Capital City Classic keeps rolling along

Juneau's annual billiards tournament added a women's bracket this year

Posted: Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What started as 74 contests culminated in four intense championship matches on Sunday in last week's Juneau Billiards Association's Capital City Classic pool tournament.

Sunday's finals of the four-day event at the Viking Lounge featured expert players from throughout Southeast Alaska and Anchorage.

"When the tournament first starts, it's really loud and crazy and there are people everywhere mingling and having a good time," JBA secretary Ken Southerland said. "The finals last night got real serious. They're the last two and playing for dollars. The lights go down, and it gets quiet. Everybody has their cell phones off. We close down all the tables except for one and surround it, and everyone was watching really intently. Lots of good pool watching last night."

The event featured four different categories - doubles, 8-ball, 9-ball and the inaugural women's tournament.

Cash prizes and jackets were awarded to the champions, who had to outlast many competitors to win the grueling event.

"The 8-ball tournament was going until two in the morning, and that was starting at 10 a.m. (the previous day)," Southerland said. "We still had quite a few matches to finish up on Sunday morning. If it grows any larger, it'll be tough to get matches in without running it over multiple days. We always find a way though."

Anchorage's Tom Kitka outlasted Rick Paulo for the 8-ball title.

Kitka nearly walked away with two individual championships, but Larry Hotch battled back from the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tournament to beat Kitka twice for the 9-ball title.

In the doubles competition, David Dunker and Larry West beat Paulo and Hotch in the final to win the championships with an undefeated record.

Margo Cole captured the first women's competition with a victory over Linda Newton on Sunday.

"We decided to do (a women's tournament) kind of the last minute and hold it the same day as the doubles tournament," Southerland said. "It was kind of toned back, but it went really well, so we're thinking about expanding it and starting it on Wednesday and give them their own full day."

Sitka's Dan Whitson won the sportsmanship award while Newton captured the overall women's title, given to the female player with the best showing in all of the different disciplines.

Tournament officials also inducted Jim Scudero into the JBA Capital City Classic Hall of Fame for performance and service to the game of billiards. Scudero joins last year's inductee, Frank Madden, in the Hall of Fame.

The tournament is put on by the Juneau Billiards Association, a pool league in its 14th year of existence. Southerland said the league boasts about 150 members.

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at

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