2019 WPA World Artistic Pool Championship
From February 21 – 23, 2020, Artistic Pool players from around the world descended upon the beautiful League Room in Parkersburg, West Virginia for the 2019 WPA World Artistic Pool Championships. This was the 18th WPA World Artistic Pool Championship event since the sports inception in 2000. The day before the event was to take place, League Room owner Christopher Wilson informed the players that instead of doing the event at the old location, the tournament would take place at the new location the League Room was moving into. Christopher and a team of 10 people transformed the new venue into a magnificent-looking poolroom in just 12 hours. It was simply astounding that their team was able to do all the work needed, which included rolling pool tables two blocks down the road. It was an amazing start to a great event.
13 players total (11 players from different states and 2 international players) were vying to become the next WPA World Artistic Pool “overall” Champion, as well as respective champions of the unique 8 “discipline” titles up for grabs. Day one saw players competing in the first 4 disciplines of Artistic Pool – Trick & Fancy, Special Arts, Draw, and Follow. After the first round, two players known for their strokes came away with discipline titles known more for their precision and timing attributes. Now only did they win the respective discipline titles, each player shot a perfect 40 out of 40 possible points. Theo “The Bloodshark” Mihellis won the Trick & Fancy title and “The Michigan Kid” Jason Lynch won the Special Arts Medal, putting them in first and second place after round one. The next round saw players shooting the Draw and Follow disciplines with Brian “Superman” Pauley winning the Draw title with a score of 38 out of 40 while first time player Gaston “The Prince” Tomadoni from Argentina scoring a perfect 40 out of 40 in Follow. After day one, Theo and Jason still occupied the top two spots with Taiwan’s Chi-Ming Lin (“Master Lin”) in third place.
Day two finished up the preliminary rounds and started the 1st round of the playoffs. The top four players earned a first round bye while the other 8 players had to play Saturday night. Round three served up the Bank/Kick and Stroke disciplines. As per the norm for this event, another perfect score won a discipline. Tim Chin not only won the Bank/Kick discipline with a perfect 40 out of 40, but also won the Stroke discipline with a 33 out of 40. The top three players did not change with Theo, Jason, and Lin still occupying those spots. The perfect discipline by Gaston vaulted him into the 4thplace slot. The last round saw the crowd favorite Jump and Masse disciplines. Like with the last round, one player won both discipline titles with Chi-Ming Lin scoring an incredible 39 out of 40 in Jump and 38 out of 40 in Masse.
With the preliminary rounds completed, the playoff rounds were set. Before the playoff rounds started, the discipline winners were awarded their medals and crowned WPA World Artistic Pool Discipline Title champions, with three players earning their first official world discipline title in Brian Pauley, Gaston Tomadoni, and Chi-Ming Lin. The Rising Star award was also presented. This award is for newer players to the sport that have only played in a few events and is determined by the highest score. Gaston Tomadoni outscored Benton “The Birdman” Moore and “That Trickshot Guy” Cary Wallace for the award. The last award was an award that has been a tradition at every WPA-APD Artistic Pool event since the beginning – the Sportsmanship award, which is voted on by the players. This event’s winner was Gaston Tomadoni. After receiving the special medal and the explanation of the award through a translator, Gaston started crying, as he was deeply touched by the presentation.
Match one of the first round saw #5 seed and veteran player Tim Chin vs #12 seed and rookie player Benton Moore. Experience prevailed with Tim getting a 57-8 win. Match two was #6 seed Jamie “The Bayou Bullet” Moody vs #11 seed Troy “The Sniper” Garten. The match was close but Jamie moved on with a score of 63-43. Match three saw #7 seed and world number one Abram “Too Tall” Diaz vs #10 seed and tour regular Andrew “The Driver” Sozio. Abram showed why he is the number one ranked player in the world, defeating Andrew 86-40. The final match of the first round would see number #8 seed Marty “The Farmer” Carey against #9 seed Brian Pauley. The match went back and forth but Brian edged out Marty 56-41. The quarter finals were set and Sunday would be a day of great playoff matches.
Players returned to the League Room early Sunday morning in hopes of bringing home the gold. Match one saw Chi-Ming Lin against Brian Pauley with “Master Lin” advancing to the semifinals with a 64-31 win. Match two was a matchup of two veterans of the sport and a rematch of the finals of the last event with Tim Chin and Jason Lynch. The two players showed their experience and matched the other shot for shot. After the match ended Tim moved on with a score of 81-70. Match three saw local player and 3-time Guinness world record holder Theo Mihellis vs Abram Diaz. The home cooking was too much for Abram to overcome as Theo advanced to the semifinals with a 67-52 win.
The final match of the quarterfinals saw Jamie Moody against Gaston Tomadoni in a nail bitter of a match…going down to the final shot with Jamie just getting by with a 66-61 win. Four players were left with all of them wanting to be WPA World Champion. The first semifinal match saw Chi-Ming Lin vs Tim Chin. These players traded shot for shot but Chi-Ming Lin edged out the veteran Chin and found himself in the finals. The second semifinal match was a rematch of a quarterfinal match from the last event, which pitted Jamie Moody vs Theo Mihellis. Just like the last match between them, this one also went down to the wire. Theo tied up the rivalry with an 89-73 win.
The finals were set. Hometown player Theo Mihellis would take on Taiwan’s Chi-Ming Lin with a nearly 50-year age gap. The players were making one difficult shot after another, dazzling the crowd with their skills. Lin started to pull away from Theo. Not to go down without a fight Theo started executing some of the hardest shots in the program, including the daunting “Circular Draw.” Theo hit the shot to his excitement, as well as the crowd. Chi-Min Lin stepped to the table and showed why he is called “Master Lin” and matched Theo in making the shot. “Master Lin” finished off the match 82-64 to become the WPA World Artistic Pool Champion. This tournament saw a huge turn around by Theo. At the last WPA World Championship Theo failed to make the playoffs, but only one year later he made the finals and is a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
A huge thank you goes out to Christopher Wilson and the staff of the magnetic League Room for hosting the event. A big thank you also goes out to our other event sponsors – Champions Tour Cloth, Finest Events DJ service, Dr Cue Promotions, and Superman Trickshots. Additionally, a special thank you goes out to the WPA for their continuing support of Artistic Pool…via their official event sanctioning of this sport art form…recognized around the world.
Submitted by… Brian Pauley, President
WPA Artistic Pool Division