clash royale hack pixel gun 3d hack mobile legends
HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
From the Publisher
By Mike Panozzo
Mike became editor of Billiards Digest in 1980 and liked it so much that he bought the company. He has served on the Billiard Congress of America board of directors and as president of the Billiard & Bowling Institute of America.

• September 2017
• August 2017
• July 2017
• June 2017
• May 2017
• April 2017
• March 2017
• February 2017
• January 2017
• December 2016
• November 2016
• October 2016
• September 2016
• August 2016
• July 2016
• June 2016
• May 2016
• Apr 2016
• Mar 2016
• Feb 2016
• Jan 2016
• Dec 2015
• Nov 2015
• Oct 2015
• Sept 2015
• August 2015
• July 2015
• June 2015
• May 2015
• April 2015
• March 2015
• February 2015
• January 2015
• October 2014
• August 2014
• May 2014
• March 2014
• February 2014
• September 2013
• June 2013
• May 2013
• April 2013
• March 2013
• February 2013
• January 2013
• December 2012
• November 2012
• October 2012
• September 2012
• August 2012
• July 2012
• June 2012
• May 2012
• April 2012
• March 2012
• February 2012
• January 2012
• December 2011
• November 2011
• October 2011
• September 2011
• August 2011
• July 2011
• June 2011
• May 2011
• April 2011
• March 2011
• February 2011
• January 2011
• December 2010
• November 2010
• October 2010
• September 2010
• August 2010
• July 2010
• June 2010
• May 2010
• April 2010
• March 2010
• February 2010
• January 2010
• December 2009
• November 2009
• October 2009
• September 2009
• August 2009
• July 2009
• June 2009
• May 2009
• April 2009
• March 2009
• February 2009
• January 2009
• October 2008
• September 2008
• August 2008
• July 2008
• May 2008
• April 2008
• March 2008
• February 2008
• January 2008
June: 25 or 6 to 4
June 2008
There isn't a single moment that has had a greater impact on the billiard industry over the past 25 years than that moment on May 23, 1984, when the Billiard Congress of America board of directors cut the ribbon at the Tarrant County Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas, to signify the opening of the industry's first dedicated trade show.

Sure, the night in 1986 when "The Color of Money" opened in theaters around the country set in motion an incredible stretch of good fortune for manufacturers, retailers and poolroom owners. But would the movie's impact have reached the levels it did without the annual BCA Trade Show to maximize the business potential? And while the movie's impact was immense, it's long since run its course. The expo is still as relevant and important to the industry today as it was 25 years ago.

Surprisingly, the annual billiard trade show wasn't the result of years of analysis at the board level. It evolved quickly from a simple discussion among several industry leaders over cocktails during the 1982 Billiard & Bowling Institute of America annual convention. Billiard manufacturers and distributors had grown tired of playing second (or third, or fourth) fiddle at the National Sporting Goods Association's annual trade show in Chicago. For years the arrogant and unresponsive NSGA showed little regard for billiard industry exhibitors, sprinkling them around the massive McCormick Place exhibit hall with little rhyme or reason. Other facets of the sporting goods industry (tennis and golf, to name two) were breaking off to launch their own trade shows, and billiard leaders like then-BCA president Dave Maidment of World of Leisure and Chuck Milhem of coin-op table giant Valley Mfg., wondered whether the billiard industry could sustain its own show as well.

The BCA, which at the time barely had enough of a budget to operate its own office, didn't have the funds to foot the initial cost of staging a show. Enter Frank Zdy, a trade publications and expo communications veteran, who offered to produce the show himself. In exchange for the rights to run the show, Zdy agreed to handle all costs (and risks) and give the BCA a small percentage of the show revenue.

At the time, the billiard industry was mired in a horrific economic slump. Astronomical interest rates and double-digit unemployment combined to cripple the industry in the early '80s. But the idea of its very own trade show seemed to breath life into the business, and the first-ever BCA expo in Fort Worth was a roaring success. Over those first four days in 1984, the billiard industry came together as a business, as an industry, and as a family. The trade show would grow virtually every year through the new millennium, and its success helped fortify the BCA.

But for me, the first decade of trade shows was the best of times. As us "old timers" say, it was a simpler time. In those days, the billiard industry was the billiard industry. Retailers who attended the show didn't sell spas or "home recreation." They sold billiards. And the manufacturers made billiard tables, cues, cases and chairs - not theater seating, video games and outdoor furniture. Not that I have anything against today's exhibitors and buyers. Business has changed, the distribution chain has changed the world has changed. And our industry has had to change with the times.

But along the way the billiard industry seems to have lost its soul. There used to be a connection that bound together the manufacturers, retailers, room owners and players. And oftentimes that connection was rooted in the game itself, which would explain why the annual Hall of Fame banquet - long the social highlight of the trade show - used to routinely draw 400-500 decked-out attendees. It was a chance to honor not only the game's stars, but to honor the game itself. Attendees sat on the edge of their collective seats to hear acceptance speeches by Minnesota Fats (and if it weren't for banquet emcee Mike Geiger's diplomatic handling of Fats, we might still be sitting there!), Jean Balukas, Mike Sigel, Lou Butera. Precious few exhibitors or attendees today actually grew up with the game and its heroes, and as a result the Hall of Fame banquet became a poorly attended afterthought. And that's a shame.

And while the show's inevitable move to Las Vegas proved to be a boon for the BCA, it came at what I always felt was a huge expense: schmoozing sessions. Gone are the late nights in the lounge of the host hotels in Fort Worth, Louisville, Kansas City and Nashville, where hundreds of trade show goers would mingle until the wee hours talking shop, striking deals, forging friendships and, on occasion, plotting a 4 a.m. attack on the hotel pool.

In June, the BCA will celebrate the 25th anniversary of what is now the International Billiard & Home Recreation Expo at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. Hopefully the industry, once again mired in a slump, will once again pull itself together and lift itself back to prosperity. We did it 25 years ago. We can do it again.

In the meantime, I think I'll spend my time in Charlotte reminiscing about the show's humble beginnings. It will offer another chance to honor the Hall of Famers, and I'm sure I'll find a friend or two in the lobby lounge.

I might even pack my swim trunks.