FRANCISCO BUSTAMANTE, nicknamed “Django” because of a resemblance to the lead character in a Western film of the same name, was born in the Philippine province of Tarlac. He began playing pocket billiards at 10 years old, and began competing in the United States in the early 1990s. He hit his stride in the United States in 1997, winning two Camel Pro Billiard Tour events. He was named Billiards Digest’s and Pool & Billiard Magazine’s Player of the Year in 1998 after notching four major tournament wins, and he earned Billiards Digest’s and Inside Pool’s Player of the Year titles again in 2002, winning five major events in the U.S. and abroad, and finishing second at the World Pool Championship. Bustamante finally garnered his first recognized world title in 2010, winning the WPA World 9-Ball Championship in Doha, Qatar. His strongest game is 9-ball, where his blockbuster break is legendary; although he is more than proficient at all the major games, as witnessed by his All-Around title at the 2008 Derby City Classic. Upon hearing the news that he would be the second Filipino in the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame (after Efren Reyes’ 2003 induction), Bustamante was completely shocked. “Really? I’m still young!” Bustamante said. “Two things that I always dreamed of were to be world champion and to be in the Hall of Fame. This year both dreams came true. We all dream to be in the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame, so I am very happy today. We are heroes in the Philippines, but for the American people to recognize me like this makes me very proud.”
Terry Bell & Larry Hubbart
T.B. 1943 - Present
L.H. 1940 - 2013
TERRY BELL / LARRY HUBBART (American Poolplayers Association), longtime road players and accomplished professionals, Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart decided in 1979 to reach out to the grassroots players through an amateur pool league they called the American Pool Players Association (APA). They developed a handicapping system to encourage players of all skill levels, and decided to franchise their business. Bell and Hubbart spent several years living off of their wives’ incomes and pouring all of their time and resources into developing the APA. In 1981, they pitched Anheuser-Busch and landed Busch beer as a title sponsor, and for the next decade the league system was called the Busch Pool League. The A-B relationship helped the league system grow from 1,000 members in 1981 to nearly 100,000 members in 1990, making it clearly the largest amateur pool league system in the world. Their ability to garner non-endemic national sponsors continued, as Bud Light, Camel, Molson and Jack Daniels all attached their logos to the APA league system through the ’90s and early 2000s. The APA also branched out to Canada and Japan, and its membership now totals more than a quarter-million players and 270 franchisees. APA leagues operate in 46 states. Over the years, the APA has introduced the game to several million players.
1968 - Present
ALLISON FISHER was born Feb. 24, 1968, in Peacehaven, Sussex, England. She began playing snooker at age seven and won her first title at 15. In a dozen years playing professional snooker, Fisher won 18 titles, including 12 world championships (four of those in doubles competition). She moved to the U.S. in September 1995 to try her hand on the WPBA Classic Tour, and promptly won two 9-ball titles in three months. Fisher won an astounding 20 Classic Tour titles in the next four years. She also won the WPA World 9-Ball Championship in 1996, 2001 and 2002. During Fisher's reign, she earned POY honors from both Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine 11 times in 12 years. "I was worried that I was still a little too young to be elected," said Fisher, who learned of her election while competing in the World 10-Ball Championship in Manila, Philippines. "It's wonderful to be recognized like this," Fisher said. "I had a great career in snooker as well, but was never recognized for it. I've had a great career in 9-ball, and this is the icing on the cake. Being recognized among the greatest players is something that is there forever. It's a great honor."
