LACONIA — Mike Baron of Baron's Billiards and the Cafe Deja Vu Pub Mania Team are teaming up for the 7th Annual Robbie Mills Memorial 8 Ball Tournament which will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Funky Monkey in downtown Laconia.
The tournament, which was started seven years ago by Baron as a benefit for the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, will also benefit the WLNH Children's Auction this year.
Last year he got some help from Tony Felch and John Rich, who run the Tuesday night pool league in Laconia and who showed up and saw him running the event virtually single-handedly and decided to pitch in. They are members of the Deja Vu Pub Mania Team, which has been the top fundraising team in the WLNH Children's Auction for the last two years and collected over $20,000 in December.
''We thought that one super event would be more successful,'' says Baron, who says that last year there were 62 players in the tournament and that this year's goal is to have 100 players show up for the event.
The tournament gets underway with registration at 10 a.m. and those who pre-register before Saturday will receive a free commemorative T-shirt donated by Body Covers. Play gets underway at 11 a.m. and with a dozen pool tables available as many as 128 players can be accommodated.
''This has become a prestige tournament for players. Some come all the way up from the Seacoast and over from Maine and Vermont to take part. We raised $3,000 last year and are think that working together we can bring in a lot more to help the kids,'' said Baron.
He said that he has been putting on tournaments for the Boys and Girls Club ever since the organization was known as the Laconia Teen Center and and believes strongly that the Boys and Girls Club is needed to provide a safe haven ''for the kids who have been falling through the cracks. It really does take a whole village to raise a child.''
Baron says that he knows how important having a special place is, citing the example of his own father, who spent time in seven foster homes after losing his father when he was only two years old.
Brenda Ferland, owner of Deja Vu, says that she's pleased to have such a dedicated group of workers on her Pub Mania team and excited to be joining with Baron to help run the tournament.
Felch, the team captain, said he remembers Robbie Mills and saw him the day he was murdered for his bicycle near the Messer Street bridge.
''I couldn't believe that happened in Laconia,'' says Felch, who says that he greatly admires the way Wendy Mills has worked to honor her son's memory.
The event will feature cash prizes, raffles and a live auction which will include a season's Inner Circle Pass at Meadowbrook.
There will be lunch available courtesy of Sal's Pizza and Shaw's and Hannafords with trophies provided by Engraving Awards and Gifts.
For more info or to pre-register contact: Tony Felch 998-1418 or Boys & Girls Club 527-0198
Getting ready for the 7th Annual Robbie Mills Memorial 8 Ball Tournament which will be held Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Funky Money in downtown Laconia are Mike Baron of Baron's Billiards, and Brenda Ferland, John Rich and Tony Felch of the Deja Vu Pub Mania Team. Proceeds from the event will go to the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region and WLNH Children's Auction. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)