Pearson shoots for record

Dave Pearson probably has the Guinness Book of World Records on speed dial.

That would be appropriate for a speed pool player who will try to establish another record — he has had more than 20 entries in the renowned book — tonight at Lava Lanes.

Pearson, who currently has four records, will attempt to break his own mark of 10 racks of 15 balls in less than 8 minutes, 51.1 seconds — a time standard, he says via e-mail, which has yet to be threatened. He'll go back-and-forth between two tables, racking and shooting, racking and shooting.

If he scratches, hits the cue ball while it's moving or has any other infraction, there's a five- or 10-second penalty.

Pearson calls the record "very hard," but added, "it will be close."

Lava Lanes owner Ric Donnelly met Pearson at a Las Vegas arcade convention and sought to bring him here for the record attempt, which will also serve as a fundraiser for the Children's Advocacy Center. The cue Pearson uses will be raffled, its ultimate value determined by whether he's successful.

Pearson, who was raised in northern England and lives in Las Vegas, has appeared on ESPN more than 50 times and a number of talk and variety shows. In addition to his speed skills, he's a trick-shot artist and will do that as well tonight.

"He's very popular," says Donnelly. "Most people might not know his name, but they'd definitely recognize him. He's never been to Medford, so I thought it'd be cool to get him here."

Medford might be one of the few places Pearson hasn't been. He logs about 1.2 million air miles a year, he says, and travels to as many as 40 countries annually.

To wit, he flew Tuesday from Korea to Mexico City, where he attended a trade show Wednesday. Phone communication was difficult, hence the e-mail interview.

When Donnelly met Pearson, the latter had recently given what he called one of his more exciting shows. He appeared at halftime of a Cleveland Cavaliers game, then was invited by LeBron James to entertain "20 or 30 guests" at the superstar's home that evening.

"On TV, it's kind of neat to see him," says Donnelly, "but what's even better is seeing him in person. He's just so nice and personable and talking to everybody. He definitely has the charisma, and he has that English accent."

When shooting at 10 racks, the 8-ball is placed in the middle and the head ball on the spot. The player can pocket any ball as long as the 8-ball is last.

The cue ball must come to a stop after each shot, but other balls can be moving.

"The hardest part is the speed and accuracy combined," says Pearson. "Plus, your back is going up and down, and after five racks, the back tightens up."

Pearson is the consummate showman and interacts with and gains adrenaline from the crowd, particularly on a 10-rack attempt that takes awhile to complete.

He also has the one-table record of an incredible 26.5 seconds. He first set the mark at age 21 of 43 seconds, then progressively lowered it to 39.1, 35.1 and 32.4 seconds.

"The one-table record, you have to make at least four balls on the break," says Pearson. "It is an impressive time. However, when I got this record, I missed the 8-ball. Otherwise, I would have done 23 seconds."

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail

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