VNEA Juniors: Never Too Young to Start


Well, not really. To compete in the Valley League’s Junior Pool Championship tournaments, competitors need to be at least 7 and no older than 20. Under the auspices of the VNEA, around 130 of these pool-wise boys and girls turned out July 22-25 for the 31st such event.

Many went home afterward with trophies and gift certificates. All, parents included, had an absolute ball at the tournament’s now-traditional Bayfront Convention Center venue in Erie, Penn. Contests, as with the grander Las Vegas championships, were played in both singles and team events.

Top Cat Challenge winners at the 31st Junior tourney were Braylon Jensen, Kennedy Meymen and Eddie Vonderau, all bearing plaques and smiles.

Kudos for yet another well-run tourney go to Erie route operators Ed Borgia and Dave Warner (of Warner Coin) who set up and later tore down the tourney setting that featured eye-catching   signage and, of course, over four dozen Valley tables.

Besides Warner Coin, 11 other operating companies sent youngsters to the competition from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and, of course, Pennsylvania itself. Helping out on the Tournament Committee was VNEA’s Bay City director Gregg Elliott, along with his brother Brian.

Ozone Billiards once again sponsored the event and graciously donated every gift certificate awarded. This huge donation was greatly appreciated and the VNEA looks forward to continuing its partnership with Ozone for future events. Other sponsors included AMI Entertainment which ran a fun-filled pizza and pop player reception.

Speaking of fun, Dave Pearson, the “Ginger Wizard” whose clever trick shots and other amazing feats on the 6-pocket table captivate folks once again entertained. Dave also showed the youngsters some tips on how to improve their games.

In addition, top professional (and VNEA pro-player rep) Shane Van Boening enjoyed playing challenge matches with the kids and sharing his amazing talents for the players and their folks. They also enjoyed meeting with him and getting a photo and autograph. Next year’s junior event will once again take place at the Bayfront Center.


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