GALION — Steven Gifford, a 1992 Galion High School graduate, has secured interviews with some of America’s best billiards players to write a series of books focusing on the players’ life stories.
Some of those players recently won the 2018 Mosconi Cup in London, England. Each year its Team USA vs. Team Europe.
“The Mosconi Cup is the equivalent to golf’s Ryder Cup,” Gifford said. “The two teams meet once a year, and only the best make each team.”
The event is held each year in alternating venues. This year’s event will be in Las Vegas. Each team sends their top five players. And, as in golf, playing in a team event is much harder as the players feel the weight of the other players, too.
Players on Team USA this year included: pro players Skyler Woodward, Corey Deuel, Billy Thorpe and Shane Van Boening, along with rookie Tyler Skyer.
Prior to winning in 2018, Team USA had not won the Mosconi Cup since 2010.
Gifford said he kind of fell into the deal while doing work for 2009 Mosconi Rookie and MVP Dennis Hatch. Dennis played on the team last year as well , and was invited to the team again. However, he had a commitment that made it tough to commit time to the training that led up to the event.
That commitment is what connected Gifford to the book deals.
That book will set up the single books that will follow with Skyler, The MVP of the Mosconi Cup; Tyler Styer, the rookie on the team who played lights out, and a book about Dennis Hatch.
“Out of all the books. Dennis’ story is the craziest story,” Gifford said. “Corey Deuels is right up there with him. But man, Dennis’ story could be a modern day “Godfather” movie set in the world of pool.”
The first book is titled “Sky Woodward, the Baddest from the Blue Grass.” Gifford spent time with Sky and his family over Thanksgiving when he went to Paducah, Kentucky.
“It was one of the highlights of my career — not only in authoring, but the Marines as well,” Gifford said. “I met Sky, another world champion — Marc “Bosh” from the Netherlands — and Sky’s family.
“We shot pool in the same pool hall as legendary Buddy Hall, and got some quality butt-kicking lessons from both pros on the bar box table. They shot like champions with house cues.”
“We have some talented pool players in central Ohio, but (these guys) were making the cue ball sing while easily running racks.”
You can look for the book releases online at www.LegendsofPool.com.
Gifford endgame is to make a movie, featuring each book, or one based on all of the books.
“There hasn’t been a top notch pool movie since the “Color of Money,”” Gifford said.
And he said he will do whatever it takes to get a movie done. He has been talking with an assistant of Gary Jones, a movie producer living in Crestline.
“Gary is best know for his work on ‘Boogeyman 3,’ Gifford said. “I was at Ralphies and a gentlemen asks if I knew a place to get some old school tile. He was building a set for Gary at their studio in Crestline and needed some tile. I suggested Prints and Paints and we continued talking. One thing lead to another and he invited me to a shooting at their set and a chance to meet Gary.
“So, we’ll see what happens.”
Gifford planned to have his first book out by the new year and plans to release one a month for the next year.
“It’s been exciting to write books,” he said. “I got started writing some books for Final Expense Insurance. One was a best seller on Amazon called “Final Expense Boot Camp.”
Insurance agents nationwide order that book to learn the ropes of selling insurance,” Gifford said. “I never thought it would take off. Out of the nine other books I have written, that one did (take off) because it was in a niche market.”
Gifford also wrote a book titled “2 Seconds.” It is about an event that happened while he was in the Marine Corps.