Sharks in Iowa? Hundreds of them are swimming around in Waterloo this weekend. Pool sharks that is. The 9th annual Iowa chapter of the Billiard Congress of America Championships got underway Thursday with the final rounds today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday). Kevin Lange of Waterloo is the tournament organizer. 120 tables are set up at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center where 15-hundred Iowans are competing in both eight-ball and nine-ball games. Lange says this is a tournament for Iowans only — but they come in all shapes, sizes and ages.Kids as young as 13 are playing and so are their great-grandpas into their 80s. Lange is 47 and says he’s been shooting pool since his dad opened a pool hall in Decorah 41 years ago. While some might look down on the sport of billiards, Lange says it’s a wholesome pastime, despite what you may have heard.He calls it safe, clean, good recreation. The appearance of a pool hall in the fictional town of River City, Iowa, in Mason City native Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” was portrayed as the beginning of the town’s moral downfall. Lange says he hears jokes about that all the time.The championships conclude Sunday. The total purse is worth 80-thousand dollars with individual prizes as high as two-thousand dollars.
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