Thomas Cooke dodged a few major ‘bullets’ and came back from a hot-seat loss to double dip a junior player in the finals of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour stop at Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC on the weekend of Sept. 28-29. It was, at least as far as our records indicate, not only Cooke’s first victory on the tour, but his first cash payout at any major event anywhere. The $500-added event drew 20 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s.
 
Among the ‘bullets’ he dodged (did not play) were tour regulars BJ Ussery, Barry Mashburn and Anthony Mabe. Junior competitor and runner-up Josh Shultz was unable to dodge two ‘bullets,’  but fired back and on the winners’ side of the bracket, defeated both Ussery and JT Ringgold (the tour’s most prolific event winner), who, together on the loss side of the bracket, advanced to a marquee matchup in the quarterfinals. Ringgold had his six-match, loss-side streak ended by Cooke in the semifinals.
 
With the tour’s ‘heavy hitters’ already at work on the loss side, Cooke and Shultz advanced to the winners’ side semifinals; Cooke facing Jack Whitfield and Shultz meeting David Givens. Cooke battled Whitfield to a deciding 11th game in their double hill match, before advancing to the hot seat match. Shultz downed Givens 6-2. Shultz took the first of his three versus Cooke 6-3 and waited in the hot seat for him to return.
 
Over on the loss side, Ussery and Ringgold were waiting for Whitfield and Givens, respectively. Ringgold had most recently defeated Reene Driskill and Barry Mashburn, both 11-3, to draw Givens. Ussery had shut out Anthony Mabe and defeated Gerry Shepherd 12-2 to face Whitfield.
 
Ussery and Ringgold advanced to the marquee quarterfinals; Ringgold 11-4 over Givens and Ussery, 12-4 over Whitfield. Ussery was a little ‘off,’ apparently, and when they returned the following day to play that quarterfinal match, Ringgold won it 11-4.
 
Ringgold was apparently not at the top of his game, either, as, racing to 11, he fell 5-5 to Cooke in the semifinals. With Shultz racing to 6 in the finals, Cooke took the opening set 5-4 and won the second set 5-3 to claim the event title.
 
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (October 5-6), will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by The Clubhouse in Lynchburg, VA.
 
The Tour is heading into a busy part of its schedule, with a number of high profile events between now and Christmas, beginning with its (9-ft table) Tour Championships on October 26 at Randolph’s Billiards in Hickory, NC. The bar table Tour Championships will be held December 19 at Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.
 
The month of November will be particularly busy with the tour’s first One Pocket invitational tournament, which has already been sold out. Scheduled for November 16-17, the event will be hosted by Speakeazy Billiards in Sandford, NC. A week later, at the same location, the tour will host the NC State 10-Ball Open, sponsored in part by Doug Beasley Custom Cues. A Scotch Doubles Tournament, scheduled for Thanksgiving Day weekend (Nov. 30-Dec.1) will be hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC. Tour patrons should monitor the tour’s Facebook pages for further information about these and upcoming tournaments.