ADAMS -- The Viking Pub's crown pool team will again cross cues with the nation's best in Las Vegas next month.
For the third time, "It's All Tom's Fault" has earned a spot at the American Poolplayers Association 8-Ball Team Classic tournament in Vegas, having fought their way through local and then state qualifiers in Clinton, where members competed against teams from cities like Holyoke and Chicopee. The team is one of only 10 in the state who qualified.
Team captain Tom Moore used a recent practice to begin building up momentum, pointing out their status as the lone team in Northern Berkshire to qualify for the tournament more than once, let alone three times.
"No team's ever done this before in the area -- and we have a lot of real good pool players around here," Moore said. "It's really a feat."
This year's team includes Moore, founding member Kristy Berard, founding member Corey Shafer, Angela Michaud, Joel Kandrack, Art Vallieres, and new members Britni Becker and Ed Depson.
"We're usually right up around [the qualifying group] but hey, it's not that easy to win," Moore said. "I realized that we'd need a little stronger team this year so we added two new players."
The 8-Ball Classic is scheduled from Aug. 19-25 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino. The event is open to any combination of men and women, with a first place prize of $25,000.
The team will enjoy all-expenses-paid travel and lodging during the
Berard attributes the team's success to intangibles beyond billiards skill.
"We're all friends and we have a good team," Berard said, "but I think it takes good chemistry. ... It's exciting that we made it again this time. We enjoy what we do."
The team placed 17 overall out of 700 teams in 2008, and finished at 119 in 2010.
Similarly to the 2008 tournament, when the team was up for an award for best team name, this year they're trying to take home the award for best team T-shirt, but Moore refused to reveal the design, fearing a "jinx."
At the tournament, teams play almost continuously from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. -- in other words, hours that validate choice scenes from "The Hustler."
"It becomes a question of who can last the longest, I think," Moore said. "... The first time we went to feel things out; the second time we went to have fun; the third time, we're going down there to win."
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