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True Tales from the Derby City Classic

Win or lose at the 10th annual Jamboree, everybody had a story to take home.

By Nicholas Leider

Clockwise from top left: Owen sweated 1-P win; Van Boening cashed in; Souquet sank last the last 9; and Appleton went straight. (Photos by Sam Gray, Nicholas Leider and Dennis Myron Cox)

A few days into the Derby City Classic in Louisville, Ky., ask someone for the time and you can get a myriad of answers. Responses range from outright confusion - "What is today? I swear after two days here it's like you're in the Twilight Zone" - to mere generalities - "I don't know, the first set ended sometime around 6 a.m.; I just know the sun was up."

From Jan. 4-12, Derby City devoured the 611-room Executive West Hotel in Louisville, Ky. Vacancies were sparse. Tables were wedged in every open space - 53 9-foot Diamond tables sprawled around the bar, ballroom and second-floor conference center.

Mini-tournaments, ring games, three-cushion and straight-pool events, one-pocket contests and cash games ran around the clock. Oh, and the three main tournament divisions attracted some attention. The 9-ball field topped out at 439 players, the 9-ball banks at 456, and the one-pocket at 390.

Taking a snapshot of Derby City is like trying to distill Woodstock into one sentence; the experience cannot be set at one scene at one time in one place.

Where the difference between noon and midnight can be surmised by the number of beer bottles collected in seating booths in the action room, Derby is a controlled chaos, where everyone - from sweator to superstar - leaves with a story.

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