By Samm Diep, PoolTipJar.com © January 2009
On Saturday, January 17, 2009, Rack ‘Em Billiards in Aurora, Colorado hosted their second qualifier for the National Championship Series. The top two finishers qualify for the NCS 8-Ball Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada held February 13-15 at the Golden Nugget.
Though the 10 player turnout was smaller than hoped for, the caliber of the players present was largely impressive. The last men standing were two ‘young’ men from Albuquerque, New Mexico. They drove six and half hours the previous day just to compete for their shot at an entry to Vegas. In the end, their gamble paid off.
22-year-old up-and-comer, Tommy Tokoph and 17-year-old juniors champ, Nick “The Stick” Tafoya worked their way through their respective brackets to meet up for the driver’s seat match. Tokoph would ultimately take that match 6-4, to secure his admission to Vegas.
This would leave Tafoya facing Colorado’s own top player, Andrew “ATM” Pettinger who was sent to the one-loss side earlier by Tokoph.Pettinger had just eliminated Tafoya’s 15-year-old brother Mark and was hoping for a Tafoya-repeat. The winner of their match would be heading to Vegas with Tokoph. The spectators were not disappointed as the players traded racks in a speedy fashion until the score was hill-hill after only 30 minutes. In the final game, Tafoya broke and, in less than three minutes, thoughtfully picked through the rack for the set and his spot in the NCS Championship.
Matches on the feature table were being streamed live all day on the Rack ‘Em Billiards channel on Ustream.tv. Broadcasting was made possible with support from local businesses, Delta-13 and PoolDawg.com. Two Delta-13 racks and a PoolDawg cue & case were raffled off at the end of the day. Rack ‘Em plans to continue the live streaming at upcoming events.