Inside America’s Pool Rooms

Bumpers Billiards Huntsville, Alabama

By: Tracy Lerma

One of my favorite places to be in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama is Bumpers Billiards, managed by Heather Kennedy and owned by Robert Hall. Bumpers of Huntsville is located 4925 University Drive suite 188 in a shopping plaza right across the street from Rooms To Go. Today, September 19, 2020, North Alabama APA put on the event of the year for all those itching to be the next US Amateur Champion.

Cynthia Harbin and her partner Lee Zeiher North Alabama’s APA league operators have one of the biggest leagues in our area! Cyndi has been in this business for many years, which began with her husband until his passing and the dream continued with Lee helping her continue this passion some years later. They have both worked many hours to bring all the players back into some way of normal since the pandemic began. Let us move forward, shall we? Bumpers of Huntsville hosts all Blue Diamond tables, so when you walk into this place you see an ocean of majestic blue! They have sixteen 7-foot and eight 9-foot Diamond Tables, this is what we call a Pool Room! Bumpers also has a full bar with a small menu, the wait staff and its bartenders make this place feel like home and that moves it up the list of best pool rooms to visit.

Bumpers Billiards            Photo by : Tracy Lerma

Carla Patton             Photo by : Tracy Lerma

As we wind down the first day of the tournament, the lady’s event is the one everyone is watching! Carla Patton takes the 1st US Amateur slot for the women by defeating league operator, Lee Zeiher. The day will close with the men to continue competing for the last 2 slots on the following day. With camera in hand, I found myself in the midst of a friend battle on the last day of the event. Nathan Baas and Joe Johnson are next up for one of the two slots left to head to Tampa, Florida to compete for the US Amateur Title. These two are the best of friends and you could tell during the match with humbleness and sarcastic jokes about how they are playing. As the last ball drops in favor of Joe Johnson’s 11-9 win over Nathan Baas, you hear a sea of applause with Baas up and out of his seat to shake Johnson’s hand. Quite sportsman like if you ask me. Before these two hit the table, however, our focus is on Robert Hall and newcomer Bradley White. Robert Hall is Huntsville’s 2001 US Amateur Champion and owner of Bumpers Billiards; he has also led many APA teams to Las Vegas with his coaching and cunning game play. He is definitely one to keep your eye on for a future title. He recently was the winner of The Hot Seat tournament a few months prior by defeating Robert Jones.  White put on his best game face, showing no fear and a humbleness that led him to this event. Rob showed no mercy with a win over Bradley of 11-4 to own his slot for the Championships in Florida. I spoke with Huntsville native, Bradley White asking.” You shot great sir. will you come back in November to try it again?” Bradley’s response was, “Absolutely, this was my first time ever playing in an event like this and I look forward to giving it my all again.” Fantastic attitude for this twenty-five-year-old newcomer. The second-round qualifier will be in November for another set of dream seekers for that title of Champion.

We all look forward to seeing another set of competitors battle it out. This was an amazing weekend and I wonder, will one of these winners take home that US Amateur title in Florida? Only March will tell us that answer, and I look forward to the results. As I pack up my note pad and camera, I look over this home pool room of mine with a smile and fond memories, thinking to myself, did I remember to pay my tab? I gave Tracy her well earned money and Gabby deserves a special thanks for taking such good care of me. Do any of you have a favorite pool room? Are any of you playing in the US Amateur Championships? I am sure this destination is on everyone’s minds. Will she be in Tampa, Florida? Who knows where I will be next, but it is for certain, I’ll be anywhere that gives me the best of Inside America’s Pool Rooms!

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Photos in starting order:  Joe Johnson, Nathan Baas, Bradley White, Robert Hall, Cyndi Harbin          Photos by : Tracy Lerma