ADAMS A 33-year-old tradition is still going strong here. Though few of the original organizers are around, the annual Beenfield Pool Tournament has kept some participants returning for 30 years. Sundays tournament was no exception, drawing 80 participants from all over the north country.
We started it in 1981, just a group of people, Tom Eastham said. I think Im one of the last ones left.
Mr. Eastham and his friends created the inaugural pool tournament in memory of their friend David R. Beenfield, who died at age 21 as the result of a motorcycle accident in the town of Adams in 1980.
We knew him as Beenie, Mr. Eastham said. No one called him David.
Mr. Eastham also called him his best friend.
He was going to be my best man in my wedding, Mr. Eastham said. He died in July; I got married in November.
The two graduated from South Jefferson Central School in 1976.
Mr. Beenfield reportedly was a fan of pool, though Mr. Eastham said, Oh, we were a fan of lots of things.
Now, as a resident of Cuba in Allegany County, Mr. Eastham makes the four-hour trip here each year to honor his friend.
He recalled the first tournament drew 32 shooters. Its continued to grow since.
Its first year, the tournament was held at the fire department in Mannsville. It later was relocated to the community building in Adams Center.
There was a waiting list for Sundays tournament, which took place at the Don Rounds American Legion Post 586, where the Sons of the American Legion have hosted the event for several years.
Money raised from the tournament goes toward three $500 scholarships the Sons give out each year at South Jefferson and Belleville Henderson central school districts.
A large number of Lewis County residents attended this year, including last years winner, Timothy M. Turck, Lowville. That win marked his sixth year of participation. He noted he previously participated in the posts Beenfield winter pool league.
The tournament is a family affair for the Foley family of Cicero, now in their 30th year of attendance.
Weve been coming for so many years, it feels like were part of the Beenfield league, Roy J. Foley said.
Mr. Foley has competed with his mother and father, sister, uncles, cousins and in-laws. At one point, Mr. Foley said, the family had matching sweatshirts made for the event.
They got involved back in the beginning through relatives, the Larkin family of Adams.
The double-elimination tournament takes place on five pool tables and runs for approximately eight hours. Winners receive a cash prize and trophy.
Steven B. Crumb, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, said the all-day event is one of the groups largest fundraisers each year.