Nearly 400 youth competitors look for their lucky break

Megan Lynch
July 05, 2018 - 6:00 am
Billiard balls in a blue pool table

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St. Louis, MO (KMOX) - Hundreds of kids hoping for their big break in St. Louis this week.

They're trying to prove they're the top poolplayers in North America.

A teenager circles a pool table, planning angles with his stick.

 

Announcer: "This young guy can play... ...this is his hardest shot he's got... is he going to get a break?  Ooooh... almost a trick shot."

 

That's Tom - "Dr. Cue" - Rossman announcing a match at last year's American Poolplayers Association Junior Poolplayer Championships.

Based in Lake Saint Louis, Missouri, the APA is the governing body for some 300 amateur leagues across the U-S, Canada and Japan.

A significant portion are youth players -- this week you'll see kids as young as 7 chalk up their cues.

 

"386 kids, 28 states.  We've got about two dozen kids coming from Canada.  We've got kids coming from as far away as California, Oregon, Florida, so really a great representation from throughout North America," says APA Marketing Director Jason Bowman.

The junior championships have been held in Davenport Iowa the last four years.  Bowman says they've moved it to St. Louis this year because the region is so family friendly.   "Just because of all the opportunities here locally.  Things for kids to do.  All the local attractions like the Zoo and City Musuem and the Magic House, Ted Drewes, the list goes on and on.  So many things for them to do here and that was really one of the primary motivators for moving this event from Davenport to St. Louis."

The competitors will be playing 9 ball.  They have to sink the balls -- in order -- from 1 to 9.

Bowman says some of the teens have impressive skills.  "The more advanced players they're going to be more proficient with the bank shots... ...they're going to be more consistent with their break shots, meaning their pocketing."

 

This tournament sets the best players up for international competition.  "Some of these players go on to play in an event called the Atlantic Cup which features five of the top players from the United States competing with five of the top players from Europe."

 

Bowman says the APA has transformed the ball rooms at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel into massive billiard halls with nearly three dozen tables.  The tournament runs through Sunday.  

Click here for a link to livestream the final rounds.