Dakota Datebook


Monday, December 22, 2008


Conman Professor Harold Hill of The Music Man warned the good people of Iowa to watch out for the dangers a pool table can wreak on youth. And if a pool table is a source of Trouble with a capital “T” in River City, then what about billiards?

Well, that’s a different story, for one man originally from Minot, Mr. C. T. Vanenoever. Not only did he stay out of Trouble, he was recognized nationally as a billiard-playing ace in the hole-or is that corner pocket?

On this date in 1922, Minot was all abuzz and his parents, Peter and Charlotte, were surely proud as peacocks over an article published about him in Billiards Magazine.

The article stated that “The nomenclature of various forms of sport include many terms which have been coined and which are frequently used but we have failed to find anything in what may be termed billiard lingo that describes a billiard fan extraordinary. Coming under this classification is … C.T. Vandenoever.”

At the time of the article’s publication, the former Minot man was living and working as a miller in Minneapolis, but he was known all over the United States as a brilliant billiards player. He didn’t always have time to enter many tournaments, and at one point, he even gave up the game, not playing for about four years. However, he traveled a lot for his job, and wherever he went, he played billiards. He was well-known in billiard parlors in Kansas City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Spokane and New York.

Vandenoever didn’t win all the time, but he was still really good. He played against champions, each time winning or losing only by a few points.

Billiards weren’t all, in Vandenoever’s life, though. He was married, and had two children. In the summer, he played baseball and fished, and in the fall, he went hunting. He occasionally flew airplanes.
In the end, perhaps one of the most amazing things about Vandenoever was not so much that he stayed out of trouble, but with all his other activities, that he stayed long enough to be interviewed for the article.

By Sarah Walker

Minot Daily News, Saturday Evening, December 23, 1922, p.13

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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