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02-13-2005, 07:34 AM
Pros love city's pool party

By Jeff Gluck, Rocky Mount Telegram

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Helena Thornfeldt was eating dinner with Tony Davis when any fears she had about playing a tournament in Rocky Mount quickly vanished.

Davis, a former professional pool player, explained to Thornfeldt that he'd do everything he could to make the Carolina Women's Billiard Classic a success.

"Usually, if the person organizing the tournament used to be a player, they know what players want," said Thornfeldt, the No. 6-ranked player in the world. "They know how they want things to be done."

Thornfeldt hasn't been wrong so far. Players have raved about the tournament's organization, its location and the atmosphere.

"I love this tournament," Thornfeldt said. "Everyone is treating us so nice, and all the people have been absolutely great. I hear a lot of players talking about how much they like it. It's a nice setup."

The Carolina WBC is the first tour stop on the Women's Professional Billiards Association, but the organization won't announce if the tournament will return to Rocky Mount until mid-March.

Still, that hasn't prevented Davis from calling a meeting of potential sponsors for the 2006 event Tuesday.

"The support this year was very limited," Davis said. "Nobody knew anything about it. This is the first real win for Rocky Mount as far as business goes in a good while."

Kelly Fisher, an English native who now lives outside Charlotte, had only visited Nash County one other time (she did an exhibition at Sharks-N-Shooters last week). Fisher said she was wary of playing at a community college instead of a casino, but has been pleasantly surprised.

"I was a little concerned, but they've done a fantastic job," she said. "It's as good as any event I've been to.

"All we're missing is the gambling side to it, but sometimes that's a good thing."

Davis was told by another organizer that breaking even would be a great accomplishment for a debut event. While the money won't be tallied for two weeks, the large crowds Saturday were a good sign.

"People are already calling, saying, 'How can I help next year?'" Davis said. "I've seen nothing but great things so far."

Jeff Gluck can be reached at 407-9951 or jgluck@coxnews.com