Around 5,000 excited pool players (half an army division!) converged on Bally’s in Las Vegas May 26-June 4 for the 36th running of the Valley League’s World Pool Championships. Participating operator-members of this VNEA organization, who send these players to the finals, numbered 135 and represented locations in 29 states, six Canadian provinces plus eight other nations. A whopping 250 Valley 6-pocket tables were arrayed in the arena. Just how much bigger can this event get?
Over in Erie, Penn., the “bullpen” of future VNEA Vegas competitors played their 26th World Junior Pool Championship at the Bayfront Convention Center June 16-19. Some 200 youngsters from the U.S., Canada and even New Zealand competed on 80 Valley tables. Some “Dick Hawkins All-Star Teams” were even assembled, named for one of VNEA’s founding fathers (we’d say founding “grandfathers” except “the Hawk” might take offense).