It’s taken five years, but Justin Slater, the youngest player (at 17) to ever win the World Crokinole Championship has done it again.
“I haven’t been fulfilling my potential,” Justin said about his previous year’s play. He earned second place in 2012 behind 2-time winner John Conrad and in 2014 losing out to 4-time champion Brian Cook, who was absent from this year’s competition.
Justin and his father, Fred, earned fourth place in the doubles category this year. “I was only getting about 10 per cent of my 20’s shots,” he said. But in the singles tournament in the afternoon, “I remembered how to play,” he commented.
It was a “stressful” tournament, he admitted, but Justin lost only one game to fourth place winner, Robert Bonnet of Wingham. “I won the NCA (National Crokinole Association) tour, and now this,” Justin said proudly.
At age 22, Justin recently completed a combined honours degree in Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is currently teaching with a private tutoring company in Toronto, but in September will decide whether or not to take a government job or attend Queen’s University to earn his Masters’ degree.
Ray Beierling of Dorchester, 2011 champion, placed second this year followed by Roy Campbell in third place and Robert Bonnett in fourth. In a field of 82 adult singles players, Ray also earned the trophy for the most 20’s in the preliminary round with 116. He won the trophy last year with 131. John Conrad of Poole finished in first place in adult singles preliminary play this year, but failed to make the final four. He did, however, win the doubles title along with Tony Snyder of Waterloo. Brothers Ray and Jason Beierling placed second in doubles while Rex and Tom Johnston were third and the father/son team of Fred and Justin Slater were fourth.
Fourteen players registered this year in each of the junior and intermediate categories. The games were played upstairs in the Recreation Centre Hall. Winning the Juniors were Kyle Grasby of Holland Landing in first place; Jake Grant of St. Marys in second; Odai Alshared of Mitchell in third; and Jack Church of Tavistock in fourth. Abijah Jong of Hamilton went home with the Intermediate trophy while second place went to Tyson Kuepfer of Brunner; third place to Kieran Johnston of Stamford, Connecticut; and fourth place to Matthew Schultz of Tavistock.
This year’s cue singles winner was Carol Litt of Kitchener. Second place went to Jonathon Brubacher; third place to Dave Brubacher and fourth place to Lorne Steckley. In Recreational Singles, Lloyd Wiseman placed first with second place to Cor VandenHoven. Third place was Bill Geris; and fourth place to Steve Wiseman.
The World Crokinole Championship set a new record this year with 100 boards in play at one time. The committee implemented scheduling changes this year that saw the doubles categories all played in the morning and all singles play in the afternoon. It worked out well as the tournament was completed in record time, just after 8:00 p.m. thanks to the many volunteer referees, scorekeepers, emcee Ken Wettlaufer and registration coordinator Sherrill Calder.
East Zorra-Tavistock Mayor Don McKay welcomed everyone to the tournament in the morning and assured the participants that although Ontario was hosting international soccer and the PanAm Games, Tavistock was not to be outdone by hosting their 17th Annual World Crokinole Championship. “Crokinole encompasses all age groups, all demographics … a game that is equal for all,” he said. He noted that twenty-five percent of registrants this year were new to the tournament and players participating were from age 6 to 87. There were many players from several US states as well as all regions of Ontario, Manitoba and eight from Prince Edward Island.
Greg Pinel of Brooklyn, New York shared his story with the audience during one of the breaks and the WCC Committee in turn donated a board to his after-school program. (See his letter here!)
Doubles play saw 60 boards in play in the morning with 38 doubles, 22 cue doubles, and 58 recreational doubles teams. Consolation Doubles saw Rob and Bob Mader in first place; Dave and Matt Brown in second; Lawson Lea and Wilfred Smith in third place; and Ray Kappes and Kevin Bechtel in fourth place. Recreational Doubles winners were Reuben Jong and his son, Abijah. Barry Kiggins and Ian Morton placed second; Jason Hogan and Lawrence Wilks were third, and Lloyd and Steven Wiseman were fourth. Dave and Dennis Brubacher were this year’s cue doubles champions. Second place were Carl and Carol Litt, third place to Wayne Schultz of Tavistock and Floyd Kuepfer; and fourth place to Curtis Ryan and Ken MacPherson. Consolation Cue winners were Ernie Martin and Maurice Sauder; second place to Doug and Nyle Eby; third place to Joe and Jim Ward; and fourth place to Paul Weber and Oscar Weber. Consolation Recreational Doubles winners announced were Randy and Bill Harris. Second place went to Kyle Vaillancourt and Mike Yourk; third place to Dwayne and Christina Campbell; and fourth place to Harold Ruffenbach and Marty Vamos.
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