Team USA Downs Team Europe in World Cup of Trick Shots
The World Cup of Trick Shots was held October 29 at Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, CT, where Team USA claimed the title over Team Europe in the fourth annual international team competition in the sport of trick shots. The prize purse was $30,000 for the event, with $20,000 and gold medals to the winning team.
Captain Andy Segal, who recently won the trick shot Magic challenge, led Team USA to victory and the gold medal. Other Team USA members were Tom Rossman, Mike Massey, and Bruce Barthelette. Silver medalists from Team Europe included Captain Stefano Pelinga, Nick Nickolaidis, Luke Szywala, and Ralph Eckert. Their team also won $10,000.
The format for World Cup consisted of eight artistic show shots by both teams in a match. Team members executed a challenge shot of their choice, and their opponents were required to duplicate the shot or lose a point. In the semifinals, with two members from each team, the players alternated shots in four player head-to-head matches, performing intricate trick shots meant to stymie their opponents. A sudden death tie-breaker to decide a match required an eight-rail bank shot onto the face of a $100 bill. The championship finals match pitted all eight members of Teams America and Europe in the wildest shootout of the year.
In the first semifinal, Team USA players Rossman and Massey prevailed over Team Europe members Pelinga and Szywala by a score of 8-5. The other semifinal saw Team Europe artists Nikolaidis and Eckert slip past Team USA players Segal and Barthelette 7-4 in a tight match. The winning team in each semifinal carried a one-point bonus forward into the final match.
The finals, featuring alternate challenge shots by the eight players of both teams was a back-and-forth seesaw with Team Europe struggling to narrow the score. Team USA steadily held a slight lead and finally closed out the championship match by a score of 8-5. The overall score for the tournament was a down-to-the-wire victory of 20-17 for Team USA.
The standing-room-only crowd gave Team USA a rousing ovation at the conclusion of the championship match. The gold medals and the team check were presented by Mohegan Sun and Fusion Billiard Tables. The presentations brought another round of cheers from the audience.
In addition to the fine tournament site at Mohegan Sun, the event was sponsored by Fusion Billiard Tables, Aramith Tournament Billiard Balls, Simonis Cloth, Mueller Recreational Products, Executive Billiards, and Silver Cup Chalk. The WPA-sanctioned event was produced by Billiards International, Ltd.