10/31/07 — Six-member squad does well out West

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Six-member squad does well out West

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on October 31, 2007 2:50 PM

It was a true Cinderella story right here in Wayne County.

A six-member team of the American Poolplayers Association (APA), won an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas. The team called Bad Company made the trip to the Riviera Hotel and Casino for the national convention this past August.

There, Bad Company put on an amazing performance as it finished 65th out of over 800 teams. The performance enabled the team to come home with over $8,000 in prize money.

This is the type of success story that is helping APA grow in eastern North Carolina.

The APA is a national organization with over 250,000 members. Here in Wayne County, the Goldsboro chapter, ran by Hank and Peggy Dickson, is over 400 members strong.

"It's just a huge organization, but it really only travels by word of mouth," said Hank Dickson. "It really has taken off here in Wayne County the last three years."

When Wayne Country was first introduced to APA in 1994, it had just over 100 members and 20 teams. In 2004, Hank and Peggy took over and brought the 9-ball format and doubles competition to the area.

Since that time, the number of members and teams has more than tripled in size.

"We have a national sport right here on our own back porch, but there's not many people who know about it," said Peggy Dickson. "It's a national and international event that's getting bigger and bigger."

The APA offers players a chance to play pool in a fun, friendly environment. Events are held at local bars and the league governs itself with a variety of rules to ensure a safe atmosphere for its competitors.

Rules to avoid conflict as well as for dress attire and language help to make a family environment. If a player gets out of control, they are kicked out of the league.

"We encourage fun," said Peggy Dickson. "We are family oriented. We want people and couples to come out and have a good time."

For $20 a year a player can join APA. For teams, a weekly fee of $35 is required.

All of this is a small price to pay though considering this enables the participant to qualify for prizes and a potential trip to Las Vegas.

"APA is designed for people to go out during the week, when they're probably not doing anything else," said Hank Dickson. "It's a night out where you can meet other people and enjoy some friendly competition."

The novice or the veteran player can join APA. Players are awarded skill levels and handicaps to keep games competitive. Special nights each week are designed for beginners.

"You don't have to be an excellent or even a good player to play in APA," said Peggy Dickson. "Anything is possible in these tournaments. Anybody can play, anybody can win."

That fact became reality for the Bad Company team in May. After qualifying at the division level, the team of Michael Mapes, Teresa Hobleman, Danny Mozingo, Nicholas White, Terry Senters and Edward Kelly competed in the local team championships (LTC).

The team rolled through the 24-team, 3-day tournament and claimed the 8-ball championship and a trip to Las Vegas.

"They were the underdog team," said Hank Dickson. "We didn't even expect them to qualify. When they got into the LTC they came out shooting and seemed so relaxed.

"Whatever they were doing, it worked."

The championship gave the members a chance to compete side-by-side against the best pool players in the nation at the Riviera.

"The adrenaline was flowing," said Mozingo. "The competition was fun and I got to meet so many different people."

The Bad Company team wasn't alone. Six other players from Wayne County were also victorious in events to earn a trip to Vegas.

The doubles teams of Dolly Camaioni and Linda Davis, Harry Oates Jr. and Joseph Stafford as well as Stacy Schatzman Keel and Bill Schatzman also qualified for the national convention.

"When I got to Vegas and stepped into the tournament room, all I could think of was 'oh my gosh,'" said Camaioni. "Tables and people were everywhere I looked."

Those 12 talented players each realized an amazing opportunity and it was all because of their involvement in one of Wayne County's best kept secrets.

"APA gave me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Kelly. "I love it."