One of Owensboro’s best kept secrets is its talent of pool players. While the world knows about professional Nick Varner, there are hundreds of local players competing in tournaments as a part of the Owensboro American Poolplayers Association.
The APA was founded by Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart, two touring professionals and Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame Inductees. Their goal was to organize the sport of pool on the amateur level and to encourage the growth of the game.
The APA is designed in a way that promotes the participation of people ranging from those with no skill to those who have been playing for years.
Quentin Spooner, Owensboro APA league operator, said since he took over as league operator in 2007, the local league has grown to more than 60 teams and more than 350 active players.
“Our little piece of the world’s largest amateur pool league is quite amazing,” he said. “Owensboro Players are a unique blend of supportive and competitive.”
Getting involved in the APA starts with joining a team or building your own.
Currently, there are six locations in Owensboro that host APA play — AmVets Post 75, American Legion, Our Place, Rocky’s Bar & Grill, Golden’s Hometown Diner and Ten.O.Six.
Due to the unique handicap system, teams are often looking for people who have never really played pool before.
Each year, an 8-Ball Team and 9-Ball Team from Owensboro wins a trip to Las Vegas to compete in the World Pool Championships. Owensboro players also advance to Las Vegas to compete in Singles and Doubles Championships.
“This year we are planning on sending a ladies team to Las Vegas,” Spooner said. “All in all, we will be sending around 40 players of different ability to represent Owensboro in Las Vegas in 2019.”
Spooner said more than half of the 250 tournament spots they have filled in Las Vegas have been lower skill level players.
The Equalizer system allows players to compete against any skill level, whether a beginner or a pool shark, everyone has an even playing field in the APA Pool League.
“Over the years I have learned that the APA came up with an amazing way for anyone to compete on a pool team,” Spooner said. “Owensboro provides lots of opportunity for everyone to get together and compete, know each other a little better, laugh and play a little pool.”
Spooner praised local players Jennifer Boone and Caleb McIntire, who have both competed in high-level tournaments.
In 2018, Boone advanced to Las Vegas in both Singles and 8-Ball Doubles. She recently won her Regional Qualifier and will be once again competing in the Poolplayers Championship in Las Vegas.
McIntire is another top Owensboro APA player. He competed in two events at the 2018 Poolplayers Championship.
Spooner said with the large numbers of players in Owensboro, amateurs can surely find someone who give lessons on how to improve their game.
The Owensboro APA is always looking for new people to join. If interested, contact Spooner at 270-570-4973 or Angel Spooner, league manager at 270-314-9075.