Photo by Cassie Granger Howell


In the pool world, Dead Stroke describes a performance and execution so flawless — and so technically correct — that one cannot miss.

A Mooresville HotShots Bar and Grill 9 Ball team named Dead Stroke lived up to that moniker and claimed third place out of 582 teams from all over the world in a 9 Ball competition. The team is the first from North Carolina in the history of the American Poolplayers Association (APA) to advance that far.

Teams from as far away as Singapore recently converged on 3,000 Paradise Road in Las Vegas, the location of the Westgate Hotel and Casino, for the competition. More than 2,500 teams competed in categories such as 8 Ball, Jack and Jill, Masters, Singles, Captains, 9 Ball and various Mini Mania events.

The journey began with an APA session. At the end of playoffs, team Dead Stroke came in third in their division but won a Wildcard spot in the Tri Cup Tournament held at Railbirds in Hickory, N.C. After winning that tournament, Dead Stroke advanced to the World Qualifiers at the same location. After coming out on top once more, the next destination was Vegas!

To qualify for a Vegas APA Tournament, players must be actively playing on a league team in the current session of the same format of the tournament. They also need an established skill level. In 9 Ball, that could be anywhere from a 1 to a 9. Out of five games played in a match, the total skill level of the five players cannot exceed 23. A player must also have played 10 matches within the last two years.

Dead Stroke is the only North Carolina team to win on the “podium” level of the World Championships. Team Captain Herman Allen was interviewed at the tournament and asked, “If you could choose an animal to represent your team, what would it be and why?” Herman’s reply: ”A lion because the team has a lot of heart and no quit!”

Kellen Van Abel, HotShots manager and team member of Dead Stroke, is still in that Vegas state of mind, basking in the full experience of the tournament week. When asked what the experience meant to him, his answer was “Team building and sportsmanship meant more to me than the shot.”

Indeed, this experience forged unbreakable ties for team members, some of whom came home with new nicknames. Team Co-Captain Beth Allen earned her new nickname — “Sudden Death Beth” — after her performance in a thrilling showdown sudden-death match.

Team member Steve Small commented that his favorite memory was simply having the team become closer and develop a tight rapport.

Dead Stroke Team members include Captain Herman Allen, Co-Captain Beth Allen, Kellen Van Abel, Andrew Wahab, Zach Thomasee, Colby Waldroup, Joe Zeback and Steve Small.

In addition to a gorgeous three-foot-tall trophy — now on display at HotShots Bar and Grill of Mooresville on Plaza Drive, the team won $8,000 for the trip to Vegas from the Piedmont APA, an additional $1,000 purse from the World Qualifier and $5,000 for the Third-Place World Tournament finish.

Dreams can come true if you believe! A huge congratulations on a job well done and for representing Mooresville and North Carolina on a global stage with class and sportsmanship.

Teams are forming now all over the world for new members. No experience is necessary; your captain and teammates will help you hone your skills. House cues and chalk are available, and you just pay for each match you play. Go to Piedmont APA for this area or the main APA website for locations.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Mooresville Scoop.

%d bloggers like this: