In the span of twelve short years Michael J. Bates went from being a virtual unknown to becoming one of the best known and most respected people in the Arizona pool community. And the most extraordinary aspect of that achievement is the fact that he did it without even touching a pool cue.
On May 6, 2008, Mike Bates took possession of the largest (albeit, struggling) of three Six Shooters Billiards locations that were in operation in the Valley at that time. Mike’s acquisition was the room located at 35th and Peoria Avenues in northwest Phoenix. The other two Six Shooters locations (Tempe and west Phoenix) eventually went the way of so many other failed pool rooms in Arizona.
Upon acquisition, Mike renamed his room Bull Shooters Billiards & Sports Bar where he immediately went to work making that name one that has become known across the country in both pool and dart circles as one that represents the best to be had in both of those sports. With a stature and personality that is reminiscent of the late, great John Wayne, Mike Bates has worked tirelessly to elevate the status of pool in Arizona by installing and maintaining top-notch equipment; by promoting and hosting huge tournaments; and by supporting all players, plus many charitable organizations.
Mike’s example and leadership has had a tremendous impact on pool in Arizona as they have had the effect of raising a standard that other pool rooms have been striving to meet for the past decade.
When road players discussed the idea of a trip through Arizona, certainly they warned each other to prepare for the lack of humidity and the unbearable heat. In the late 90’s and 2000s though, they also undoubtedly warned each other of the existence of a Hale Storm in the Phoenix area.
Doug Hale arrived in Arizona in the mid to late 80s and it took him a little time to develop the game that all of Arizona got to witness. By the early 90s though, he was one of the top players in the state. Doug dominated the local tournament scene through the 90’s and then took a break from the game. He returned without any rust in early 2003, where he defeated a young Scott Frost in the finals of an open event at Pappys.
Hale might have reached his tournament peak from 2005 to 2007, where he was virtually unstoppable on the Olhausen Desert All Around Tour. Barbox 8-ball was his specialty and he displayed his form in that game at the 2005 Arizona State Barbox 8-Ball Championship where he won a match 7-0 with six table runs, allowing his opponent one trip to the table.
In addition to his tournament domination, Doug surprised many a road player when they thought they might have an easy match on their way through Phoenix. Pappy’s was the hot spot for road players coming through town back then, and owner Tom Ferris was always looking to put Hale in action. Ferris recalls that Doug was always a phone call away and willing to take on anyone looking for a game. “Doug played Jeremy Jones the week after he won the US Open, and broke even” said Ferris.
While the “Hale Storm” moniker was convenient, Ferris also recalled Doug’s other nickname of “Dapper Doug” Hale. “When he woke up he must have looked like that” said Ferris, recalling Hale’s image of always being well dressed and a gentleman at the table.
Hale finally left the game again in the late 2000s and has been reportedly tearing up the tables in the Sun City area ever since.
Tom DiLorenzo grew up in West Covina, Southern California in the 60s and 70s. By the age of 20, he was matching up with some of the best players in the country. He took two years away from the game when he was drafted in 1969. While serving in Vietnam, he earned the Purple Heart for wounds received in battle. He returned to the game of pool in late 1970.
In 1978, he moved to Mesa Arizona where he played at the Q & Brew in Tempe where he met Bob Jackson. The first big “State Tournament” that he won was the 1983 “Road to Tahoe Classic”, where he double dipped Don Rose in the finals. Winning this event earned Tom entry to The Caesar’s Tahoe Classic” in Reno. At that event, Tom defeated Ray Martin who had just won the Tampa 9-Ball a month before.
Tom won six Arizona State Titles including both singles and scotch doubles 9-ball, 8-ball and One Pocket.
In 1989, Tom opened Tommy’s Billiards in Mesa and he was the first room owner to bring Diamond Pool Tables into Arizona in the early 90s. Tom held both amateur and pro events at Tommy’s and attracted all of the top pro players to town. Tom also owned Tommy’s Billiards and Sports Bar in Tempe in the mid 90s.
