Shannon Daulton was born April 5, 1972 in Somerset, Kentucky. Shannon was an only child and from about as early as he could stand at the table, pool was a major bond between Shannon and his father Gerald Daulton. “I owe 100% of my pool game to my dad – and my mom for putting up with it”. There was a table at home when he was small – up to 8. Gerald himself was a pretty good player, but more as recreation than with pro aspirations. He was a used car dealer, following in the footsteps of his own father. Bank Pool was Gerald’s best game, as it was the main local game, but in his work travels Gerald apparently discovered One Pocket, and of course he shared that interest with Shannon.
Shannon is a natural right hander, yet he shoots left handed. He won his first tournament against adults when he was just eight years old. “Anything we could drive to without me missing school, my dad would put me in.” And from an early age, that included action, not just tournaments. Gerald was one of those players that was not afraid to step up and play and bet something himself, and that seems to have rubbed off onto young Shannon.
The first pro tournament he played in was the Clyde Childress Memorial event in Richmond, KY. “I just watched the first year, but I played in it the next year.” Shannon recalls the first time he played for serious stakes was when he was about fourteen – playing for $500 a game with Frank Seals in Morristown, Tennessee. Once Shannon got to be 17 or 18 he started going around on his own, with friends.
Shannon was fortunate to play fellow Banks and One Pocket Hall of Fame legend Bugs Rucker quite a few times – even though Shannon was young, Bugs always treated him with respect. “I am at a funny age; I’m just old enough that I got to play against guys like Cornbread Red, Joey Spaeth, Donny Anderson, Clyde Childress, Bugs – every great player in the country. But I am also young enough to watch the kids grow up like Corey Deuel and Johnny Archer. I got to see both sides of the fence.” It helped that Shannon was competitive with these guys starting at a very young age. He first played Archer at Family Billiards when Archer was about 15 or 16 and Daulton was only 10 or 12.
Shannon won his first major One Pocket tournament – Grady’s Legends of One Pocket – at 19 years old in 1991. The finals came down to Steve Mizerak and Daulton and the match went hill-hill with the final game coming down to the very last ball. This was before One Pocket knowledge was so thoroughly shared via internet, books and video, so it was unheard of that such a young man could demonstrate such a mature grasp of the game.
In fact, Shannon developed into a great all-around player before he even outgrew his teens. Just eight months after winning his first Legends of One Pocket tournament, he won a major bar table tournament, beating Dave Matlock twice in the finals. This was no small accomplishment, given that Matlock is considered one of the best bar table players of all time. Shannon was the Derby City Classic all-around champion in 2001, in a year that he won one of his two DCC 9-Ball titles. Naturally, Shannon has also won the Banks division at DCC; in fact surprisingly the only title that has eluded him at Derby City is the One Pocket, and he promises he’s still working on that one.
About his poise under pressure, “I think any champion you see in any sport — whether it be golf or football or no matter what it is — champions just find a way to win when the most pressure is on. I think that’s what separates your champions from your other top players. There are a lot of guys with a lot of talent, but sometimes when they get to the end, they just can’t get through it.”
Shannon has evolved a lot since those early days at places like BJ’s poolroom and the Maverick Club. And after winning those early titles good action got a little tougher for him to find. Yet he had so much firepower and confidence, he would still often “take the worst of it” just to feed his need for action, and even then usually come out winner. “It was different back then. Back then, when the match was over the first thing everybody’d try to do was match up. Now, when your match is over, everybody wants to go to bed or go to the golf course or play video games or something. Times have changed a lot in the last twenty years.” And Shannon has aged too, as he passed thirty himself, he “began to realize the value of money.”
In the last decade Shannon has developed into one of pool’s most prolific tournament promoters, with his widely successful Great Southern Billiard Tour. He and his fiancé Marge now run as many as 38 tournaments a year covering seven different states. They have included One Pocket in the finals for several years.
Some of Shannon Daulton’s One Pocket and Bank tournament wins:
1992 Legends of One Pocket
1992 Lexington All-Stars One Pocket
1998 Legends of One Pocket
2000 Derby City Banks
2004 US Open Bank Pool
2004 Gulf Coast Classic Banks Ring Game
2005 US Open Bank Pool