I made a bet with Ben Vaught, my de facto West Coast little brother, prior to the season. After every podcast I put up, he asked when he could be on it. So I told him, not thinking he would actually accomplish this until perhaps Manhattan, that he could be on the podcast when he qualified.

Well, it took him one event to do so. Ben, also known as Uncle Ben or Benny Boo Boo or Crack Shack, rolled through the Huntington Beach qualifier, stunning four-time Olympian Reid Priddy and Canadian Olympian Chaim Schalk in the final round. He cried a little. Hell, I was damn near tears, too.

So here is our conversation. We’ll cover:

  • His experience qualifying on the AVP as a 20-year-old.
  • What it’s like being in the players’ tent for the first time.
  • The number of training opportunities it has since opened up.
  • Ben’s progression through the years, and how he got so damn good so fast.
  • Beating Olympians
  • Playing Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb

Enjoy, and welcome back to the Paper Courts Podcast!

**** A note: I make a mistake during the interview with Ben. I tell him that it took Billy Allen 10 main draws to get a main draw win, when instead I should have said that it took 10 main draws to pick up a FIRST ROUND main draw win. Crazy the difference two words can make (apologies, Billy).