Tom retired from pool around 2006, but came back ten years later and is still competing with the best players in the state. While he believes his glory days are behind him, Tom still enjoys playing and knocking off some of the young guns from time to time.
Chuck Evans was introduced to pocket billiards in the summer of 1967, shortly after being discharged from the Army. Chuck noticed a pool hall near 19th avenue and Camelback and stopped in to see what it was all about. From that day forward, Chuck was hooked.
Chuck learned to play golf and snooker on the 12’ Snooker Table and was soon introduced to three cushion billiards which he credits for helping his game a lot.
After getting married and starting a family, Chuck put his pool career on hold. He came back to pool in the late 1980s when he was convinced to play on the Northwest Eight Ball League. In 1989, he was voted league MVP with a won/loss record of 51 wins and 3 losses. It was at that time that Chuck began practicing as much as he could (around a full time job) and he started competing in tournaments outside of Arizona.
1990 – 2002: Competed in 12 Reno Opens, cashing 9 times
1995 – 2010: Competed in 10 Swanee Memorial Tournaments, cashing 7 times
1998: 9th place finish out of 1756 players at the BCA Open 8-Ball Tournament
2001: Finished 33rd out of 251 pro players at the US Open 9-Ball Tournament
2003 – 2004 : Back to back second place finishes at the Hard Times Billiard Open
2006: Won Arizona State Senior Billiard Championship
2006 – 2008: Three time APA Division “7” MVP
2008 – 2009: Two time Bullshooters BCA League MVP
2008 – 2010: Compete three times at the US Open 9-Ball Championship
2009: Won Arizona State Senior Billiard Championship
2012: Top points list player on Desert Classic Tour
2013: Competed in the Turning Stone Classic in Syracuse, NY where he won the 2nd chance tournament
2014: Top points list player on Desert Classic Tour
2019: Won Arizona State Senior Billiard Championship
Chuck credits his wife Cindie for much of his success. They have been married 21 years and Chuck says he wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without her support.
Bob Jackson was Born In New Mexico and moved to Arizona at an early age. He enjoyed playing pool and was very
engaged in this game.
In the 1980’s, he worked at The Q & Brew in Downtown Tempe. He promoted tournaments, leagues and Match Play. He also worked at Wally’s in west Phoenix where he promoted numerous high end bar tournaments there.
In 1993 he opened Main Street Billiards and spent approximately 10 years promoting the game of pool.
In the early 2000’s, Bob moved to Tucson and spent another 10 years promoting the game until health issues forced his retirement.
Bob literally held 1000’s of tournaments, and always gave a helping hand to all
He was truly a pioneer promoting pool In Arizona.
Ellis “Tres” Kane
Tres Kane’s pool career started in 1980 at Pasquali’s Pizza in Phoenix where he organized the league teams and ran tournaments (including some of the first Women’s only events).
In 1985, Tres began playing at Golden 8-Ball where he was introduced to a higher level of play on the 9’ tables. Tres played in all of the major events in Arizona, usually finishing out of the money.
From the late 80’s until it’s closing in the mid 90’s, Tres played daily at the new Golden 8-Ball, competing against some of the best players from around the country. Tres started winning some smaller tournaments and it was during this time frame that Tres developed his love to One Pocket after being taught to play by Jim Matney.
Starting in 1993, Tres competed in the World Police & Fire Games pool tournament all across the world, where he won multiple bronze, silver and gold medals.
From 2012 – 2017, Tres co-directed the Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour with Kristie Ortega, He also directed the Women’s Regional Tour Championship at Bullshooters in 2012.
From 2011 – 2018, Tres ran the monthly one pocket tournament at Bullshooters. He also hosted and personally sponsored the $4000 added one pocket event in October 2012.
Along with Junior Flores, Tres ran the 2018 West Coast Swing tournament, attended by many major pro players.
In 2019, Tres brought John Schmidt to Bullshooters for a one month exhibition attempting to break Willie Mosconi’s record of 526 balls ran. A few weeks later, Schmidt did break that record in Monterey, California.
