As you are reading this, the 2015 Super Billiards Expo — held in Oaks, Pennsylvania — has come and gone. If you were there, you are going to relate to this article in a big way. For those who did not attend, you will be reading this with anticipation for next year.
What is the Super Billiards Expo? In a nutshell, if it is related to the sport of billiards, it will be under the roof. It ran in conjunction with the TAP League’s “Rally in the Valley” tournament, with multiple divisions of open entry events, including juniors and pro level pool tournaments. The expo can be summed up into two words: BILLIARDS HEAVEN.
From my personal experience, the expo is what I would call a bucket list event for some, myself included. This one was my first. Cue makers, collectors, distributors, suppliers, pros, amateurs, clothing, teachers. You name it, it was there… all for you to look at, talk to, pick up (maybe), buy, sell, trade, or get signed.
Growing up, most aspiring pool players have heard about George Balabushka, right? His cues are infamous, sought after by many, attained by few, and admired by all. I heard the name growing up, saw pictures, etc. I never would have thought I would be standing in front of one, let alone hold one. I had just that chance a few times during the trip. The Golden Balabushka was on display. A simple yet elegant cue that is George’s masterpiece work, and considered priceless.
Coster, Paradise, Rambow, Spain, Martin, Szamboti, were just a few other famous cues that were for sale or on display, along with current makers: Nitti, Black Boar, Lomax, Prather, Tonkin, AE, McDermott, Jacoby, and Blackcreek.
The list is way longer but you get the idea.
Now go back and read that again and let this sink in for a second.
They were all in one place, at the same time.
Can you imagine having the chance to see all these cues at the same time? The same time! The historical significance alone of this list is mind blowing, to say the least.
How about the pros attending the event? For anyone wanting to meet some of the top players in the country, you are all but inches from a handshake or a conversation. Make sure you keep your head on a swivel because you may miss the chance you are looking for: they happen fast and you need to be on top of it. The after-hours action is just as intense as the main events, so don’t think just because the matches are done for the day that the matches are really over. Seeing and meeting players from when I was growing up — like Loree Jon Jones — was another major highlight of the trip.
So why do I call this a bucket list event? As players, we all aspire to do great things with the game in some way, shape, or form (be it to become a professional player, a cue maker, teacher, writer, etc.) This event is what we all aspire to be. Growing up, we see pros on TV, see pictures of cues in magazines, and hear stories of magical shots made by magical (yet everyday) people we only hope to be when we get older.
I never really had the chances growing up like I do now to be around the greatest pool players in the country. Seeing the history first hand was worth the trip by itself… so I want to leave you with this: If you have never been to the Super Billiards Expo, GO!
If you’re a parent, take your kids for the day. After all, the children are the future of this sport. Enlighten them on the history of the game and cue makers. Let them meet the pros and show them that it is possible to become what they aspire to achieve in any aspect of the game. It is a trip that all players should definitely make once in their lives—and if you’re like me, you will go twice.