By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — The city will rack up the Fraternal Order of Eagles statewide billiards tournament for the second time in four years, the Sunbury Aerie announced.
The three-day shootout will be held May 3-5 at the city’s ice rink, and is expected to attract at least 2,000 people to Sunbury.
More than 800 will be billiards players from across Pennsylvania. Once Sunbury Eagles No. 503 treasurer Jeremy Frits asked City Council on Monday to approve the location, Mayor David Persing began to brainstorm.
“We should get fliers made up of things to do in the city while these people are here,” Persing said. “If they are coming here and spending money, they might as well spend that money right here in Sunbury.”
The 2010 tournament in Sunbury drew nearly 700 shooters and 1,500 others. Frits said the 2013 competition will lure even more players and fans.
“We are expecting a huge turnout,” he told council. “This is something that we got lucky to host again.”
The original venue for the 2013 state championship was to be Littlestown, Adams County, but a scheduling conflict led to a director at the state Eagles headquarters in Grove City to jump at the chance to return to Sunbury and use the facility.
Eighty teams participated in the 2010 tournament.
“This is just so great for this event to come back to Sunbury,” Frits said. “We are just so pleased.”
The Sunbury Eagles will offer shuttle buses between hotels and the ice rink.
With the tournament bringing so many people to the region and spending money on hotels and restaurants, the decision to allow the organization to use the city ice rink was easy, Persing said.
“Anytime we can have this many people come to the city, anything we can do will be great,” he said. “This is just another positive for the city.”
Twenty tables, delivered from a company in Virginia, will be used at the rink, Frits said.
The Eagles are considering an open tournament the Thursday before the weekend event so other shooters have a chance to play, Frits said.
“We are looking into that now,” he said. “We think it would be a good idea to get other people involved.”
Frits is trying to land celebrity trick shooter Mike Massey to make an appearance, he said.