Shane Van Boening Wins the 2008 Louie Roberts Award

Shane Van Boening 2008 Action/Entertainment Award winner

The young man from South Dakota continues to raise his game — or games — to new levels, as he took on big name after big name in late night action all week at Derby City. Although it might have cost him a little in his showing in the main tournament, Shane Van Boening certainly deserved to win the 2008 Louie Roberts Award for his series of big games in the action room.

The voting for this year’s award came down to:

  1. Shane Van Boening
  2. Justin ‘The Roadman’ Cone
  3. Freddy ‘Scooter’ Goodman

‘Scooter’ and Cone certainly worked hard in the action room all week, and probably logged more hours than Shane, but the caliber of play, and caliber of opponent when Shane got in the box drew the big crowds as he had notable matches with Cliff Joyner, Alex Pagulayan and ‘Hennessee’. In fact Van Boening took on Justin Cone and Joyner in One Pocket — not known for being Shane’s best game, yet he proved he can play a little of that too.

It seemed that every Shane match was an epic!

Shane in action with Cliff Joyner

Shane and Cliff first matched up at 8-Ball, in a race to 21 with Cliff getting four games on the wire. Cliff came out strong and trounced Shane by a lopsided score, but Shane didn’t let that get him down for long as the same two then matched up in One Pocket, with Cliff on the opposite end of the handicap, as he gave a couple of balls to Shane in a 6-ahead race. Their One Pocket set went another eight hours or so, but Shane finally came out on top as Cliff never seemed to get real comfortable.

Having had a little taste of One Pocket, next up Shane tangled with the irrepressible young ‘Roadman’ Justin Cone in a 7-ahead race played even. It was Shane’s offense vs. Justin’s One Pocket knowledge, with Shane no doubt learning as the match became another all night marathon. At one point Shane almost blew the match as he swiped the balls on the case game thinking he had run out for the win, not realizing that he owed a ball!

Shane vs. ‘Hennessee from Tennessee’ (Jonathan Pinegar)

From there it was back to 10-Ball, as Shane gave ‘Henessee’ the wild 9 and the last two in two marathon 8 or 10-ahead races, losing the first one in 8 hours (after getting on the hill in the first hour) and winning the second set the following day after about 12 hours at the table. That was a lot of weight to give Pinegar, who has one of the strongest 10-Ball breaks in the world and can run-out a little himself.

Justin Cone, runner-up for the Action-Entertainment Award

Shane vs. Alex 10-Ball

These may go down as some of the best sets ever witnessed at the Derby. Shane had issued an open challenge to anyone in 10-Ball, and Franciso Bustamante had agreed to take him on. But Franciso had to back out due to his tournament play, as he was in late contention for the 9-Ball title as well as the highly coveted Master of the Table title. Instead, it was Alex Pagulayan answered the call.

Their first set was a race to 21, broadcast free of charge on, with Jeanette Lee, Bobby Hunter and John Schmidt teaming up for the announcing, with Jay Helfert taking over for Schmidt part way through. The match started after midnight and lasted until about 6:00 AM as it ended up hill-hill. Through it all, there were several hundred spectators that didn’t leave until the last ball fell. That’s really the entertainment factor as Shane not only attracted spectators, he maintained standing-room-only crowds every time he was in action.

Alex and Shane followed up with two more sets (race to 25 each) the next day, both shown on PPV on TAR. Shane won both 25-21, and 25-22 after over 12 hours of 10-Ball action. All told, those three long sets were separated by only 8 games. The two are planning to hookup again in March for a race to 100.

‘Scooter’ Goodman A crowd favorite

Justin ‘The Roadman’ Cone

As usual, ‘The Roadman’ was rarely out of action. Besides his epic match with Shane, he gave the audacious spot of 20-10 to veteran Grady Mathews in One Pocket, losing a close set 5-4 after coming back from a 4-0 deficit. Cone had actually got to 19 in one of those games, only to lose 10-18. He and Grady later adjusted the spot to 13-7 which Justin took down. Grady deserves an honorable mention himself for getting in the box four or five times over the course of the week, including a rare odd-handed partners game with Grady shooting in between Marshall ‘Squirrel’ Carpenter and ‘Squirrel’s protégé Harold McAbee.

Freddy ‘Scooter’ Goodman

A natural entertainer, ‘Scooter’ always had something going, whether backing, betting, or matching up himself. He is an annual story at the Derby City, running with a team of young players including Jonathan ‘Tater’Tedder. It would be tough to add up exactly how much action he was in on since he seemed to have a piece of every major and minor set that came down in the room. His efforts and antics stirring up action always drew a crowd and often had the spectators in stitches. Sometimes he would lay odds both ways, seemingly leaving himself a in no win situation, yet it all added up to action, action, action!

The late Louie Roberts
Photo courtesy Mike Haines & Bill Porter

The Louie Roberts A/E Award is the only industry award that directly honors the contribution that the world of pool action makes toward the ongoing popularity of the sport. Recipients of the A/E award win free room and free entry fees to the Derby City Classic. Congratulations to Shane Van Boening, this year’s winner!

Since rolling balls were first introduced to a table in billiard’s distant past, cue sports have always enjoyed a lively tradition of after-hours action. Diamond Billiard Products and the Derby City Classic proudly celebrate that tradition with their annual Louis Roberts Action/Entertainment Award.

The A/E Award is named after the late Louie Roberts, who embodied the kind of high-rolling free-spirited and talented player that crowds have always loved to gather and watch. Louie was a rare talent and genuine star in the action/entertainment side of pool. Whether he was flat broke or flush with cash didn’t seem to make a difference; Louie would find a game, and the crowd would find Louie. Whatever cash he held, he might wager on one match, on one game, or even on one shot; Louie had the confidence to bet it all.

View more action photos from the event

Any recap of Derby City this year has to mention for bringing something brand new and exciting to the Classic — live internet broadcasting coverage from the main action room. Although The Action Report (TAR) guys got a little experience covering several smaller tournaments over the course of 2007, this was a first for Derby City, and it was a huge effort. Despite some glitches with the local internet service provider, the TAR guys logged what seemed like 24-7 hours all week long covering match after marathon match in the action room. There are many DCC fans that consider the after-hours action to be their favorite part of the Derby, and this was the first time those at home didn’t have to miss out on all of that, and some of those great matches were preserved on tape! Let’s give a big honorable mention to!

The above story was a joint effort by Fred Agnir and Steve Booth