by: Don "Cheese" Akerlow
The Billiard Congress of America 2001 International Trade Expo - Las Vegas, Nevada July 19 - 21

The event was a huge success. Imagine going to your local billiard supply and just looking around only now there are 277 different billiard suppliers in 125,000 square feet. Talk about a "kid in a candy store", thatís the way I felt!

I arrived on Thursday about noon. This was my first trade show, so once I walked through the door, got my pass and everything then went onto the actual floor itself, what a sight! There were so many exhibitors, who knew where to begin first. I checked in with the BCA booth, met Amy Long, John Lewis and a few of the staff and sat and talked to them for awhile. I then started to walk around. There were a few people I did want to see on my list that were from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California. This took me through about half of my list the first day.

I had the priviledge of meeting BCA Hall of Fame member Jimmy Caras. I also met Jeanette Lee, Ewa Mataya Laurance, Megan Smith, Tiffany Nelson, Karen Corr, Allison Fisher, Mike Segal, Nick Varner, Jim Rempe along with seeing Mike Massey again, Jim Chapman and Herb Wilmot from Westar, Joe and Bridget Porper, Bob Meucci and the list goes on and on. Itís amazing after twelve years of talking to the majority of these people on the phone such as Jason Bowman with APA, Joel Shapiro with Viking Cue and Jan McWorter president of the WPBA, to be able to put faces with names of people Iíve talked to. There are so many exhibits, it is virtually impossible to go through it in the three days that I was there, but I tried. I enjoyed meeting everyone.

On Saturday about 1 PM there was a press conference for all the Media. We were able to talk to the trade show representative as well as Amy Long, and Stephen Ducoff with BCA. The majority of the questions were asked concerning the upcoming World Games in Aikita, Japan August 16-26. How the decision was made as to who was sent from the United States to participate. The women chosen were the top ladies of the WPBA. Since there wasnít a menís actual ranking, they were chosen by the tournaments they played in throughout the last year and how they did with an artificial ranking system this time. My concern was, "Is there going to be some type of qualifiers such as they hold in Colorado Springs for the Olympic Games? Tournaments throughout the United States perhaps as a State Championship with qualifiers to get to the State Championship." Their reply was that nothing had been formulated as yet but everything is on the table to make it as fair as possible and have the best representation that is possible to be sent on to the World Games and eventually the Olympics. There was no update on the Olympics as yet. There were other concerns about the trade show with space and vehicles that were there, that may or may not have been obscuring or blocking other vendors. After the trade show got started everybody seemed to have had their sales running along at a pretty good clip, so the concern was lightened. Next yearís BCA International Trade Show will be in New Orleans July 25 - 27, 2002 at the Morial Convention Center.

There are many plans for the promotion of pool through the BCA that are coming up in the future and press releases will be forthcoming. As they are given to us, we will inform you, the pool player, of what they are. You can look forward to whatís coming up and whatís going on in the future and what the future of pool is for everybody because itís everybodyís game. Also discussed in the newsconference was the upcoming pool on PBS, how it is going to relate. It must be educational in nature as well as getting the message across that pool is for everyone and everyone can play. There will be more on when in the fall we can expect to see it on PBS. We will have news releases in future issues.

I also ran into Carissa Biggs from Portland and we talked for a good forty-five minutes to an hour, maybe even longer. It was nice to meet her and be able to talk with her.

One of the highlights for me at the show was to meet the incomparable World Champion Jimmy Caras. I also was able to take a picture of him which will be a treasured memorabelia for myself.

I was very impressed with the organization of the trade show and how well it was run. There were over 1,300 booths from BCA member exhibitors from around the world. Exhibitor categories included: billiard & game tables, cloth, slate, cues, cases, balls, racks and stands, chalk and talc, lighting, decor, billiard accessories, spas, bars and barstools, apparel, associations, books and videos, darts and dartboards, software, food service items, jukeboxes, publications, insurance and promotional items.

On The Break would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff of BCA and W.T. Glasgow, Inc (Expo Management) and Dave Anglum of Colle & McVoy, Inc. (marketing firm) for an excellent Trade Expo and look forward to next yearís show in New Orleans.

Following are some of the pictoral highlights of the show.

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