"The Legend of "Buster"                                                                            12/01/2003

The Local Dude

The year was 1977;  a contingent of Chicago Pool Checkers players descended upon Atlanta, Georgia for the annual APCA tournament.  It was one, we felt, that brought together the best payers in America.  We were  about 12 to 15 in total; we were there to stake our claim.

As we settled into our rooms with our wives, girl friends, and/or significant others, I received a frantic phone call from my good friend, Van "Vansky" Penn - ‘Busters'  roommate and confidante. 
"Pecan," "Pecan," he cried.  Some ‘unknown' local dude has drawn of "Buster." (Drawn on is a euphemism for a high-stakes-in-your-face wager. 

I, of course, quickly gathered my things (with my wife inquiring, "What is going on?" while shaking her head and rolling her eyes).  I rushed to the room-arriving with about 15 or 20 other players.  As we entered the room, "Buster" and the local dude was already locked in battle.  As I watched and took notes, the battle raged far into the night-with "Buster" taking an extremely long time to move, as he usually did.

To me a Pool Checker match had always been about, who won, what was the score, and are there any recording of the games?  After watching for about two hours, I returned to my room to prepare for the next day's tournament.

In arising the next morning, I called Mr. Penn to inquire "what was the score." 
"They are still playing," he responded.  "But," he whispered, "it won't be long now." 
"What do you mean"? I asked.
"I think "Buster" has just 'busted him; I see he is searching in his pockets for something to bet with."

As I went to register for the tournament, I ran into "Buster" who was coming to register too.  "How did you come out," I inquired.  "Oh I won," was his always modest reply.  We will never know how badly "Buster" beat him because he never talked in specifics about that match.

Scores like, 17-2, 18-3, or some other astronomical figure was banded about as the final score.  Carl "Buster" Smith finished third behind Vladimir Kaplan and Elton Williams in that tournament.  But, there are those who swore that if he hadn't got involved in that all-night battle with the ‘unknown local dude' he would have won that tournament.

Postscript, the ‘unknown local dude' was local alright; he was from Atlanta, Georgia, but he was not unknown.  He had finished 7th in an earlier APCA tournament in Flint, Michigan.  He was Ben Bady.

And so, ‘the legend lives'….. to be continued.