ROSEMONT, IL -- Arachnid hosted its 29th Anniversary BullShooter Finals in late May at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare here. The five-day, $125,000+ international competition generated an impressive seven-country turnout, with the number of players up by 200 over last year.
Highlights included the annual Top Gun Challenge in which Illinois's Ray Carver entered the lists against Belgian contender François Schweyen. Carver triumphed in the last game of a tiebreaker match for the Top Gun Pro/Pro AA Cricket Singles championship.
In the International Team event, players from Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United States squared off in round-robin matches. At the end, the Belgian and U.S. teams went to the "Bull Pen" for a best-of-five struggle that the Belgians won, garnering the International Cup and bragging rights for the coming year. Teams Canada and Norway tied for third place.
Hard-fought matches were the norm at events, including Luck of Draw Cricket, Hammer Team Cricket, Pro and Pro AA Cricket Luck Doubles and Mixed Cricket Doubles, as well as Luck of the Draw and Super 13" Singles, women's Combo Luck in two divisions, Men's Singles, Pro Mixed Cricket and Mixed Triples. Rounding out the tournament were singles matches in Pro and Pro AA levels, and women and men's Cricket Doubles (both in three divisions). Ray Carver won Most Valuable Player honors on the men's side, and Shea Reynolds (Florida) and Trish Grzesik (Canada) won the women's MVP laurels.
The 2014 finals were a solid success for new Arachnid owners Tony, Chris and Shawn Beall. The company has begun making plans for next year's celebration of 30 years on the BullShooter World Tour.
PHOTOS: Men’s 501 doubles champions are Steve May (l.) and Kris Jett. At right, pro singles champion David Fatum (l.) receives prize from Arachnid's Sam Zammuto.