then won several games to get back to the finals. Kraemer and McEvoy, both out of North Texas won 6 straight matches including a nail biter with the 3rd place team of Mandy Hernandez and Desirae Cruz, before losing to Daniels and Stewart. Hernandez and Cruz play in the Dallas Region and also had a really good showing.

In Open Singles Ernest Herrera from Dallas beat J. C. Nekuza to get the win. Nekuza had been throwing really well all day but couldn't put it together against Herrera. After losing to Herrera in the winners semi final, Dallas' Nekuza beat a red hot Matt Ball, Joe Arrington and then disposed of Austin Thompson to get back to face Herrera. Thompson, who finished 3rd and Ball who came in 5th both play in the North East Texas Region, and had great runs in this event. Arrington finished a respectable 4th losing only to Thompson and Nekuza.

Open Doubles had Brandon Gregor and Daniel Vinson facing Ernest Monarca and Matt Longoria in the all Dallas final with Gregor and Vinson pulling out the win. Armando Trejo and Christina Espinosa came in third while Jason Andrews and J.C. Nekuza finished 4th. Taylor Stone and Joe Arrington along with Mason Terry and Stuart Foster tied for 5th.

The Dallas Conference Super Regional was outstanding with plenty of strong competition in each Division. Did I mention that this little East Texas Event paid out $10,000? Isn't that crazy!! The bar has been set pretty high for other conferences and I certainly expect the next Super Regional to be just as exciting.

Until next time, Y'all keep chunkin' em'!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

TCL Signature Series I Recap - ELECTRIC!!

On April 15, 1985, an historical boxing match took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV. It was considered by many to be one of the greatest matches of all time due to the breakneck pace of action, drama and violent back and forth exchanges. The match included the Undisputed World Middleweight Champion"Marvelous" Marvin Hagler and Challenger Thomas "Hitman" Hearns, both riding huge waves of success before this battle. Normally a slow starter, Hagler stormed Hearns from the opening bell landing several devastating rights. Hearns weathered the onslaught and countered with a few big right hands and a smashing uppercut that stunned the Champ. This tremendously violent pace continued throughout the first round causing Al Bernstein to say this was "perhaps the best opening round in history". Both fighters amazingly connected on over 100 power punches with the judges scorecards being split. The pace slowed for round two and eventually a third round barrage of rights were just too much for Hearns and the fight was stopped.

On September 11-12, Texas Cornhole League held their first Signature Event of the year in Bryan/College Station at the Brazos County Expo. For those in attendance, it may have felt as if they had witnessed a huge title fight themselves. In fact, they might as well have watched a complete card of  title fights as the back and forth action and big shots thrown by several participants seemed to be non stop.

The fireworks started in the Social Division with Tony Jaure beating Dakota Regan in an outstanding singles final. Tony beat Dakota in the first round of the event and all Regan did was battle his way all the way through the losers bracket to force a rematch with Jaure. Tony breezed through the winners side and was undefeated until Dakota won the first game of the final 21-20. Regan was up big however Jaure found something and began a furious comeback in the deciding match. Tony ultimately won 21-16 sealing the win with a Big Tex.

Preston Peacock beat Trish Trejo to win the Competitive Singles doing so, in dramatic fashion. Trejo earned a spot in the Kings Seat following some impressive wins over Dario Lopez, Anthony Galindo, Austin Thompson, Justin Manley, and Jon White. Peacock lost a winners semi final match then won his way back to the finals where he would face the red hot Trejo. Peacock carried some serious momentum aided by his boisterous fans and won the first game convincingly setting up a very exciting final. With Trish leading 18-17, Peacock  took advantage of a couple of rare Trejo misses and slammed the door shut with a Big Tex to nail down the win. 

In another exciting match Blake Holly beat Will Davis in the Open Tier 2 Singles final. In the deciding game, Holly was in a bind. With the last bag of the frame and ahead 18-15, Holly nailed a huge airmail dragging in 3 bags to earn a wash with Davis and extend the game. The crowd, still in a frenzy over Holly's heroic shot, watched on as Holly got 3 points the following round to secure the hard earned victory.  

Open Singles had Brandon Gregor facing a hot throwing Dean Parker who had lost to Gregor in the winners semi final. Parker then beat Grant Upchurch, Bella Surprenant and Austin McCuistion to set up the rematch. After losing the first game, Gregor came out on fire in the final game and put Parker away to get the win.

Doubles had several exciting matches with a few coming down to the last bag. In Competitive Doubles Austin Thompson and Derek Young held a 19-18 lead, however Ben Glendenning's last bag was the game winner as he and partner Dacota Dennis won the marathon match. Dennis and Glendenning won the best 2 of 3 match then won the deciding game. This was a really fun match to watch as both teams were throwing exceptionally well. Some definite up and comers here folks!

Open Doubles Tier 1 had Steven Youngblood and Stephen Furhmann beating Craig Conser and Donnie Greer in a thrilling final. Both teams threw some great bags beating some very strong teams in route to the finals. With the crowd several people deep all around the championship boards, it seemed as if every made shot was cheered louder and louder. This game had several big shots and ultimately Youngblood and Furhman made enough to get the win.

Tier 1 Social Doubles had Ryan Derkowski and Marshall Brunson outlasting Todd Cope and Paul Moore while Larry Strider and McGwire Macky beat Aaron Smith and Megan Meaux in the Social Tier 2 Doubles finals. Both of these matches were very close and well played. 

In the tournaments last match, the vibe in the crowd was electric as Grant Upchurch and Steve Stowe sat in the King's seat. They faced a hot throwing J C Nekuza and Jason Andrews who had just beat Chad Jacobson and Joe Arrington to earn a spot in the finals. Jacobson and Arrington beat Andrews and Nekuza earlier in the winners semi-finals however Jason and J C found their stroke and weren't going to be denied this day. Andrews and Nekuza won the first 2 games of the finals to force a deciding game and were ahead 19-14 and seemingly in control. Upchurch wouldn't go away and scored a big 6 spot on Andrews to give them a 20-19 lead. The standing room only crowd had seen a tremendous amount of great shots throughout this match but what happened next may have been the ultimate shot. Stowe had a bag on the board and another near the hole. J C had one on the board as well and one bag left in his hand. He looked at Andrews who nodded his approval...J C could've boarded his bag for a wash to extend the game but he wasn't having any of that. He turned and glanced at the score tower and with absolute ice in his veins, turned loose a perfect dagger of an air mail that barely made a sound as it swished through the hole giving he and Andrews the thrilling win. A massive tournament ending knockout punch that followed with a huge roar from the crowd. It was one of the most exciting endings of any game many had witnessed. 

This event was one of the most competitive Signatures I've seen in a while and I can only imagine what Abilene has in store in December. Stay tuned folks, it's going to be another barnburner!! Keep your eyes open as I will soon be spotlighting some Regional Directors and various players.

Till next time, throw 'em straight y'all!