Legends and Champions Pool Tour is heading East

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Legends and Champions Pool Tour will be heading toward the East Coast in March announced Mark Cantrill (AKA T-Wheels). This leg of the tour will be a little different than usual, Earl Strickland is working in Japan for most of March and so I have had to find another Legend and Champion to join Johnny (The Scorpion) Archer. The answer was easy, 8 time World Champion, the only player to win back to back US Open titles, Has won a World title in almost every discipline including Straight Pool, 1 Pocket, Banks, 8-Ball and 9-ball, He is a member of the Hall of Fame (The Kentucky Colonel), Nick Varner. We are very happy and excited to have Nick join us on our travels and believe he will be a great addition to The Legends and Champions Pool Tour.

Nick Varner is well known for his teaching ability and his ability to make exhibitions a fun experience for all spectators, so with his credentials and experience along with Johnny Archer’s credentials and talents this leg of the tour will be a treat for all pool and billiards enthusiasts..
The Pool Schools will keep the same pricing and format. 12 Students max per class in 2 groups of 6 and each group will spend 2 hours with Johnny Archer and 2 hours with Nick Varner. The fee for the amazing opportunity is only $200.00 per person.

Each stop will be hosting an exhibition with both Archer and Varner that will include trick shots, stroke shots stories, a mini challenge match between Archer and a local House Pro, local Champion or maybe Archer Vs Varner. There will also be opportunities for spectators to play on either team Archer or Team Varner in a rack of scotch doubles (8 drawings). Obviously at the end of the night Johnny and Nick will be available to sign cues & memorabilia and take pictures with the spectators.

Below is the schedule for March, if you would like to sign up for a pool school or simply have questions please feel free to contact Mark Cantrill at cantrillmark@yahoo.com or by phone at 480-612-7732.

Mon March 9th = Exhibition-8..00pm at KB Billiards -Baltimore, MD (Elkridge)
Tuesday March 10th = Pool School -11.00am to 3.00pm at KB Billiards (Elkridge)
Thursday March 12th = Pool School -11.00am to 3.00pm at Side Pockets - Laurel, MD
Friday March 13th = Exhibition -8.00pm at The Playing Field - Richmond, VA
Saturday March 14th = Pool School - 11.00am to 3.00pm at The Playing Field - Richmond, VA
Sunday March 15th = Pool School - 11.00am to 3.00pm at Rockaway Billiards - Rockaway, NJ
Sunday March 15th = Exhibition - 8.00pm at Rockaway Billiards - Rockaway, NJ
Tuesday March 17th = Pool School - 11.00am to 3.00pm at Down east Billiards - Ellsworth, ME
Tuesday March 17th = Exhibition - 7.30pm at Down east Billiards - Ellsworth, Me

A sport where age is not a factor

Monday, November 24, 2008

In my view, billiards is one sport where age does not matter in order for one to excel.

As a matter of fact, several former winners of the prestigious World 9-Ball Pool Championship, like Americans Earl Strickland and Johnny Archer, Chinese Taipei’s Chao Fong-pan, Germany’s Ralf Souquet and local idols Efren “Bata” Reyes, Alex Pagulayan and Ronnie Alcano, may be considered old for an athlete, yet they are good for some more years.

While it is true that there are other sports such as chess and marathon where age does not also matter, it is on record that a Filipino is yet to become a world champion in these sports. In billiards, the Philippines has already produced three world champions.

Hall of Famer Reyes was already 45 when he captured the world crown in Cardiff, Wales, in 1999. He is now 54.

Supported by brothers former Assemblyman Jose “Popit” Puyat and Aristeo “Putch” Puyat, the toothless “Magician” is an original member of the powerhouse Puyat Sports stable that includes the 58-year-old Jose “Amang” Parica, Francisco “Django” Bustamante, 44; and 50-year-old Rodolfo “Boy Samson” Luat, who topped the recent Sen. Manny Villar Cup in Bacolod City.

Pagulayan, the 2004 world champion and 2005 US Open winner, is the latest addition to the team.

“His (Reyes) style is so drastically different,” once said the legendary Nick Varner, a two-time Billiards Digest Player of the Year. “He attracts a lot of attention. And he has a big impact on the way we Americans play the game.”

On the other hand, double world champion Alcano, who bagged the 2006 world 9-ball crown and the 2007 world 8-ball title, is now 35. Pagulayan, who won the 2004 world 9-ball and 2005 US Open crowns, is pushing 29.

