Season Five of the PVA/NWPA National Wheelchair Tournament Series Begins with a Bang in Minnesota

billiards player in a wheelchair playing poolOn October 9-10, 2010, the Minnesota Paralyzed Veterans of America Chapter hosted the first-ever National Wheelchair “Bar Box” 8-Ball Championship at The Billiards Street Café in Fridley, Minnesota.  This tournament was also the first of nine events that will be part of the 5th season of the PVA/NWPA National Wheelchair Tournament Series.  Bill Frisby, NWPA board member, did an excellent job as the tournament coordinator for the event. He did this on behalf of Minnesota PVA, of which he is also a member.

Frisby, as the event’s tournament coordinator, elected to have the National “Bar Box” Championship played as a Rated event, with match race adjustments based on known or observed playing skills of the competitions.  This is also known in the billiard’s world as handicapping.  This is different from most NWPA events where all matches are played without handicapping.  Since the tournament was listed in advance as a Rated event, players were aware of the skills adjustments before deciding whether to play.  And since the event drew the largest field size in recent memory at 31 players (32 was a sell-out), the concept was well accepted.

Players were rated as either A, B or C players.  In the main event, no loss side matches involving 2 “A” rated players were races to 5, with the first player to win 5 games declared the winner. If the match involved an “A” player vs. a “B” player, the race was 5-4, with the winner determined by the first one to win their required number.  An “A” vs. “C” match was a 5-3 race.  A “B” vs. “B” match was 4-4, a “B” vs. “C” match was 4-3, and a “C” vs. “C” match was 3-3.  On the one loss side of the main event brackets, the races were all reduced by 1 game on each side, so the longest match would be an “A” vs. “A” at 4-4 and the shortest match would be 2-2 in a “C” vs. “C” situation.  See the chart below for clarification:

Player Skill Rating

(Main - No Loss Side)

A

B

C

A

5-5

5-4

5-3

B

4-5

4-4

4-3

C

3-5

3-4

3-3

Player Skill Rating

(Main - One Loss Side)

A

B

C

A

4-4

4-3

4-2

B

3-4

3-3

3-2

C

2-4

2-3

2-2

Beginning with coverage in the 4th round of the main event (no loss side), Charlie Hans (A) paired off against Ken Nottle (A) in a 5 to 5 match.  Both players are accomplished “Bar Box” players, so the lopsided win by Nottle of 5 games to 1 over Hans was surprising.   In the other 4th round match, two players, David  Schlapkohl and Darrell Rahn, both new to the NWPA and rated as “B” skill levels based on observation, were set to play a 4-4 race.  Schlapkohl won 4 games to 1 over Rahn.  This set up the 5th round hot seat match between Nottle (A) and Schlapkohl (B) with a 5-4 race.  Schlapkohl showed that he had some good skill by defeating Nottle, 4 games to 1.   This meant that Schlapkohl was placed on hold in the hot-seat until the one-loss side was left with just one player so that the championship match could be played.  The hot seat also guaranteed Schlapkohl a minimum of a 2nd place main event finish in his first ever PVA/NWPA event.  

In the sixth round on the one loss side of the brackets, Chris Parnell (B) faced off against Bill Frisby (A) in a 4-3 race.  Both players had each won 5 previous one-loss side matches to get to that point.  Frisby proved too much for Parnell, winning 4 games to 0.  Parnell finished the event tied in 7th/8th place along with Terry Guess (A), who lost to Eric Jorgenson (B), 3 games to 1 in a 3-4 match race.  Jorgenson would loss in the next round to A player Hans, 4 games to 1.  Jorgenson finished tied for 5th/6th together with Darrell Rahn, who was defeated by Frisby, 4 games to 0. 

Frisby moved on to meet up with Hans for a 4-4 race for these two top level “A” players.  Frisby won 4 games to 1 and Hans finished the event in 4th place.  In another double “A” player match, Frisby squared off against Nottle for a 4-4 race, but Frisby was on a roll and steamed by Nottle, 4 games to 1.  Nottle took home 3rd place honors.

This left just two players for the championship, David Schlapkohl (B) and Bill Frisby (A). The races would be 5-4 and Frisby needing 5 games in each set and he would have to defeat Schlapkhol twice.  Schlapkohl only needed one of the two sets to win.  Frisby would have none of that though, when the first set going his way at 5 games to 1 and the second set quickly following at 5 games to 2.  With those two set victories, Frisby claimed the first National Wheelchair “Bar Box” 8-Ball Championship. 

This was a tough feat all by itself, even tougher when you consider all the distractions “Wild Bill” Frisby must have encountered as the tournament coordinator for this event.  That’s the bang!

In the second flight event, Tom Sunde (B) defeated Mark Jones (A) for this event’s championship title.  Jones finished in 2nd place. John Christenson (B) took 3rd place honors and Wayne Norgard (A) was 4th.

The success of the PVA/NWPA National Wheelchair Billiards Tournament Series is dependent upon the support of its sponsors and those of the PVA and NWPA.  For this event, we would also like to The Billiards Street Café and its owner, Ty Wilson, Minnesota PVA and its volunteers, and Shawn Interrante for serving as tournament director.

Main Event Order of Finish (top 8)

Bill Frisby (A)    1st
David Schlapkohl (B) 2nd
Ken Nottle (A)  3rd
Charlie Hans (A)  4th
Darrell Rahn (B)  5th/6th
Eric Jorgenson (B)  5th/6th
Chris Parnell (B)  7th/8th
Terry Guess (A)  7th/8th 

Second Flight Order of Finish (top 8)

Tom Sunde (B)   1st
Mark Jones (A)  2nd
John Christenson (B) 3rd
Wayne Norgard (A)  4th
Nate Alagaard (C)   5th/6th
Jim Listerud (B)  5th/6th
Moe Chapman (B)  7th/8th
James Glisky (B)  7th/8th  

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