By Tim Leeds
Pool players from around the state came to Havre last weekend for the 13th Annual 3-Man Round Robin Pool Tournament.
Nine Havre teams joined eight other teams from Chinook, Harlem, Dodson, Malta, Great Falls and Billings for the tournament, which started with registration Friday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. and ran through Sunday night.
Tournament organizer Kurt Shulund said the awards were given out Sunday evening and everyone was pretty well on the road back home by 8:30.
TJ's out of Great Falls won $750, as well as a team trophy and individual trophies for winning the three-man competition, with 110 wins out of 144 games. Highway 2 out of Dodson won $510 and a trophy for second-place with a 108-144 record, Abel Painting out of Chinook won $300 and a trophy for their 97-144 third-place, Mears Music out of Malta won $150 for fourth with 86-144 and Silver City Casino won $85 for their 85-144 fifth-place.
Dave Schwartz of Billings received a $50 award and a trophy for winning the singles competition with a 40- out of 50-game record. Clay Hendrickson of Great Falls took second with 39-50, and James Renfro of Great Falls took third with a 37-50 record.
Shulund, who has been organizing the tournament for the last six years or so, said the tournament just keeps getting more popular.
"(It) keeps gaining more statewide attention each year," he said. "Everybody had a good time I didn't hear any complaints about the tournament. It's always a lot easier to organize this when everybody does have fun."
The tournament is set up as a round-robin, with each team playing a match of nine games against every other team. The play ran from 7 p.m. to about 11 p.m. Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Games were played in taverns all around the town, including The Golden Spike, The Palace Bar, Shamrock's, the Oxford Billiard Parlor, the Corner Bar, The Shanty Bar and the Tip It, as well as The Eagles, which was headquarters for the tournament.
Shulund said one of the things players from around the state like about the tournament is the round-robin format, "because no matter what, they get to play all weekend."
The tournament schedules 90 minutes for each match, and Shulund said one of the things players comment on is that it stays on time, within a few minutes or so.
"We get a lot of compliments on that," he said.
The tournament was first organized in 1987 by Tom Farnham.
He said a lot of credit has to go out to the tournament sponsors.
"Without all the sponsors, the tournament wouldn't be possible," he said.
Shulund said he really wants to thank Baker Amusement and Havre Distributors for their contributions, providing money for the trophies and the expense of paperwork and the printing. He said they also help with cleaning up and repairing the tables and equipment before the tournament.
Shulund said businesses and the local taverns also deserve thanks for their support. The taverns provide the playing area for the tournament, and team sponsors help cover the expense. Sponsors pay $40 of the entry fee, and each player is charged $15 each.
Shulund said he expects next year's tournament to bring people to town to compete again.
"It's just picking up momentum," he said. "People are hearing about it from farther and farther away, and they're coming."
He said people who want to play in the tournament should plan on registering early. He already had 14 teams registered for the 18-team tournament before he even had any posters up advertising it, he said, and at one point they had a six-team alternate list with all 18 slots filled.