Bad weather doesn’t keep all top players from Stewart Thanksgiving Pool Tournament
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Unless they can come up with weather-resistant felt and heated cues, billiards will remain an indoor activity.
But that doesn’t mean outdoor conditions can’t affect a tournament.
Wrapping it around Thanksgiving on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Hot Shots Billiards hosted its annual Stewart Thanksgiving Pool Tournament.
“And the weather did us no favors,” said Hot Shots owner and tourney director Joe Hull.
Though the establishment was busy on Wednesday, traditionally a night out for college students and relocated natives back in town for a stretch during the holiday, the 8-Ball bracket that night was slimmer than in years’ past.
Better weather helped the tourney bounce back with a full 9-Ball bracket on Friday.
“We didn’t get over until 5 o’clock in the morning,” Hull said of the 9-Ball competition.
But the wintry mix that plagued much of the state on Saturday diminished the Doubles competition.
Despite the travel conditions, some of the best poolplayers in the state were willing to make long drives to Charles City hoping that the green they may possibly earn would make it worth the trip.
Somphet Thongsouk of Des Moines made the two-hour one-way trek on Wednesday to win the 8-Ball bracket ahead of Kaleb Nauman (2nd) and Kaleb Graham (3rd).
On Friday, Troy Honeycutt — another Des Moines resident — won the extended 9-Ball bracket after outlasting Joe Soderberg (2nd) and Thongsouk (3rd).
As has become a pattern in tournaments he hosts and organizes, Hull struggled in the 8-Ball and 9-Ball competitions. But in the Doubles competition, Hull teamed up with Justin Stewart to win the bracket ahead of Ray Fredericksen/Brian Hearl (2nd) and Mike Enabnit/Kaleb Graham (3rd).
“The kid just keeps on getting better,” Hull said of doubles partner Stewart.
Hull got to know Stewart as a competitor and later as a teammate amid the local pool league scene. Hull also got to know Stewart’s parents, John and Betty Stewart, who owned “The Rock” in Marble Rock.
The Rock hosted annual Thanksgiving pool tournaments the days before and after Thanksgiving until the tavern closed in 2008.
When Hull established Hot Shots in 2014, he re-booted the tourney after getting the Stewarts’ blessing.
After John Stewart died in 2016, Hull named the tournament in his honor.
Hot Shots periodically holds tournaments throughout the year and often on the weekends. On Dec. 14, Hot Shots will host an all-female tournament.
The night before on Dec. 13, Dave “The Ginger Wizard” Pearson will put on an exhibition starting at 8:30 p.m. Pearson is a former international professional player and author of the book “World’s No. 1 Pool Entertainer”.
“He has hyper energy and is really fun to watch,” Hull said of Pearson. “Even if you’re not into pool, you’ll still find him entertaining.”
For more information about the all-female tournament and/or the Dave Pearson appearance, call Hot Shots at 641-228-2001.