SCHUYLER – Schuyler billiards team, Loose Change, placed in the top 50 during the April 7-8 Nebraska State Eagle Annual Pool Tournament held at Ag Park in Columbus.
Among 124 teams that competed, Loose Change reigned victorious with a total of 548 points that landed the team of eight at 45th place. They were the only team representing Colfax County and Schuyler.
The team, led by Tim Reardon, has been competing for the better part of 20 years.
“We’ve been playing since forever,” Reardon said.
The team enjoys the level of competition and the new friendships made every year. They were crowned sixth place during last year’s tournament.
“It is just a good time,” Reardon said. “Everybody gets along.”
Aside from new faces, the annual tournament allows people to meet old friends. The team also compete in leagues throughout the year.
“It is just something we have never missed,” team member Patty Stubbert said.
Ag Park brought in approximately 1,000 players from around Nebraska, including communities such as: North Platte, Fremont, McCook, Crete and Omaha. The players had to be members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in order to register for the teams and singles tournament. Admission was $340 per team.
The singles tournament took place at 5 p.m. Friday, which consisted of Scotch Doubles and Nine-Ball games.
The tournaments are held in different locations every year. Columbus placed a bid in 2016 to host the games and succeeded. The tournament will be held in Hastings next year.
The organization donates the proceeds from the tournament to different state charities each year. Money raised from this year’s tournament is being donated to breast cancer and autism research centers.
“Our motto of the Eagles’ Club is ‘People Helping People.’ That’s just our nation-wide motto,” said Dennis Micek, co-chairman of the Nebraska State Eagle Annual Pool Tournament. “And we raise money for charities. That’s our goal.”
Doug Wiese and Mike Whiting also served as co-chairman of the annual tournament.
The organization as a whole successfully pledged $25 million nationwide to establish a diabetes research center in Iowa City.
“We are hoping someday our name might be associated with the cure of diabetes,” Micek said.
Every state has their own FOE chapter working toward the same goal by hosting tournaments for pool, golf and shuffleboard. Each state chooses its own charity to pledge money to.
The president of the National Fraternal of Eagles,Tom McGrath. who is from Florida, attended the tournament as a participant in a team. The tournament began at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, 8:30 a.m. on Sunday and ran until 5 p.m.
Local businesses were also involved with the tournament. Tournament t-shirts were made by a local merchandizer to be sold and a local pool vendor donated pool sticks to be raffled off.
“The community has just been great,” Micek said. “They love coming out here to Ag Park.”