Kim Pierce, a.k.a. “Texas Heat”, went undefeated among a strong field of 43 semi-professional players during the final stop of this year’s WPBA sanctioned, Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour. San Antonio’s Helen Hayes lost her third-round match, and came back to win 6 consecutive matches, meeting Pierce in the finals. Pierce overcame Hayes in the first and final set, 7-1, securing her first win of the 2016 season.
On November 12th-13th, 2016, some of the most talented women in Texas converged on Fat Racks Sports Bar and Lounge in San Antonio, Texas, for the very first time, to compete in the two-day, $1,000 added 9-ball event finale, vying for a place in the Gulf Coast Tour winners’ circle. Fat Racks’ owners, Daniel and Alice Tarpley, along with tour sponsors Cyclop Pool Balls www.facebook.com/CyclopPoolBalls, Delta-13 Rack www.delta13.com, and the APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, facilitated another successful event for the women of the Gulf Coast Tour, featuring premium equipment, along with the unveiling of their new, official balls, Cyclop Pool Balls. For the first time in its four-year history, the ladies of the Gulf Coast Tour traveled to San Antonio, Texas, their final destination, Fat Racks Sports Bar and Billiards. Local players Kawania Watson and Sophia Lopez were thrilled, that for the first time, a women’s billiard tour visited their neck of the woods. “Finally, there is a Gulf Coast event close to us that we can attend, and it’s a non-smoking venue.” Tour owner and director, Kim Newsome, was excited for the players who had the opportunity to test their skills on the road in San Antonio. “We’re excited at the prospect of having more out-of-town events. Fat Racks was an immaculate venue, and the players couldn’t have been happier. Daniel and Alice Tarpley hosted a first-class tournament which we’ll never forget.” In 2017, the tour will be headed back to Fat Racks in San Antonio, and making its mark on CK Billiards in Dallas, each with $1,000 added 9-ball events.
At this event, the tour welcomed its newest members Tina Williams, Kristin Wilburn, Sophia Lopez, Kawania Watson, Yvette Cox, Celeste Espinosa, Marilina Nieves, Karen Sui, Naomi Garcia, Lisa Bailey, Sherry Gear, Lois Morgado, Hopey Carter, Megan Hardin, Edelina Flores, and Angela Garza. Also new to the tour this year, Monica Detuncq, won the Cyclop Raffle Package, valued at over $775.00. Ricki Casper assembled gift baskets which were given away as door prizes, while Alice and Daniel Tarpley, along with Teresa Garland, provided sweet snacks for the players throughout the weekend. The tour would like to recognize Hopey Carter and Tina Williams, who travelled 6 hours from Shreveport, Louisiana, to compete, and sincerely thank all the players, old and new, who have attended events year after year, making this tour what it is today.
After months of suffering from various health issues, Kim Pierce finally made her presence known at the final stop of 2016, winning an incredible 7 consecutive matches, taking on one of the most competitive fields the Gulf Coast Tour has seen all year. She surged to victory with wins over Jennifer Dooley, Tiffany Mundie, 7-4, Marilina Nieves, 7-1, and Angela Garza, 7-2, while former tour champion Ricki Casper overcame Sophia Lopez, 7-3, Yvette Cox, 7-4, and Megan Hardin, 7-1. Rounding out the final 4 on the winners’ side, Shreveport, Louisiana’s Hopey Carter took the tour by storm, ousting San Antonio’s 13-year old young gun, Aryana Lynch, Diana Cardona, 7-3, and Tam Trinh, 7-6, while Gail Roles took down Teresa Garland, 7-6, Veronica Perez, 7-0, Shreveport’s Tina Williams, 7-4, and former tour champion Gail Eaton, 7-3. On the west side, Bonnie Mason fell to Nieves, 5-4, Kawania Watson eliminated Cardona, 5-1, and Lopez took down Mercedes Vasquez, 5-1. After losing her third round match to Eaton, 7-1, Helen Hayes came back to secure 6 consecutive matches, including wins over Lisa Bailey, Williams, and Hardin. Lynch went on to defeat Nieves, 5-1, Eaton overcame Watson, 5-0, and Lopez took out Garza, 5-4. It was down to the final 8, and the players were fighting for every last ball. Back on the east side, Pierce defeated Casper, 7-5, while Carter overwhelmed Roles, 7-2. Carter, fighting so hard to make her mark, lost the hot seat match to Pierce, 7-4. On the one loss side, Eaton ended Lynch and Casper by the same score, 5-4, while Hayes surpassed Lopez, and Roles, 5-3. Hayes went on to defeat Eaton and Carter, by the same score, 5-3, to meet Pierce for a final showdown. Pierce appeared collected at the table, as if she’d been in this situation a thousand times. Hayes seemed relaxed as well, and it became a matter of who was on their game. As Pierce broke each rack, the sound rang out across the room as fans became hypnotized by the rhythm of her play. It was evident, Pierce was back, and on this particular day, Hayes was no match. Although Hayes played her heart out, she fell short to a determined Pierce in the first set, 7-1. Congratulations to both players on a well-fought event. Finally, the tour would like to recognize 13 year-old Aryana Lynch of San Antonio, Texas, for achieving a 7th-8th place finish, her highest to date. Aryana is currently the youngest player competing in the WPBA Regional Tour System.
Tour veteran, Ricki Casper, added another notch to her belt, becoming the 2016 Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour Champion, for the second consecutive year. For her efforts, Casper will receive a spot in the prestigious WPBA Masters to be held at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, February 1st-5th, 2017. The Gulf Coast Tour ended its year with 76 WPBA player members on the roster which earned them a whopping 32 invites for the annual WPBA Regional Tour Championships to be held at Zingales Billiards in Tallahassee, Florida, on January 12th-15th, 2017.
The Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour is open to players of all ages and skill levels, however, the top 32 WPBA Exempt Professionals are not permitted to participate. The next Gulf Coast Tour 9-ball event will be held on January 7th, 2017, at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar, 3040 FM 1960 E., in Houston, Texas. This event will be played on 9’ tables with Cyclop Pool Balls, TV Sets. Free practice begins at 10am, and the mandatory players’ meeting begins at 11am. For more information about the WPBA sanctioned, Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour, please visit us on Facebook@gulfcoasttour1 and Twitter@gulfcoasttour. The Gulf Coast Tour website, GulfCoastWomensTour.com, is under construction and will be relaunched in January 2017.
The WPBA (Women’s Professional Billiard Association) is the governing body of women’s professional billiards in the U.S., and this year, celebrates its 40th anniversary. The Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour is a sanctioned, WPBA Regional Tour, a part of the grass roots system that feeds the WPBA Pro Billiards Tour. Amateur and semi-professional, female players, who aspire to play women’s professional billiards, must qualify through this elite system in order to attain the sought-after title, WPBA Exempt Professional. Have you ever considered taking your game to the next level, looking for a different challenge? Are you tired of the same old week-in, week-out routines deterring the progress of your game? Is it your dream to play in a pro event, or turn pro? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to find the WPBA Regional Tour nearest you. Exclusively, WPBA Regional Tour Players gain access to WPBA Pro Event Qualifiers and earn valuable WPBA Regional Tour Points which count toward earning invitations to the prestigious WPBA Regional Tour Championship and WPBA Pro Events. Live your dream, support and become a part of, the longest-running, professional billiard organization in the U.S., the WPBA.
If you are interested in starting a WPBA Regional Tour in your area, or participating on a WPBA Regional Tour, please contact the WPBA Office at 1.855.FOR.WPBA or visit www.WPBA.com.
Written By: Kim Newsome
Photos By: Kim Newsome
1st Kim Pierce $630
2nd Helen Hayes $380
3rd Hopey Carter $220
4th Gail Eaton $140
5th-6th Ricki Casper, Gail Roles $80 ea
7th-8th Aryana Lynch, Sophia Lopez $65 ea
9th-12th Marilina Nieves, Kawania Watson, Megan Hardin, Angela Garza $35 ea
13-16th Tina Williams, Mercedes Vasquez, Bonnie Mason, Diana Cardona $25 ea