Veteran internationalist Strickland is now 47, but still going strong. He won the world 9-ball title three times, in 1990, 1991 and 2002. Archer, 40, captured the championships twice, in 1992 and 1997.

On the other hand, two-time champion Chao, a contemporary of Reyes, took the crown in 1993 and 2000, while Souquet won it in 1996. Both are nearing 60, yet they are still capable of punishing young talents with their arsenals of flawless breaks, silk-smooth runs and merciless safeties.

Stickland and Jones fill out Team USA

Friday, October 31, 2008

Matchroom Sport can announce that the final two spots on the American side for the forthcoming PartyCasino.com Mosconi Cup will be filled by South Carolina’s Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones (Texas).

Both players line up in an American team that is hoping to win the Mosconi Cup outright for the first time since 2005. Taking place at the Hilton Hotel, Portomaso, St Julians, Malta from December 11 – 14, the event features two five-man teams playing a series of singles and doubles matches over four days.

Strickland, 47, is playing in his 13th consecutive Mosconi Cup, a record for the event, and has won a fantastic 37 points from 56 matches. ‘The Pearl’ insists that he will be back to his imperious best come December, having put the health issues that dogged him a few years ago very much behind him.

“I’m not just a pool player, I’m an athlete,” said an ebullient Strickland.

“I’m running four miles every morning and doing 500 sit ups a day and I’m practicing seven to eight hours a day.

“I’m a more intelligent player than most of these guys, I’m working hard and I think I’m close to being back to my very best.

“The Mosconi Cup is my kind of tournament and I’m looking forward to doing my best for the USA in Malta.”

Despite his well-documented bust-ups at the Mosconi Cup, Strickland’s record in the event is the best of the 61 players who have participated in the competition in its 14 year history.

Joining Strickland, Archer, Van Boening and Morris will be Jeremy Jones, who at 36 will be making his seventh Mosconi Cup appearance. ‘Double J’ sports an impressive 16 wins from 28 starts and made his debut back in 1999 when the USA won 12-7 at the York Hall in London.

Jones has enjoyed a revival this year with a third place finish at the Predator International 10 Ball Championship back in May. Then in June, he followed that up with a long-awaited victory in the Generationpool.com Open in Charlotte.

These results and others were enough to propel the likable Texan up to fourth in the BCA Points List and secure his Mosconi Cup spot.

Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn said, “In all the sports that I have promoted over the years, aside from the boxer Chris Eubank, there has been no other sportsman who has got the public going more than Earl Strickland.

“Some love him, plenty hate him but he is one of the greatest players to have ever held a cue stick and when it comes to entertainment, he has few rivals.

“The Mosconi Cup has always been Earl’s playground – he won MVP honours in Las Vegas in 2005 – and when he’s on form, the Europeans will know all about it.

“Jeremy Jones has a great record in the event and it is gratifying to see him play his way back into contention. He completes a very strong looking American side and I am expecting a fierce battle in December.”

This year will see the 15th running of pool’s answer to the Ryder Cup and the current score stands at 10 ½ - 3 ½ to the Americans.

The official sponsors of the 2008 Mosconi Cup are PartyCasino.com, Brunswick Tables, Simonis Cloth, Super Aramith Pro Balls and Predator Cues.

A range of superb value hotel and ticket packages are available from the Official Mosconi Cup Travel Agents www.alleventsmalta.com

The Peral on Viking Cue 9-Ball Tour

Saturday, September 6, 2008

earl_strickland_03 Viking National Championship Underway

The Viking Cue National Championship is underway with 110 players at Palace Billiards in Villa Park, IL.

Round one is underway with one major upset as Larry Nevel dropped his opening round match to Eric Lundgren. Top seeds Ronnie Wiseman, John Schmidt, Niels Feijen and Shawn Putnam all advanced relatively untested.

Troy Frank and Shannon Daulton advanced with first round byes, while defending champion Earl Strickland had yet to play this match at the time of this report.

Breakin’ Balls: WW intern learns from “The Pearl” and “The Scorpion”

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Earl “The Pearl” Strickland is a five-time world champion billiards player and practices every day. I play a couple times a month and never without beer. Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer breaks an eight-ball rack like he is having savage, powerful sex. I break a rack like your baby sister.

Among the estimated 270,000 members of the American Poolplayers Association, Archer and Strickland are legends. Together, they have won six U.S. Open Nine-ball Championships since 1984. In the late ’90s, Billiards Digest named Archer its Player of the Decade. And Strickland once won $1 million at a professional cuesports tournament. I’m a barroom hack lucky to make two balls in a row.

