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Chronicles of the 1st Womens Professional Billiard Association President

....My personal historical knowledge of the pocket billiard community began in 1974. I don’t consider myself to be an expert. I am going by things I remember and pool clippings and paraphernalia left over from my travels to tournaments from that time on. I don’t know everything that was going on around the country but I did have my finger on the pulse of what was happening in and around the east coast. The BCA was king in those days, truly the governing body of pool. Added to that, there were individual pool promoters that were always trying to have a bigger and better tournament than anyone else. I believe these promoters had their hearts in the right place but their eyes were bigger than their pocket books. They hoped to attract ticket buying spectators and big advertisers to a tournament with a large player field. The players, of course, paid entry fees to the event that helped to make up the offered prize monies.

.....From 1977 to 1981, I, as WPBA President, worked out deals with these promoters to add a women’s division to their events. In 1978, I worked out an agreement with a promoter in Maryland for the WPBA to be part of a huge tournament he was planning. As it turned out, it would be the only event he ever produced. It worked out to be a successful event for WPBA players, but not for the men. The promoter added $1000 to the women’s prize fund making it total $3000. In those days, $1000 added made it officially a major tournament. Besides prize money, and donated prizes such as cues, cases and accessories, the WPBA players received points from the event that were posted to their bid to be entered into the WPBA National Championship at year’s end.

.....By the second day of the event, rampart rumors abounded that the promoter was going broke because there were not enough ticket sales and advertisers. Since we were a fledgling organization, it was important for me to keep our integrity intact, especially concerning prize money payouts. As women players were eliminated from the event, I went to them and told them to collect their prize money in cash from the promoter over at the ticket sales desk. I had prearranged with the promoter to payout the women players upon their second loss in the double elimination tournament. All the player had to do was endorse her check and the promoter handed her cash. After the tournament was over, I clearly remember seeing the winner of the men’s division waving his check and saying to the crowd that he would sell his $4500 check to anyone for $2000. My anxiety was mounting. In those days there were no ATM machines and only a few people had credit cards. Business transactions were by cash or check. I felt an enormous responsibility to make sure that all WPBA players got paid, especially the Champion.

.....At 8:00 AM the morning after the tournament, I woke Gloria Walker, the winner of the women’s division, in her hotel room. She was the only player that had received a check because the ticket sales desk had already been taken down by the time the finals ended; everyone else had gotten paid in cash. I had already found out where the promoter’s bank was located in town the first day of the tournament. I drove Gloria to the bank in my car. When the doors of the bank opened at 9:00 AM, Gloria and I walked into the bank. She went to the teller and, thankfully, her $1000 check cleared and she was given her cash. In our case, we laughed all the way out of the bank. It was a satisfying moment. We had hosted a successful major event and the reliability of the WPBA was intact. The promoter, to my knowledge, was never seen again. Later I found out that over half the men’s field had never received their prize money, including the winner of the men’s division.

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