1968 - Present
JOHNNY ARCHER is a four-time world 9-ball champion and winner of 25 pro tour titles, while Fisher is a three-time world 9-ball champion and winner of 53 Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) Classic Tour titles. Born in tiny Twin City, Ga., Nov. 12, 1968, Archer was drawn to the game by a small coin-op table in the arcade of a local Minute Mart. He began playing more frequently at a small room called "Chester's" in nearby Matter, and it was Chester, himself, who took Archer under his wing and eventually introduced him to tournament play in 1984 at the Tennessee State Open in Chattanooga. Archer, 15 at the time, never looked back. "My parents tried to keep me in school, but they couldn't change my mind," Archer said in a 1992 interview in Billiards Digest. Archer joined the pro tour full-time in 1986, but it was six years before he won his first tour title, the 1991 Sands Regency Open. The following year, Archer won five titles, including the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World 9-Ball Championship, and was named Billiards Digest Player of the Year (POY), the first of such POY titles Archer would garner. Archer would go on to win 12 Professional Billiard Tour (PBT) titles over the next four years, including two of his four world crowns (back-to-back PBT World 9-Ball championships in 1993 and 1994). Archer once again won the WPA World 9-Ball Championship in 1996. In all, Archer has won more than 60 tournaments. He has also been a member of Team USA in the Mosconi Cup 12 times. "This is really a great honor," said Archer. "The Hall of Fame has the greatest players in the world, and to be in the same group with them is a blessing.
1949 - Present
Although PAT FLEMING had a distinguished career in straight pool in the 1970s and early 1980s, his best known contribution to cue sports is the creation and continuing development of Accu-Stats Video Productions, based in Butler, New Jersey. Since the mid-1980s, Accu-Stats has videotaped more than 1,000 tournament matches and preserved performances by the world’s greatest pool and billiards players, including Buddy Hall, Grady Mathews, Bill Incardona, Mike Massey and Fleming himself. Fleming, who is known in industry circles as “the man behind the scenes of pool’s greatest videos,” began the enterprise as away to document the matches for statistical analysis. In fact, an Accu-Stats Total Performance Average is now a widely recognized measure of pool performance. Fleming began offering videotapes for sale to players and fans, and today the VHS tapes and DVDs are invaluable as entertainment and training tools, as well as the most complete video record of two generations of pool stars.Fleming has made other significant contributions to cue sports. He was instrumental in the development of the jump cue in the early 1980s. He has served as a tournament director, promoter and/or referee for many high-profile events. He also served as a board member or officer in several player organizations in the 1980s and 1990s.
1952 - Present
ALLEN HOPKINS was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but was raised in the small suburban town of Cranford, New Jersey, by adoptive parents Paul and Marietta Hopkins. His father bought him a three-foot toy pool table when he was six years old. At the tender age of eight, playing on a regulation-sized table for the first time, he sank 10 balls in a row. Hopkins played championship-level pool for three decades, from the 1970s through the 1990s. He is known for his versatility as a player, earning titles in such varied events as the 1977 World Open 14.1 Straight Pool championship, the 1977 and 1981 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, the 1990 Cleveland Open 10-Ball Classic and the 1991 Legends of One-Pocket event. He credited his development as a pool player to growing up with and playing against top talents on the East Coast, including BCA Hall-of-Famers Ray Martin, Steve Mizerak and Cisero Murphy, as well as Pete Margo, Jack Colavita and Onofrio Lauri. Hopkins’ lengthy resume includes titles at other major events, including the 1983 Meucci Rivermont Open, the 1984 Texas River City Open, the 1987 Eastern States 9-Ball, the 1989 Coors Valley Forge Classic, the 1990 River City Invitational, the 1993 International Challenge of Champions and the 1999 Denver 10-Ball Open. Now based in PortRepublic, New Jersey, Mr. Hopkins produces the annual Super Billiards Expo, a four-day consumer trade show combined with large-scale amateur and professional tournaments.
EARL STRICKLAND was a dominant player during the 1980s and 1990s, and continues to be so today. He currently holds over 100 tournament titles and has been named “Player of the Year” five times. He won the Akron Open nine times and the US Open 9-Ball Championship five times: 1984, 1987, 1993, 1997 and 2000. He has won the World 9-Ball Championship six times: 1984, ‘88, ‘90, ‘91, ‘94 and 2002. He most recently won the World Pool Masters Trick Shot Challenge in 2003. In addition to his individual championships, he has been a team member on nine winning U.S. Mosconi Cup teams, including 2005, and was captain in two of those years. He has conducted numerous exhibitions at trade shows, Air Force bases and at the Raoping Billiard School in China. Mr. Strickland maintains an active charity schedule, donating exhibition time for programs such as Pool Aid ’95, D.A.R.E., Paralyzed Veterans of America, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Billiard Education Foundation, Children’s Burn Center and others.
