Gem City 10-Ball Classic / Marietta, GA
by Lea Andrews
If you were looking for some of the biggest names in pool the weekend of July 10-12, you needn’t have looked any further than The Marietta Billiard Club in Marietta, GA, site of the much-anticipated Gem City 10-Ball Classic. Out of the full field of 64 players, Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer, who shared the home-court advantage along with room co-owner Kim Davenport, emerged undefeated and victorious to claim his share of the $15,000-guaranteed prize fund.
Archer didn’t have an easy path to the finals, bumping into along the way Nick Varner, Rodney Morris, and Ronnie Wiseman before coming upon Shawn “Big Bubba” Putnam in the quarterfinals. Putnam, who himself had knocked aside Tony Crosby, Chris Bartram, and Keith Bennett, couldn’t do the same to Archer, and he joined the star-studded left side of the bracket. Moving on to the hot seat match, Archer greeted John “Mr. 403” Schmidt, who had warmed up for the match with wins over Mike Fuller, Arlo Walsman, and Larry Nevel, but it wasn’t enough to get past the man of the hour, who was on fire long before taking the hot seat.
On the one-loss side, the big names were dropping off the bracket as they encountered other big names. Mitch Ellerman took down Crosby before getting taken out by Jason Richko, who was himself taken out in the next round by Davenport. Davenport then put out Ronnie Wiseman and Clint McCollough before meeting the obstacle he couldn’t get past: “The Truth.” Nevel’s victory put him in the one-loss quarterfinals, where he encountered Steve Moore, at whose hands many had already met their demise, including Morris, Scotty Townsend, Walsman, Davis—who’d had his own share of one-loss side wins, most notably over Fuller, Bartram, and Fujiwara—and Putnam. Moore continued the trend of taking out the best in the bunch by putting Nevel in fourth 9-7 and backing it up with a 9-6 semifinal win over Schmidt to earn the right to challenge Archer.
The challenge match was a single race to 11, so the fact that Moore had come through the one-loss side after falling to Nevel in the second round had no bearing. But Archer, who hadn’t lost a set all weekend, wasn’t going to let the home team down in the final hour. “The Scorpion” found his mark, taking first-place with a very strong 11-7 win.
1st Johnny Archer $3,500
2nd Steve Moore $2,200
3rd John Schmidt $1,500
4th Larry Nevel $1,000
5th Kim Davenport $800
7th Clint McCollough $600
9th Arlo Walsman $400
13th Jason Richko $300