Brady Hoffmann

2020 WAMO Pool Tournament – The Vocalist Who Performed the National Anthem

When United States Air Force veteran and avid 35-year pool player Mat Hedgecock sings the national anthem in public, he eliminates his butterflies by focusing on the American flag and reflecting hard upon what it means.

Then he sings form the heart. Boy, does he ever.

Hedgecock, a Janesville resident who shoots pool for Whiskey Ranch 1, twice sang dazzling renditions of the anthem at the WAMO Wisconsin State Pool Tournament in La Crosse, bringing the house down with his near-operatic voice.

“I think about the people who serve and who have served,” said Hedgecock. “A lot have served, and a lot haven’t made it back.”

He has sang at various wrestling tournaments (he’s a coach), including a national tournament in Michigan. Hedgecock estimates he’s sang the anthem about 100 times.

“My favorite style of music are love longs and ballads,” he said. “I’m a big fan of Merle Haggard and Elvis Presley, but I don’t sound anything like them.”

Judging by their rousing applause, the 1,600 pool players at this weekend’s big WAMO event thought he sounded fantastic.

-Peter Barth