Robin Bell Dodson
1956 - Present
ROBIN BELL DODSON began playing pool at the age of 12 and four years later, she won the California Women’s State Championships. After a five-year break from the sport, she returned to billiards in 1984 with a new foundation and fervor for the sport she loved. Robin is known for her steely determination and accurate shot making, which she used to claim 27 professional tournament titles. She finished in the top four on 25 occasions and captured six major titles from 1985-90, including the 1989 National Championships and the 1990 WPA World 9-Ball Championships. In 1991, she won her second WPA World Championship, several additional titles and was named Player of the Year. From 1985-93 she never ranked lower than third in the Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) and in 1998, she returned to the winner’s circle at the BCA Twin Cities Classic. That win, along with six added top finishes that year, earned her the No. 8 spot for the season. Aptly nicknamed “Bankroll” for her ability to win the big-money events, she earned $400,000 in career prize monies, including two $20,000 purses in back-to-back wins at the Gordon’s Championships in 1994 and ‘95.
1947 - Present
MIKE MASSEY has been playing pool for 45 years and won his first professional tournament (9-Ball) in 1971. Considered pool’s best trick shot artist for almost 30 years, Mike has given substantial visibility to the sport by traveling the globe to perform exhibitions, teach pool and compete in a variety of disciplines. He holds multiple national and international titles, including the World Artistic Pool Championship in 2000, ‘02 and ’03. He won the National 9-Ball Championship in 1982, the Senior Masters 9-Ball Championship in 1997 and in 1996 he participated on the winning team in the Mosconi Cup. He has won the World Trick Shot Championships in Snooker on two occasions, and he is a repeat champion of ESPN’s Trick Shot Magic, winning in 2000, ‘01, ‘03 and ’04. He’s been in five movies, acting, performing trick shots or serving as a technical advisor, plus did the voice-over commentary on the DVD of the movie The Hustler and recreated the difficult shots performed in the movie and is featured in the documentary. In 2003, he co-wrote Mike Massey’s World of Trick Shots with Phil Capelle, and is a regular contributor to billiard publications.
Ewa Mataya Laurance
1964 - Present
EWA MATAYA LAURANCE is one of the best-known and recognizable stars in billiards. Known as “The Striking Viking”, she began her career in her native Sweden, where she captured the National 9-Ball Championship in 1980. In 1981, she won this title again and also won the 14.1 Championship and the European 14.1 Championship. She won the World Open 9-Ball Championship in 1983 and 1984, and she captained the winning team in the Old Milwaukee Team Cup in 1984. In 1988, Ms. Laurance won the International 9-Ball, the World 8-Ball and the U.S. Open Women’s 9-Ball Championships. She set the Women’s High Run record for Straight Pool in 1988 and has held it (except for 10 minutes in 1992) since then. She also won the 1991 WPBA National, the 1991 Women’s U.S. Open 9-Ball and the 1994 WPA World 9-Ball Championships. Ms. Laurance has made many TV appearances, written four books, received the Billiard & Bowling Institute of America (BBIA) Industry Service award, visited U.S. troops in Bosnia, is the only billiard player ever featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine and currently serves as President of the WPBA.
1912 - 1975
Cue maker GEORGE BALABUSHKA was born in Russia on December 9, 1912. He arrived in the U.S. in 1924 and began designing and building children’s wooden toys and educational materials, which gave him an intimate knowledge of the properties of various woods. After 30 years as a woodworker and Straight Pool player, he began making pool cues. He was an innovator in cue construction, finishes and designs. Mr. Balabushka was quickly recognized as the premier cue maker of his era, inspiring other cue makers and elevating the demand for custom cues. He was the first to be inducted into the American Cuemakers Association (ACA) Hall of Fame in 1993. Because of their playability, design and rarity, Balabushka cues have become legendary and highly collectible. A Balabushka cue was featured as an object of admiration in the book and movie The Color of Money. Mr. Balabushka died in 1975 at the of age 62.