But I got to play recently with Archer and Strickland, who are traveling the West Coast giving four-hour pool lessons to players willing to shell out $200 a pop. They say they can dramatically improve my game in one lesson.

I’m skeptical. What can they do in four hours? WW sent me to find out. Class was at Sam’s Hollywood Billiards in Northeast Portland, a pool hall gracious enough to pick up my $200 tab (consider things even with this mention). Even at 11 am, people other than the 12 of us here for lessons hover around the bar rail, their cigarette smoke wafting around the neon beer signs overhead.

There are no women is only one woman among the dozen students, which bar manager Jason Moore says is unusual because “pool is pretty universal.” We are split into two groups, getting two hours with each pro. My group gets Strickland first.

Strickland, 47, is not a good teacher. He reminds me of Will Ferrell’s film persona Ron Burgundy, if Burgundy played nine-ball. Strickland wears faded black pants, a golf polo and worn white sneakers. He has blond hair and a thin mustache. He tells us he will “fix our bridges.”

Translation: He will adjust our anchor hands the ones on the table. After about 20 minutes, he concludes of my group: “You all cannot excel at this sport. You’re just not talented enough.” Strickland and I clash. I botch my first few shots and he sends me to play at a corner table, a billiards timeout. As I practice alone, I hear him compare himself to Tiger Woods.

I quickly realize I am dealing with a rare breed of human, a narcissist with an affinity for verbal abuse. My favorite one-liner of the day: “My cue is like a Cadillac and y’all are driving Volkswagens.” Turning to me, he adds, “Your cue isn’t worth 10 cents.”

Earl’s Pearl Necklace of Wisdom

earl_strickland_02 Ok, if you didn’t get to see this article about Johnny Archer and Earl Strickland in the Wilamette Week paper, you seriously have to click over and read it.  This is some seriously funny stuff.  For those who don’t trust me (isn’t that just about everyone?) here are a few snips from the article:

“Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer breaks an eight-ball rack like he is having savage, powerful sex. I break a rack like your baby sister.”

“Strickland, 47, is not a good teacher. He reminds me of Will Ferrell’s film persona Ron Burgundy, if Burgundy played nine-ball.”

“I quickly realize I am dealing with a rare breed of human, a narcissist with an affinity for verbal abuse. My favorite one-liner of the day: ‘My cue is like a Cadillac and y’all are driving Volkswagens.” Turning to me, he adds, “Your cue isn’t worth 10 cents.’”

The closing quotes from the article are beyond priceless:

“Archer turns to me and says, “What is it with Portland women?” He is wearing a black T-shirt that says “The Scorpion” on the front and back, and he is drinking a Bud Light.

“What do you mean?” I say.

“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind hefty women, but I would say 95 percent of the girls in this town have bellies that are too close to the dinner table.”

“Careful, motherfucker, he’s writing a story on you,” says Cantrill.

“Think I give a fuck? What’s he gonna say, ‘Johnny don’t like hefty women?’”

Johnny don’t like hefty women.”

Legends and Champions Pool Tour Texas Bound

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Today, Mark Cantrill (AKA T-Wheels) announced the next leg of the Legends and Champions Pool Tour.  “We have had great successes in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon and Washington so far. So due to popular demand we will be taking the Pool School and exhibition tour to the Lone Star State in September, said Cantrill.

Both Johnny, Earl are as excited as ever to come to Texas. “We know there is a great pool and billiards community in Texas and we really want to be a part of it” said Strickland.

The pool schools will be limited to a maximum of 12 students per class, these 12 students will be divided into two groups of six. Each group of six will spend 2 hours with Johnny (The Scorpion) Archer and 2 hours with Earl (The Peal) Strickland. This format gives the students of all levels the one on one instruction they deserve from each of the pros. The fee for this four hour school is only $200.00 per person. If you would like to attend any of the pool schools in your area please contact Mark Cantrill at cantrillmark@yahoo.com please be sure to add your direct phone or cell number for confirmation and the location of the school you wish to attend.

There will also be Exhibitions in the evening performed by both Johnny and Earl in most locations, our exhibitions consists of Trick shots ( not the ones you see on TV), a stroke shot exhibition (something you just have to see to appreciate) fun stories from the road, a chance for spectators to pair up with either Johnny or Earl in a Scotch Doubles Challenge match (usually 8 drawings) , a race to 6 against a local house pro or champion and of course pictures and autographs with the pros to end the night. Please  look out for more information on these exhibitions.