Featured in the January 2001 Issue
One Tough Pool Town

Missoula, Montana has always had a reputation as one tough pool town. Many a shortstop as well as hardened road agents have left the Garden City with lighter wallets.

Bob Dylan once stated that he could measure the pulse of a town by it's pool room. Missoula's pulse has always been strong, with a rich tradition of billiard rooms noted for serious big table play.

In the 60's, Carroll's Billiards and Eight Ball Billiards were no-nonsense rooms with lots of action. Playing eighty ball no-count with a high run of 199 in straight pool, Bruce Christensen held court. Bruce served as judge, jury and executioner; drilling all of the locals on a regular basis and sending road dogs packing. Only Cole Dickson, at that time the best money player on Planet Earth was able to best "The Vulture".

Corner Pocket Billiards, through the 70's and 80's was an upscale room ahead of it's time. Before upscale rooms emerged as popular in the 90's around the northwest's major cities. Montana and Idaho were blessed with an abundance of luxurious Corner Pockets from Missoula to Boise; with rooms in Kalispell, Bozeman, Great Falls, Billings, Butte, Helena, Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, Lewiston, Pocatello, Idaho Falls and as far away as Colorado Springs. Tom Beber, owner of The Corner Pocket in Missoula, put his room on the map for the standard as far as management and promotion were concerned. Tom ran an impeccable room, and hosting two major annual added money 9-Ball events he drew players from all over the country. In October was The Montana State 9-Ball Open and come May was the Garden City Classic. The great talent that played Missoula was a microcosm of the northwest's best, a Who's Who of Pool, if you will.

So many top players showed up in Missoula it's impossible to remember them all. Hall of Famers Jim Rempe, Joe Balsis, Jimmy Caras, and "Cowboy" Jimmy Moore graced the room. Other World Champions in Dan Louie, Frank McGowan and Grady Matthews won in Missoula. Lance Saunders from Billings, MT won an incredible four tournaments in a row by simply beating everyone flat. Bob "Fudsy" Gray, from Missoula also claimed a victory as well as several second place finishes. Canadian greats Stan Tourangeau, Brady Golan, John Horsfall, Bernie Mickelson and "Frenchy" Boutein all won and placed hight. Tony Annigoni, Terry Boucher, Joe Hardesty, "Hawaiian Brian" Hashimoto, Sterling Carter, Mike Zimmerman, "Cowboy" Bob Kollasch, Larry Gross, Don Oliver, Bill Cress, Brad Gowin, Patrick Ferryman, David Rhodes, Rich Geiler, Terry Johnston and many other top players have left their mark on Missoula's rich billiard tradition.

Missoula in the 70's and 80's was a MECCA for those in search of the Holy Rail. It became an OASIS for fine quality tournaments and road players didn't have to like the action.

Part of the flavor for top players coming to Montana was a scenic road trip through some of our country's most breathtaking beauty; only to be treated to down home Big Sky hospitality by local players and fans starved to watch great billiards.

Well, get ready to rack em up again! Cue Ball's Billiards has just opened and wants to extend a warm welcome to each and every player out there, no matter what their skill level.

Pete "Cue Ball" Quande and his brother Bruce, along with Tom Reed saw the desire and the need to open a player friendly-people friendly room with something for everyone. Pete, having played pool over 35 years, has set up a room designed around his experience from having managed three rooms while a student at the University of Montana where he received a Liberal Arts degree in History and Political Science. After serving as a medic in Vietnam he won the University 14:1 Straight Pool Championship. At that time the University Champion was honored by being allowed to play an exhibition 14:1 match against one of Brunswick's Hall of Famers. Pete played World Champion, Jimmy Caras, and almost pulled off an upset; making high runs of 44 and 48 balls. He led the match 92-12 only to miss an easy out and had to endure an 80 ball run and out by Caras. "I choked", says Pete, "but it was the greatest thrill of my career. Caras was all class and a gentleman as well. He left an indelible imprint on my mind of how the game would be played." Having played most everywhere in Montana as well as in many of the top rooms throughout the Northwest, "Cue Ball" has won two regional 9-Ball Championships, finished second seven times and has nailed down numerous third and fourth place finishes. "I've also had my brains beat out, more often thant not", says Pete. "Pool is a sport where we all do alot more losing than winning but my definition of a winner is someone that just won't quit. In five more years I'll have played pool forty years. I tell everyone I'm going to entitle my book of pool memoirs, 'The Cue Ball Quande Story - 40 Years of Cold Rolls'. Billiards is like baseball, try your best at bat .300 and learn to win with some sense of humility and learn to lose with some sense of graciousness. In both winning and losing we learn alot about ourselves and alot about life."

Pete's love and knowledge for the game are reflected in this room's confortable surroundings. Cue Ball's Billiards features seven new 4 1/2 x 9 Brunswick's with Simonis 860 and red circle cue balls. It also has two Valley 4 x 8's. The room is spacious and roomy for both players and spectators. A superb ventilation system circulates the air, keeping it clean for both smokers and non-smokers. With 9 big TV's, Foosball, Darts, Chess and Cribbage; there's something for everyone.

Tom Reed, the Quande's partner, has owned Buck's Club for 20 years and promotes Missoula's hottest Rock n' Roll throughout the week. With Missoula's best food and drink specials (including breakfast) Buck's Club and Cue Ball's Billiards is Missoula's hottest action spot in town.

Cue Ball's Billiards would like to welcome all of you back to the Garden City as Cue Ball's is bringing back and hosting Montana's two major 9-Ball events. The Montana State 9-Ball Open will be in October and the Garden City Classic will be held in May. Cue Ball's has a Wednesday night weekly 9-Ball and a Friday night 8-Ball tourney. The first Sunday of every month a $25 "King of the Hill" 9-Ball tourney will take place. Next time you're in Missoula stop in and say "Hello". Whether you want to play a game of crib, practice a bit, have a friendly match, seek out some serious action, or simply enjoy a free cup of coffee and some pleasant conversation, Cue Ball's Billiards is the place to go.

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