1938 - Present
EDWIN KELLY was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, on May 17, 1938. He learned to play billiards by watching the locals and practicing 12 hours a day. If he ever saw a shot that he hadn’t seen before, he’d stop the game and insist that his opponent show him how it was done. Mr. Kelly entered the 1963 Johnston City World All-Around, placing second to Luther “Wimpy” Lassiter. Excerpts of their final match were shown on national television. But road trips were still necessary to supplement a player’s income, and he traveled with Eddie Taylor, Alvin Clarence "Titanic" Thompson and Ronnie Allen. He was crowned the World 9-Ball Champion in 1965, and in 1966, he won the 9-Ball and One Pocket divisions of the Johnson City World All-Around Championships. In 1969, he won the L.A. Open World Pocket Billiard (14.1) Championship and in 1971, he won the One Pocket title and All-Around World Championship title. Over the years, Mr. Kelly became friends with Fred Astaire and James Caan, and he knew Peter Falk and Richard Conte, Hollywood stars who frequented the West Coast events. With his dapper attire, movie star looks and brash confidence, he fit in perfectly with the elite movie crowd. This lifestyle and his “smooth” play earned him the nickname “Champagne Eddie”.
1954 - Present
EFREN REYES was born in Pampanga, Philippines, on August 26, 1954. At the age of five, he went to live with his uncle who owned a pool room in Manila. He picked up the nickname “Bata”, which means “The Kid” in his native language. Young Efren worked as a billiard attendant, sleeping on the pool table so he could play as soon as he woke up. He taught himself the “simple” shots such as English, draw, follow-through and position by watching the good players. But his secret may be found in what he learned from the weaker players, who sometimes made unintentional, but brilliant shots. This ability to make the “impossible shot” earned him the nickname of "The Magician". Mr. Reyes is a Gold Medal winner in the Asian Games (9-Ball) and Southeast Asian Games (Snooker). In 2001, he won the richest first prize in pool history ($163,172) in the Tokyo 9-Ball Championship. He is also a champion at Rotation and Balkline. His many wins include the 1995 Pro Tour Championship, 1995 PBT World 8-Ball, 1999 Derby City One-Pocket, 1999 ESPN Ultimate Challenge, 1999 WPA World 9-Ball Championship, 2000 Camel Pro 8-Ball, 2001 Masters 9-Ball, 2002 Challenge of Champions and 2003 Mid-Atlantic 9-Ball Championship. He led his country’s team to victory in the World Team Billiards event.
Loree Jon Jones
1965 - Present
LOREE JON JONES began playing billiards at age four at her home in Garwood, New Jersey. Recognizing her talent, her father built wooden boxes around the table so she would be the correct height for him to teach her the sport. Her father was her instructor, and her mother became her daily practice partner. She ran her first rack of balls at age 5. At age 11, she became a pro player with the Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) and known as “Queen of the Hill”. At age 15, she won the World 9-Ball tournament, becoming the youngest player, male or female, ever to win a world title, a feat recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. From 1987 to 1993, she won 18 tournaments, including her third WPBA National Championship. When she won the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World Championship, she had held every title possible in women’s professional pocket billiards. Her greatest victories are eight World championships, three National championships and three U.S. Open championships. At the time of her induction, she held over 50 titles, and over the course of her career, Ms. Jones was recognized five times as “Player of the Year” by Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest.
1947 - Present
JIM REMPE was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and began to play billiards at age six. “My goal, ever since I was a small child, was to be the best pool player in the world,” he once remarked. At age 13, he renewed his interest in billiards, playing up to 10 hours a day. To further his skill, he frequently went to New York to watch the top pros. After high school, he traveled across the country for three years, improving his game by playing all the best players. He turned professional at age 22. He played so much better than anyone else, he became known by his nickname, “King James”. From 1972 until 1978, he won more championships than any other player in the world. In total, he has won nearly 100 major championships and 11 world titles. Included on his long list of top finishes are the World One-Pocket Championship, the World 9-Ball Championship, the World Straight Pool Championship, All-Around Champion of the World and the Mizerak Senior Tour . Also known as “The Ambassador of Pool”, he has traveled the world sharing his secrets on billiards. An international star and the first major player to bring modern pool to Europe and the Orient, Mr. Rempe has loyal subjects on every continent.