A world champion living at Lee’s Summit – Lee’s Summit Tribune
September 18, 2021
By Fred Liggett
Many people make plans to take advantage of the summer months in a number of ways. Some take short trips, others take long vacations while a few stay close to home to enjoy local events.
For Shannon Johnson of Lee’s Summit, her plan was to win a world championship. With the goal in view, Shannon and her father Herman Johnson left Kansas City in July for the state of Alabama.
A domino world championship tournament is held every year on the second weekend of July in Andalucia, Alabama. This year, the 45th annual event took place July 9 and 10 where a first prize of $ 5,000 was up for grabs. The event generated additional excitement this summer as last year the event was canceled in due to COVID-19. People from all over the country attend the event and it is the only tournament to recognize a world champion. The tournament is hosted annually by the Rotary Club of Andalusia with club president George Patterson overseeing the 2021 event.
Shannon Johnson admits that I “never heard of it”. Shannon and her father flew from Kansas City to Atlanta, then took a charter to Montgomery, Alabama, before hiring a car in Andalucia. Once the two were finally in Andalusia, the Johnsons saw a lower than normal turnout with around 130 players registered. Typically, there are over 400 participating players.
The registration cost was $ 100. Shannon said, “It was like this was going to be my day” when he drew number 58 for her number. Just like the NBA Lottery ping pong balls were placed in a rolling bin and the balls were removed one by one. Shannon is a huge Kansas City Chiefs fan who quickly admits her favorite Chiefs player is Derrick Thomas who once wore # 58 jersey. Bear Bryant, Alabama’s longtime head coach, is another popular football figure in the state. Back when Bryant was a coach, he was known to attend and even participate in the tournament. Shannon now says “I was nervous the whole tournament.” To add to the nervousness, Shannon says, “You don’t know what you’re up against. “
The tournament is organized as March Madness where players go to a table to sit down and then start the match. The medium looks a lot like the NCAA tournament every year. Shannon wasn’t the only one sitting at a table in the Kansas City metro area, as a total of six people made the trip to Alabama. One of the six was Shannon’s cousin who ultimately won $ 2,500. Shannon was matched with a partner, Macky Barnes of Booneville, Mississippi. Shannon feels that “the whole experience has been totally awesome”.
Shannon’s success in the tournament, he says, is because he “plays dominoes almost every day.” Now that he holds the championship belt, Shannon says that “the goal now is to go back and repeat.” Back home, Shannon admits that after winning the championship, “seeing the joy” on her father’s face was “a very special moment.” Shannon’s father Herman has watched his son’s game grow and grow over the years to the point where he’s talented enough to win a world championship.
Lee’s Summit is known for a lot and now the city can add a Domino World Champion to the list. For Herman and Shannon Johnson, it’s the culmination of a lot of training followed by a long road trip in an effort to achieve a goal that was achieved over the summer.