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Pooling their resources: Billiards tournament helps fire victims

A billiards tournament in downtown Medford was a chance for dozens of pool sharks to get together for some friendly competition, and to help fill the pockets of some down-on-their-luck players who lost everything in Southern Oregon fires.

About 32 pool players flocked to Rack ‘Em Billiards in downtown Medford on Saturday as part of an effort to raise money for regulars whose homes in Phoenix and Talent were destroyed Sept. 8 in the Almeda fire.

According to tournament organizer Linda Carter, another eight players each paid the $25 entry fee, but apparently slept through the tournament’s 8 a.m. start.

More than $1,900 had been raised for six families as of Saturday afternoon proceeds that included tournament fees, raffles and donations, according to Carter, but her tally wasn’t yet complete. The money raised did not yet include an auction for a $500 Garrison’s Home Furnishings gift certificate that the business donated for the fundraiser.

Other players donated billiards gear to the cause including a McDermott Stinger cue worth more than $250, according to Carter, and a limited edition Predator hard case.

All funds raised will be split evenly between six fire victims active in Southern Oregon’s pool scene, who Carter identified as Doug Pooley, Gary and Kathy Davidson, Greg Gentle, Ben LaMere, Ken Smith and William “Bill” Evans. Some of the victims lost everything they owned in the fire, including their vehicles, while other victims did not have insurance, according to Carter.

Carter has also organized a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign for the six families, which as of Saturday had raised $555 of a $6,000 goal at gf.me/u/yz6ssf.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Linda Carter shoots during a fundraiser pool tournament at Rack 'Em in downtown Medford Saturday. The fundraiser had raised close to $2,000 for six pool sharks impacted in the Almeda fire. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune