THE HISTORY OF THE IOWA STATE POOLPLAYERS ASSOCIATION
In 1995, a group of pool league operators formed an association (Iowa State BCA Poolplayers Association) to provide a state level pool tournament for their league players. This association was originally affiliated with the Billiard Congress of America (BCA). The first State Championship Tournament was organized and held in Clinton, Iowa utilizing 25 pool tables in a local pool hall for the two-day event. There were approximately 250 players representing Clinton, Davenport, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Ames and Waterloo.
In 1996, the tournament had grown to over 500 players, increased to 60 pool tables and moved to Cedar Rapids. At this time, the Association needed to hire a tournament director and rent the 60 pool tables. This was accomplished by donations from the original league operators, selling sponsorships to businesses and income earned from the players paying for the games.
In 1997, the tournament moved to the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo. We had doubled in size and now required 100 pool tables. The event was also extended to three days. In the next few years, we experienced modest growth - to approximately 1500 to 1700 players and 120 pool tables. New events were added, and the tournament was extended to a five-day event.
2006 brought with it some turmoil. The BCA broke up, a new BCA League System was formed, and the ACS organization entered the pool scene. Our leadership involved in the tournament concluded that we could better serve our players to reorganize as an independent association (Iowa State Poolplayers Association), and we have remained independent quite successfully to date. The ISPA was recognized by the IRS as a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation on April 24, 2006.
Also in 2006, the tournament venue changed again. The tournament had outgrown the facility in Waterloo as we approached 2000 players and required more that the 120 tables, which was more than Waterloo could support. The tournament was relocated to the River Center in Davenport, as there was room to expand.
In 2013, the ISPA tournament was once again on the move. The Iowa Event Center / Hy-Vee Hall was selected as the future venue for the vent, offering the advantages of a central location in the state, which was important to promote continued growth. Hy-Vee Hall additionally offered the ability to co-locate all 160 tables in a single room. Additionally, Hy-Vee Hall could easily support another 160 tables should the association continue to increase its annual participation.
The ISPA tournament is the largest independent state level pool tournament events in the United States. To play in a larger event, you need to participate in an event run by a National organization.