TEAM AMERICA DOWNS TEAM EUROPE
IN THE 2006 WORLD CUP OF TRICK SHOTS
November 15, 2006 Portland, TN: The WORLD CUP OF TRICK SHOTS was held November 2 at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Team America claimed the title over Team Europe in the first-ever international team competition in the sport of Trick Shots. The prize purse was $50,000 for the event, with $40,000 and Gold Medals to the winning team.
Captain Mike Massey led Team America to victory and the Gold Medal. Other Team America members who were awarded the Gold Medal were Bruce Barthelette, Tom Rossman and Andy Segal. Silver Medalists from Team Europe included Captain Stefano Pelinga (Italy), Nick Nikolaidis (Greece) Luke Szywala (Poland) and Bogdan Wolkowski (Poland. Their team also won $10,000.
The format for World Cup consisted of two skill shots and eight artistic show shots by both teams in a match. Team members executed a challenge shot of their choice, and their opponents were required to duplicate the shot or lose a point. In the semifinals, with two members from each team, the players alternated shots in four man head-to-head matches, performing intricate trick shots meant to stymie their opponents. A sudden death tiebreaker to decide a match required an eight rail bank shot onto the face of a $100 bill. The Championship Finals match pitted all eight members of Team America and Team Europe in the wildest shootout of the year.
The players on Team America displayed their brilliance to emerge as the top trick shot artists in the world. The Championship match was poetry on green felt, with Team America defeating Team Europe by a score of 13 - 11 to take the Gold Medals and $40,000. Team Europe, whose members were otherwise on their game, claimed Silver Medals and $10,000 second prize. In the first semifinal, Team America players Bruce Barthelette and Andy Segal prevailed 11 - 9 over Team Europe members Nick Nikolaidis and Bogden Wolkowski . The other semifinal saw Team Europe artists Stefano Pelinga and Luke Szywala narrowly slip past Team America players Mike Massey and Tom Rossman 11-9 in a tight match. The winning team in each semifinal carried a 1 point bonus forward into the final match.
The Championship match was a battle that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. Down 7-3 at one point, Team Europe struggled valiantly to bring the score to 9-6 midway in the match. Captain Stefano Pelinga praised his team for their spirited performance and promised “We will be back next year to take home the Gold Medal for Europe.”
Captain Mike Massey lauded Team America for their determination and skill. “We came here to win for America,” he said. “The team pulled together all the way through and it paid off with the first ever Gold Medal in World trick shot competition.” The Americans high-fived and embraced one another in an emotional victory.
The standing-room-only crowd gave Team America a rousing ovation at the conclusion of the Championship match. The Gold Medals and the team check were presented by Bob Yalen of Mohegan Sun and Gregg Hovey of Olhausen Billiards, with “World Cup Champions” custom cues presented by Barry Hart of Viking Cues. The presentations brought another round of cheers from the audience.
In addition to the fine tournament site at Mohegan Sun, the event was sponsored by Olhausen Billiards, Viking Cues, Aramith Super Pro Balls, Simonis Cloth, Original Italian Slate, Liguria International, Mueller Rack, Ozone Billiards and Silver Cup Chalk. The WPA sanctioned event was produced by Matt and Bettiane Braun of Billiards International, Ltd.
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