Won four gold, eight silver and three bronze medals at the World Police and Fire Games (1993 – 2012)
Won the 1998 Arizona Snooker Championship at The Golden Cue in Phoenix
Competed in many national Bank Pool, One Pocket and 10-Ball events:
Derby City Classic 2004 – 2019
Legends of One Pocket 1998
US Open One Pocket 2004 – 2005 2018 – 2019
West Coast Swing One Pocket and 10-Ball
McDermott Tour Stops
US Bar Box Championship
USBA National 3-Cushion Tournament “B” Divisions (2018 – 2019)
Born 1950 in Berwyn, Illinois
Received BA in Philosophy at ASU and MA Counseling at University of North Dakota
Served a career in the Air Force and retired as an Air Force Major in 1994
College counselor and professor at Yavapai College
Arizona Resident since 1975
Pocket Billiards Tournament Wins:
1979 Intercollegiate 14.1 National Champion
1977, 1981 – 88 Nine time Air Force ATC 14.1 Champion
1985 Sacramento Great Western Open 9-Ball Champion
1985 Sacramento Independence Day Open 9-Ball Champion
1992 Arizona State 14.1 Champion
2005 Arizona State Senior 9-Ball Champion
2010 Southwest Regional Masters 8-Ball Champion
2011 Arizona State 14.1 Champion
2015 Men’s Super Senior 8-Ball National Champion
Pocket Billiards Accomplishments:
Played 14.1 exhibition against Willie Mosconi at Arizona State University in 1973
Competed in the 1980 World 14.1 tournament in New York – ran 85 balls on Steve Mizerak
Finished 9th in the Sands Regency 9-Ball Open – defeated Earl Strickland 9-3, lost to Jay Swanson and Buddy Hall
Finished 2nd in points on the Arizona Desert Classic Tour in 2011
Wrote several instructional articles for Pool & Billiard Magazine in the 80s under pseudonym C. Peel
Pocket Billiard Educational Contributions:
2001 – 2013: Taught Pocket Billiards at Arizona Western College
2016 – 2018: Taught Pocket Billiards Levels 1 & 2 at Yavapai College
Created a Youtube channel with recorded pool classes from Yuma and Prescott
Conducted private lessons for students of various skill levels
Arizona has produced it’s fair share of cue makers, including such names as Brian Mordt, Keith Nickerson, Scott Whisler, Sierra Custom
Cues and Phoenix Custom Cues. Before all of them though, there was Jack Madden.
Jack Madden started his pool career as a player in Missoula Montana, winning the Montana State 9-Ball Championship in 1978 and then finishing in second a year later. He turned in a third place finish, behind Keith McCready and Larry Hubbard, in the 1979 Terry Stonier Sacramento 9-Ball Championship.
A small highlight of his pool playing career occurred in March of 1989 when Jack appeared as an extra in “Kiss Shot”, a made for television movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Dennis Franz.
Jack relocated to Montana in the late 90’s and he focused on cue making, producing nearly 100 custom cues a year. In 2003, Jack’s submission to the American Cuemakers Association was accepted and he became the first and only Arizona cue maker accepted
as a member of this nationwide organization.
Jack’s work has been featured in multiple feature articles in billiards magazines and he is proud to have made custom cues for the
likes of Keith McCready, ‘San Jose’ Dick McMorran and Montana player Jeff Boucher.
Alongside his cue making, Madden has continued playing in the Montana
area with numerous top finishes in singles and team events. His latest notable finish was a 5th place performance in a field of 98 top
regional players at the 19th Montana Pool Players Memorial in February 2020.
Richard Mc Morran was born September 24, 1934. His family originally lived in the tiny Colorado town of Dolores; a scenic hamlet of only about 550 residents. Yet small as it was, Dolores had a little poolroom in the center of town, and the game quickly caught Dick’s interest. There were no age restrictions in Dolores at that time, but when Dick skipped school to play one day, the town was too small for his parents not to find out, and after a “real good whipping,” that was it for pool for a while.
