MB X-Man 2 (Trussville, AL)

Started this thing last year with MBXman and had a great time & raised a bunch of money for the Bright House Foundation. This year we had another great turnout (55 players) and added the Big Rack Challenge. It looks like Monkeyballers are a generous crew, and donated almost $1,200 to the Bright House Foundation! We had 20 rookies, and the very first Tanzanian Monkeyballer! Maybe next year we’ll see some Monkeyballers come down from up north.

Champion: Sean Dameron
Runner-Up: Scott Salmon
# of Players: 55
Brackets/Results (PDF)

MORNING SESSION

Bracket A

The bracket probably should’ve been called the Dameron bracket with Tom, Elaine, Missy & Sean all battling it out (along with Cousin Dawn Jenkins!) Bracket A wasn’t nice to a couple of the Damerons, though, as Missy & Elaine both went 0-2. #2 seeded Tom Dameron showed no mercy on daughter-in-law Missy thumping her 15-2 before he got thumped by Cousin Dawn. She came down from Louisville battling a cold, but fought through the congestion on her way to locking up the #2 seed into the afternoon. Rookie Josh Taylor put on a show today going 4-2 in the bracket to seal the #4 seed into the afternoon (more on him later). Jared “Dan” Spann made his Monkeyball debut going 2 & out, but he made up for it by taking home a $50 gift certificate courtesy of Paper Cuts Designs. (Thanks, Holly Mackle!) Rookie Ryan Hammock had a nice showing going 2-2 in his first tourney, narrowly missing the afternoon. He’s hooked, and is already trying to plan his own tourney. Steve Sebastian continued his trash talk (see last year’s MBXman recap) when he was paired up to play his daughter Caitlyn. When their game was over, he gave me the score & I said, “Who won?” He kind of laughed and said, “You think I’m gonna lose to her?” Atta boy, Steve…show no mercy.

Bracket B

Scott Salmon & his wife, Michelle, started the day as the #1 & #2 seeds in Bracket B….and they finished the morning session that way, too. Nice job, Salmons! Rookie Jim Pignataro is a natural, and came within one game of making the afternoon session. Santo Kurre, son of Tony & Nancy Kurre, played in his first official tournament. He played Lindsey Griffin in the longest match I’ve ever witnessed.  After what seemed like an eternity, Lindsey had to leave early, or I think they’d still be playing! Santo moved on to play David Kracalik, another MB rookie AND the winner of the Big Rack Challenge, but David was hot and took advantage of Santo’s previous marathon match. Scott Scharding (2nd place finisher in MB Mayhem) had a good day going 2-2, but just missed the afternoon getting knocked out by neighbor
Matt Dover. Matt took the #4 seed into the afternoon, while redneck game veteran Adam Vines took the #3 seed.

Bracket C

#1 seed Chuck Salmon showed why he was a #1 seed as he went 3-0 into the afternoon session. #2 seed Tony Kurre had 2 close victories before he lost to Chuck in the bracket finals. Rookie Reagan Mitchell was the highlight of Bracket C. She lost her first match to Brian Harper (who made it to the afternoon session this year & at last year’s MBXman), but then was en fuego as she won 4 in-a-row to lock up the #3 seed into the afternoon! Joey Whitehurst started out strong, but just missed the afternoon when he was put out by phenom Reagan. Another rookie, Gregg Bissot, got his first MB win in his first official match. He’ll be someone to look out for in future tournaments. Blake Labrato played well today, going 3-2, narrowly missing the afternoon when he was put out by Brian Harper.

Bracket D

Seeded players at mbX2 were showing why they were seeded in the first place, and Bracket D was no exception. #1 & #2 seeds Todd Bragan & Brody Black both advanced to the bracket finals with Brody
topping Todd in a 15-12 shootout. The real story of bracket D was rookie Paul Dupre (boyfriend of Reagan who was the breakout star of Bracket C above). Paul started off hot winning his first 2 official
MB matches. He lost his 3rd match to High Fly Cheer Center owner Todd Bragan, but then finished off strong winning two more matches to take the #3 seed into the afternoon. The first Tanzanian Monkeyballer, Suleman Solomon, started out strong with a 15-0 skunk against The Bright House Foundation founder Nancy Kurre. He was quickly shown the other side of that score as Brody Black skunked him in his second match. Stephen Stepkoski had one of the stranger morning sessions. Through a series of no-shows and byes, Stephen was able to lock up the #4 seed into the afternoon by going 1-2, with both losses to hotshot Paul Dupre.

AFTERNOON SESSION

Tidbits:

Experience won out as 7 of the 8 seeded players made the afternoon session. 6 of those 7 made the quarterfinals. All 4 semi-finalists were seeded players. 3 of the 4 semi-finalists were #1 seeds. The 2 finalists were the 2 highest-ranked players. The winner was the top-ranked player in the tourney. 55 players. 116 games played. 8 Monkeyball ropes missing (if you’ve seen them, please let me know!)

This year, we debuted the Big Rack Challenge at mbX2. It was a big hit at last year’s MB6 World Championships!! Our Big Rack Challenge was more of a Little Rack Challenge, but it was a lot of fun anyway. We had 16 ballers participate with half of the prize $$ going to the winner and the other half going to The Bright House Foundation. Rookie David Kracalik got hot at the right time and took home the prize…nice work, David!

