Local billiard teams compete in Las Vegas

by Kalie Ammons

sports@thepaperofwabash.com

Not very many people think of shooting pool as a girls’ day out, but that’s exactly what Dena Hendrix, the captain of the No Drama Mamas, a billiards league based out of Grant County, calls their monthly meetings.

“We decided that we were just going to have fun and that was going to be our goal, to be good sports and have fun every month, like a girls’ day out.”

It turns out that all of that having fun paid off. After only playing together for nine months, in their first competition together, the No Drama Mamas won a trip to compete in Las Vegas.

“This was our first session together. It’s pretty amazing; they said that just never happens. The team that we beat in the local team championship to win our trip to Vegas had been to Vegas three times in a row,” Hendrix told The Paper.

The team consists of eight players, including: Dena Hendrix, Brandy Swanner, Amber Simpson, Jenny Smith, Beth Shenefield, Leslie Barker, and Amy Brandle.

The competition took place at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. from Aug. 15-18. The No Drama Mamas were one of 64 women’s teams.

However, getting to Vegas was no easy task. The team had to compete several times and beat out the competition.

“Every session you strive to play in the tri-cup, and that’s three times a year. As you win the tri-cup, you try to qualify for what’s called the local team championship. And then when you win the local team championship, which is all of east central Indiana, when you win that you go to Vegas,” Hendrix explained.

The hotel was flooded with people when the team arrived. Along with the 64 women’s teams, there were 380 9-ball teams, one of which being Hendrix’s other team from Wabash County, the Los Latinos. Some of the members were on both teams and had to run between shots to play two games at once.

“It’s called a modified singles tournament, you’re guaranteed to play twice. If you win your first one and then you lose your next one, you’re done. We did really well, there were 64 teams and we placed 17th in the nation.”

This came as a surprise not only to the team members, but the employees of the APA (Amateur Pool Association).

“They told us that it is truly unheard of for eight women their first time to walk through the whole thing and go to Vegas. We competed in the National Team Championship, with teams from the United States and Canada.”

The team practices one Saturday a month either at the LaFontaine Bar or the VSW in Marion. As a traveling league, the team doesn’t have a set area to practice.

The Los Latinos also did pretty impressively with the 9-ball teams. They placed 65th out of 380. The Los Latinos consists of Juan Presas, Dustin Stout, Beth Shenefield, Casey Hunt, Walter Benjamin, Anna Thurwanger and Amy Brandle.

The No Drama Mamas are a perfect example of how sometimes all it takes for some real success is hard work, having fun, a couple bars and “no drama.”

Posted on 2013 Sep 03