When he was a fourteen year old freshman in high school his family moved 50 miles east, to Durango, Colorado, and “My life as a serious pool player began,” says Dick. With a population of about 10,000 at that time, “I thought I’d died, and gone to heaven. Durango supported three bustling pool rooms, and my parents soon gave up trying to keep me out of them.” The sting of the memory of his earlier whipping still kept him out of the poolrooms on school days however, but, “On weekends and summer vacations, I opened and closed the place,” recalls Dick.
Pretty quickly Dick developed into a good local player and by the time he was about 16, he was considered the best player in town. In Durango at that time, the popular games were Kelly Pool and Golf on a 5×10 snooker table, which is where the bigger money changed hands.
Dick and his pregnant girlfriend eloped at 19 and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah for a couple of years, which was another step up from Durango in the pool world, but after a couple of years he had “run out of action there,” and they moved on to San Jose, CA in 1955. As Dick tells it, “San Jose was really booming, and the poolrooms and bars were full of construction workers with fat paychecks lining up to play $2 or $5 ring 9-ball. Coin operated bar tables were just starting to show up, but a lot of bars still had at least one 8 or 9-footer in it, and also there were hundreds of poolrooms throughout the Bay Area, and each one seemed to have its local hero…I was pretty sure I’d found a place to settle down.”
San Jose was only 50 miles from San Francisco, where the legendary poolrooms the Palace and Cochran’s were located. “I used to go up there about every other weekend.” As he matured as a player and gambler, it was here that Dick went from being the ‘Durango Kid’ to ‘San Jose Dick’.
For a few years around ’61 or ’62 he was part owner of a small poolroom in San Jose called Circus Billiards and it was there that he first met Ronnie Allen. It was another great young player – Richie Florence – that first came through and challenged Dick, but Dick was able to take advantage of his extra experience to defeat the teenager. Richie came back a week later with Ronnie. That was the first time the two long time friends and combatants bumped heads, and his first real introduction to the game of One Pocket. They also played Golf on the snooker table, which was Dick’s best game at the time.
In the late 60’s Dick moved to Fort Worth, and then on to Houston, Texas, where he and Jersey Red became kind of a house pros at the Le Cue – the owner paid them $125/week to make the Le Cue their home room. That’s when he really got proficient at One Pocket. He and Billy Stroud went to Johnston City one year, but their car broke down in Kansas, so they got there too late to get into the tournament.
After Dick got married a second time, Dick gave up the game nearly completely and worked for UPS from ’74 to ’89. When he started back up he couldn’t bend over due to back/neck problems, so had to adopt a more upright stance, but he soon got his game back and probably played his best One Pocket. Dick appears in one Accustats video from Grady’s 1998 World One Pocket Championships in Baton Rouge, LA, where he wins a close one over Cliff Joyner (1P98-02).
Bio and photo courtesy onepocket.org
1987: Reno Pro Am Winner
1989: McDermott Team Championship Western Division Winner
1991: Arizona State 9-Ball Championship Winner
1998: BCA Masters Team Championship Runner Up
2005: Az State 8-Ball Championship Winner
2005: Az State All Around Championship Winner
2006: Jerry Franklin Invitational 9-Ball Winner
Born: Manchester, England, 1959
4 time 14.1 Arizona State Champion: 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013
10 Ball Arizona State Champion: 2015
One Pocket Arizona Championship, finalist: 2012
One Pocket- US Open & Derby City Classic: 4 top 10 finishes (with notable wins over VanBoening, Orcullo, Shaw, Strickland, Parica, Immonen, Souquet, Cortezza)
Snooker-century break runner
14.1-High Run 116.
Bernie was first drawn to the game of snooker as a teenager, before moving to the USA in 1981. With an absence of 15 years from the game to establish a career and raise a family, he then began playing a variety of billiard disciplines until today.
After several years in various games, his favorites remain with an emphasis on One Pocket, 3 Cushion and 14.1.
Bernie is proud to be part of the Arizona pool/billiards scene, and welcomes the opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ with any up and coming players.
Dick ‘Doc’ Rice was born in the Milwaukee Wisconsin area and that is where he got his start in pool. He moved to Arizona in the early 80’s and he quickly became one of the top league players in the East Valley pool scene.