The afternoon is really what this thing is all about…in the words of a former NFL coach, “You play to win the game!” It’s not an afternoon session unless there are multiple Salmons still hanging around. mbX2 saw 3 Salmons in the final 16. #11 ranked Scott Salmon took on Brian Harper in his match and advanced to the quarters winning 15-7, 15-0. Veteran Michelle Salmon took on the breakout star, Reagan Mitchell. Experience paid off and Michelle advanced winning 15-8, 15-8. Chuck Salmon was scheduled to play Matt Dover for a chance to make the quarterfinals. With Matt’s early exit, Chuck automatically advanced to the round of 8. #7 ranked Sean Dameron took on Stephen Stepkoski and put up the only reported 12-monkeys of the tourney on his way to a quick 15-0 game one victory. Game two was much longer, but the result was the same and Sean advanced to the quarters. Brody Black & Josh Taylor were scheduled to play for a berth into the quarterfinals, but with Tony Kurre & Adam Vines having to leave, Brody & Josh moved on to the quarters without playing. Cousin Dawn Jenkins tangled up with Paul Dupre in a 3 match showdown. Dawn took game one 15-6, but Paul wouldn’t go down easily and he took game two 15-7. Dawn used her MB5 afternoon experience to finish off Paul and advanced winning 15-4. The final sweet 16 matchup put Todd Bragan against fellow High Flyer Patrick Burke. Todd proved he was the boss, winning 15-7 & 15-5.

QUARTERFINALS

Rookie Josh Taylor had a strong showing in his first MB tournament, but met his match when he took on SoMoCo veteran Brody Black in the quarters. Brody advanced winning 15-7 & 15-8. In a match of #1 seeds, Chuck Salmon took on Todd Bragan in a rematch of MBXman’s sweet 16. Todd played well, but Chuck showed why he is the Godfather of SoMoCo Monkeyball winning 15-7 & 15-0. Sean Dameron & Michelle Salmon battled each other back & forth in their first quarterfinal game with Sean finally winning 17-15. (That game featured a restart and a rope swap, but was a lot of fun.) After the battle, Sean got hot and finished off the match winning 15-4. While Michelle was battling Sean, her husband Scott Salmon was in a real tussle with Dawn Jenkins. Dawn may have had a cold, but she pushed Scott to the brink of elimination. Scott took game one 15-10, but Dawn came right back and won game two 15-11. Game three was a real humdinger and Scott finally put her away winning 16-14. Dawn will be ready for MB7!!

SEMIFINALS

The Semis gave us 3 top 16 world-ranked Monkeyballers and the #26 ranked baller. They were no strangers to Monkeyball’s later rounds where the stakes are high. Sean Dameron took on Brody Black in one semi, while Scott Salmon took on his pops, Chuck Salmon, in the other semi. Scott and Sean were both playing lights out as they each skunked their opponent in game one. Scott punched his ticket to the final by finishing off his dad, 15-9. Sean secured his spot in the finals by finishing off Brody, 15-2. The day wasn’t over for Brody, though. He battled Chuck in a one-game match for 3rd place. They went back & forth until Brody prevailed 15-13. Brody had a heckuva day….he and his son each won a door prize, he won the Half-&-Half raffle, finished 2nd in the Big Rack Challenge, and finished 3rd in mbX2.  Way to go, Brody!

FINALS

And now, the Finals… mbX2’s final match gave us two top-ranked Monkeyballers in a Southpaw battle.
Scott knocked Sean out of the quarterfinals of MBXman, so he was hoping that history wouldn’t repeat itself. Game one started out a little slow and took a couple of minutes to get the score up to 4-3. Sean jumped ahead, 7-4. Next thing you know, Scott & Sean both put up big racks where they each scored 5 points to make the score 12-9. Sean finished off game one with a 15-9 victory. Scott jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in game two. He built the lead to 5-3 and then put up an empty rack where Sean picked up 6 points to go ahead 9-5. He was focused all day, and Sean was able to seal the deal and beat Scott 15-5 to win the tournament. Scott now has bronze & silver Monkeyballs, so he’ll be gunning to complete his set and win the coveted Golden Monkeyballs at next year’s mbX3!! Hope to see you all there!

Big thanks to Todd & Amy Bragan for allowing us to take over their gym again! And special thanks to our sponsors for all that they created & donated (playmonkeyball.com, Hanging Halo, Tom Dameron, The Legendary Pineapple Skinners, Paper Cuts Designs, Sweet Petits, Dance Trance, Oh Suzy-Q Designs, Café Luigi, High Fly Cheer Center, Wide Open Signs, & Sidelines Sports Academy)!! Many thanks to everyone that came by, played, bought an mbX2 t-shirt, or donated to The Bright House Foundation.  Many people and families in Alabama will be changed by this wonderful organization. Thanks for all you do, Nancy & Tony Kurre!


Comments

  1. Dino says:

    Where was Singleton and J. Salmon?

  2. Salmon says:

    Salmon is taking the Dean Allen approach this year. Not playing any tournaments as I prepare my mind and body for the World Championships.

  3. Singleton chose to withdraw late due to some unforseen circumstances. Hope I can be at the next event here in the HAM. We’ll see.

  4. Salmon says:

    Sean…GREAT write-up (can’t say summary, because, well…) and GREAT job putting this tournament together!! Hate that we missed it this year; plan to be at the next to support the Bright House Foundation and of course, the Monkeyball nation! Who Dat, ya heard?

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