Pool party pals

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Owen man takes top honors at national billiards tournament

By Brian Blair

To say John Brumback likes billiards would be an understatement.

He began playing the game when he was 11 years old. He began to get serious about it around the age of 15. He spent the last two years practicing 10 to 12 hours a day.

Saturday, all of his hard work and dedication paid off.

Brumback walked away with the All-Around Title from the Derby City Classic. The tournament took place at the Horseshoe Casino near New Albany, Ind. It began Jan. 23 and ended Saturday night.

In winning the event, Brumback picked up a sizable check and also free entry and free hotel accommodations for the rest of his life to the tournament.

The tournament consists of three events: bank, one pocket and nine ball.

Brumback won the bank and finished 10th in both one pocket and nine ball to win the all-around title by a half a point.

The win is significant because the Derby City Classic has the largest field of any tournament in the country with around 300 total competitors. The All-Around Title has only existed for the last 11 years. With his win, Brumback became only the seventh person in the world to hold the title and just the fourth American to claim the crown.

Brumback was not the only competitor from Owen County to take part in the tournament. Casey Pierson, Larry Howard, Brad Dunavent, Jeremy Goodrich and Danny Morgan also took part.

Morgan, who has played in the Classic for four years, reached the second round in bank.

Goodrich reached the third round in bank in his fourth appearance at the event.

Pierson, making his third appearance, reached the third round in Bank. Dunavent, playing in his second Classic, reached the seventh round of bank.

Morgan reached the second round of bank and also took part in one pocket while playing in his first Classic.

The six men got together Sunday night at Pierson’s house to watch the Super Bowl and relive some of the big moments from last week.

Joining them at the house was Shannon “The Cannon” Daulton from Pulaski County. Daulton, who is a world-class pool player, has become friends with the men after facing them in competition throughout the years. Daulton and Brumback have developed a friendship despite being rivals as two of the best players from Kentucky.

Daulton won the All-Around Title at the Derby City Classic in 2001.

Pierson’s home is not only a gathering place to watch big football games but is also the place where the guys get together to practice their craft.

The guys figure that they spend three or four nights a week playing pool in the basement. How long those nights last may be up for argument.

Brumback figures the six of them play about six or seven hours every time they get together. Pierson says that it has been known to be daylight again before they call it quits.

These weekly sessions are not only fun but beneficial as everyone gets the chance to learn a few things from the man who holds a coveted title in billiards.

Along with the money and other prizes, Brumback also hopes that the win will help him gain some endorsements. He said he has already been given an automatic entry into the U.S. Open in Chesapeake, Va. The tournament is a nine-ball tournament featuring some of the best players in the world.

As for how much football the guys watched on Sunday night, Brumback said, “I would rather play pool than watch football.”