Lee “Lightning” Brett and Jing Gicoso set new tour records last month. Lee Brett posted a new tour record for Behind the Rock Tour for high score previously set by Tommy Najar back in September of 2011.
Najar’s record was a solid 139 with 5 Snap games, 2 consecutive Snap games, 1 COE and 1 Cut game. Brett crushed Najar’s match statistics with 7 Snap games and 1 COE for a score of 154. If you’ve never played the game 211 before let me tell you these scores are a feat to be reckoned with.
Jing Gicoso set a new record for highest points scored in one game of 21 points and tied the record for the most consecutive snap games of 3. These two scores put Gicoso in for tour title holder for the second and third time in the tour title page. He also has tied the tour record for 3 consecutive Cut games. You can view all the tour records on the website www.behindtherocktour.com. What does all this mean?
This is just an example of what happened last month and the excitement with Behind the Rock Tour (BTRT). BTRT is a weekly national tournament held from any poolroom. BTRT just celebrated its two year anniversary in May and is excited about the national growth over the past 4 months. The tour is currently being played in the states of OR, WA, TX, GA, ID, MD, FL and NY with more rooms getting ready to come on board. Any pool room with 9 foot tables is qualified to be a host location. Players, this is a weekly tournament not league. Players are not required to play each week or they can post as many matches as they’d like to pay and play for. We are currently running 5 divisions with our Advanced and Advanced Scratch divisions just opening up the end of June.
The founder of Behind the Rock Tour (BTRT), Deby Welfringer was inspired to do something for the pool industry after years of watching great players come and go and very little in the industry changing. We (the pool industry) keep doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. We need a change. Ms. Welfringer has been a competitive player all her life including co-founding a women’s amateur tour in the northwest, participating in the women’s regional tours, local and regional open tournaments and the WPBA. Pool is truly a difficult sport that can take a life time to learn. So the question was asked, how do we bring the complete package to the players and spectators? The answer has two parts.
Part 1 is spectators and pool players need to be educated to take them to the next level. This doesn’t mean educate only the player, but we need to educate the spectators to a level that they understand and appreciate this great sport. League is a great way to get new players interested in the sport and it’s a great recreational tool for competition, but pool isn’t about win/loss. Pool is about skill combined with creativity and that’s why we all love the sport. In addition to players that want an avenue to up their skills at the game we have a whole group of players that are stuck somewhere between league and professional caliber. This tour was designed as a grooming ladder for players to climb as their skills improve. This tour was built for the players that want something more from their game. Maybe a player plays at a high level, but has a job and a family and can’t afford to take a week off work 6-8 times a year to play pool. Now they can compete with players their caliber without having to go far from home or spend days away from the job or family. Players can compete in a larger tournament which only takes 1-1/2 hours a night to play and get home in time to go to work the next day.
Part 2 the answer is technology. With technology and the resources now available to us she has taken advantage of those tools and combined them with our great sport. We now have a virtual tournament utilizing technology to enhance our industry and this is how it’s done. We have a robust website that handles everything. Remote pool rooms upload weekly matches to the website and all tournament results, handicaps and player’s rankings are calculated right on the website. BTRT is currently only in the USA, but this format allows us the capacity to hold world wide events. This could be weekly, monthly or annually. Can you image a weekly world wide event? With this format it is possible. Here’s where the tour is today.
BTRT is a weekly national (USA) competition run out of local pool rooms. The intent of the tour is to support the rooms with 9 foot tables to keep the game where it belongs and educate the players about the sport. Each week pool rooms run their events and players play their matches. By midnight Saturday participating locations upload matches to www.behindtherocktour.com and the tournament is closed. Every Sunday that week’s tournament is calculated, winners are posted and payouts are done every Monday. Every division pays a third of the field and is paid out every week. This allows rooms to have a smaller group of players, but combined with the rest of the national locations each week it turns into a larger event that is competitive according to skill level and very exciting.
Behind The Rock Tour (BTRT) is designed to inspire players to improve their games, provides an educational avenue for players that want to grow and a format that supports the purpose. The format forces players to take a real look at their skill level. Since players do not have an opponent all excuses are removed, bad rolls no longer exist and it’s only up to the player to perform. This format helps to identify problem skills, highlight personal great performances and so many other things that we didn’t expect for example: a shift in mind set, importance of the break in any game, commendatory between the players, player interaction and competition dynamics.
BTRT is designed for all skill levels using a 90% true handicapping system. This handicapping system has never been applied to pool until now. This system lets players that have a personal high performance and shined that week to push up into the money because they are competing against players their own skill level. This means no matter the player’s skill level they could be next week’s winner based on personal performance. BTRT just opened the Advanced and Advanced Scratch division which makes 5 divisions for players to play from: 2 scratch divisions for players just getting started and establishing their averages, Intermediate – 0-30 points (less than three balls per game), the Open division is 30-70 points (players will run an average of 3-7 balls per game or maybe slip in a Snap or Cut game along the way), the Advanced division are players who score over 70 points. The advanced division players are typically players who consistently break and run more than 3 racks out of 11 games. All players start in a scratch division for 6 matches to establish an average and then are moved to a division according to skill level and assigned a true 90% handicap (similar to what works in golf or bowling).
Tri-annual events run every 4 months with a higher entry fee and money added. The next event is scheduled for Aug. 4-5. All rooms will play simultaneously starting at 10:00am PDT. Two rounds are played and matches are uploaded to the website www.behindtherocktour.com. Winners of round 1 are calculated and the top 75% of the field move to the Sudden death round. Sudden death is one match. Matches are uploaded and the top one third of the field goes to the finals on Sunday for 2 matches. This is a very exciting event. Some rooms live stream their matches so other rooms can watch their opponents play and/or they provide a live screen to watch as new matches are completed and posted across the nation. As matches are completed they are uploaded to the website. Players on the west coast can view scores that are coming in on the east coast (and vice/versa). To qualify for the tri-annual events, players need to have played 11 matches during the previous 4 months. Since the Advanced division is new, Advanced players will need 6 matches to qualify for this next tri-annual even Aug. 4.
In “211” player’s play 11 games of 10 ball vs. The Ghost which means players break, take ball-in-hand and run balls in rotation until they foul, miss or run-out. Every ball pocketed scores one point. A Snap, Cut and COE defines they type of run-out a player had. A Snap simply means at least one ball was made on the break and the player ran out. A Cut means the player did not make a ball on the break, took ball-in-hand and ran out, and a COE means in the game following the Cut game he/she did not take ball-in-hand after the break. Brett had a total of 8 break and run games out of 12 games (if you break and run in your 11th game you shoot a 12th game to finish scoring the 11th game). This extraordinary performance by Lee Brett should inspire all players, pro’s and amateurs alike to give the tour a shot.
We encourage all players to join the tour and put your skills to the test. We will be at the Southern Classic Event in Tunica July 20-27th running mini-tournaments if you’d like to come by and take the format for a test drive. Pool rooms we encourage you to provide this format for the players to inspire players to practice, work on their game and support your room. Players if you’re looking for something different and a challenge, this is for you.
If you’d like to play, talk to your local pool room owner and contact us at 253-226-3594 or firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get you playing.
Congratulations Lee Brett and Jing Gicoso on your new Wo