In 1985, Doc started managing Tommy’s Billiards, where he stayed until the room closed in the early 90’s. It was at Tommy’s that Doc learned how to do cue repair work. He would continue working on cues for the rest of his life.
Doc was a fierce competitor in both leagues and local tournament. He represented Arizona at the National Championship for the BCA, APA and ACS for many years, winning multiple championship titles in both. In 2010 he won the BCA National 8-Ball Open in Las Vegas with a field of over 1,000 players. He lost his first match and then won 13 in a row for the title.
Later in Doc’s life, he developed a love for the game of three cushion, and represented Arizona multiple times at the Amateur Championships in Tucson. Doc shared his passion for the game of three cushion with many local players and could be found almost every night after league on the three cushion table at Main Street Billiards.
While Doc will always be remembered for what an amazing player he was, that may pale in comparison to his heartfelt caring and encouragement of other players. He always seemed to have something positive to say to an opponent, complimenting them on a great out they had, or how much their game had improved. After matches he was a gracious sport whether he won or lost. Doc loved any kind of team play; league, scotch or nationals. If he could find a partner he would play in any scotch event possible. For league play, Doc could be one of the fiercest competitors, or if the players weren’t as strong, you’d see him coaching his opponent, or making sure they had at least one turn at the table. He wanted everyone to enjoy the sport like he did. He is very missed by friends and players in pool halls in Arizona and across the country.
1968 Midwest 3 Cushion Billiards – Champion
1975 Won Us Open 14-1 Qualifier Tournament
1976,1980,1985 3X Az. 14-1 Champion
Early 1980’s New Times Magazine Awarded – “Best Of Phoenix In Pool!!”
Don Played 14-1, 9Ball, 8Ball, 1Pocket, Snooker, Golf, 3 Cushion and Bank Pool. He was proficient in all games
Late 1980’s Retired From Competition And Took A Job As House Pro At Clicks Billiards.
Last 15 Yrs. He taught hundreds of students and was an excellent instructor.
Bernie Store is a mother, sister, grandmother and pool player. Unlike a lot of top players, Bernie didn’t pick up her first cue until her early 20s, but she fell in love with the game immediately.
Bernie relocated to Phoenix in 1984, and was always a very competitive person no matter whether it was volleyball, basketball, softball or soccer. This inner “drive to win” transitioned into her pool game as she started playing at Phoenix bars. At 26, Store was a mother of three, but started improving and cashing at local events. Although she never took a lesson, she credits her game to all of the many pool players that she has competed against, or alongside, over the years.
With her children all grown up now, Bernie has been able to devote herself more to her pool game over the last six years and it has led to invites to play in events all across the US and Canada. She committed herself to playing on the North American Pool Tour and playing as much as she can locally.
Five time Az BCA State Champion (2003 – 2007)
Two time ACS National Champion (2011, 2017)
Two time Saguaro Cup winner (2016, 2017)
BCA Nationals Champion (2011)
Two time Southwest Regional 8-Ball Champion (2016 singles and scotch)
US Bar Table Championship 8-Ball Champion (2017)
Winter Shootout Champion (2018)
Arizona is blessed with a number of top female players. We are all familiar with the names. Paglia, Williams, Mello, Store, Miller, etc. Before all of those names though, there was Jean Vaillancourt.
Vaillancourt was Arizona’s top female player throughout the 80’s and 90’s. She won multiple AWBT Tour stops and was crowned the first Arizona State Women’s Champion.
Vaillancourt represented Arizona on the National scene, competing in numerous national events on the Women’s Professional Billiard’s Association (WPBA) in the late 90s and early 00’s.
“Jean was a dedicated professional player and participated in many WPBA events. Her membership in the WPBA was much appreciated as we were a new and budding organization. During the early 1980’s, it was difficult for our organization to draw in women players from locations other than the Eastern States. Jean, who lived in Arizona, had the foresightedness to see, not only that there was a need for a women’s players organization, but that we had a rich future ahead of us.
I, for one, believe she would make a great addition to your Arizona Hall of Fame.
— Billie Billing (WPBA Founder)