Memories of the Johnston City Hustler Jamborees ~ by R.A. Dyer/

Pool history includes plenty of examples of grander tournaments but few were as colorful as those in Johnston City.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the famous 1960s Johnston City tournaments, especially given the recent selection of tournament founders George and Paulie Jansco for posthumous induction into the Billiard Congress Hall of Fame.  The colorful tournaments in Southern Illinois were among the most celebrated in pool — both for the quality of play there, but also for the general mayhem surrounding them. Although American pool history includes examples of grander tournaments, few had a reputation for such raucousness and pure fun as the joyful events sponsored by George and Paulie Jansco in Johnston City.

I’ve written plenty about the Hustler Jamborees over the years and as a consequence I’ve received several letters from actual attendees. I also wrote a Johnston City retrospective for a 2011 edition of Billiard Digest. That’s the cover below and to the right.

From left, George Jansco, Eddy “Knoxville Bear” Taylor and Paulie Jansco.

For this post I have decided to reproduce excerpts from a few of these eyewitness letters. But before we get started, let me first provide the Cliff Notes explanation as to why you should care about all this. As mentioned previously, the brothers Jansco