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Dan Prather and Chris Hightower inducted into the International Cuemakers Hall of Fame

Dan and Anne Prather (beloved wife of 57 years)

Dan Prather was inducted into the deceased category of the International Cuemakers Hall of Fame. Dan was born in 1940. As a youth, Dan began his love for woodworking, learning everything he could about wood, carving, and tools. At the age of 17, he proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy. He was honorably discharged in 1960. In 1972, Dan started learning the art of cue making with the help of longtime friend and Hall of Fame cue maker, Verl Horn, because of Verl’s need for cue parts himself. Dan mastered the art of making point blanks, and as a result, Prather Custom Cue Parts became the top supplier of these blanks even until this day. In 1982, Dan really got serious with the cue parts business and rapidly became the main source for everything from point blanks to taps, Irish linen, joint material, and so on. He also made available tapered shaft blanks. All of this made it very easy for a cue maker with little equipment to get started making cues. Cue makers all over the world still use Prather point blanks in their cues as the base for their forearm. The inlaid cue parts can go from very simple up to as fancy as the imagination allows. The family worked together in supplying countless custom orders. They have now also started making full length full-splice blanks with veneers.
Dan was passionate about expanding the reach of the Billiards industry. He visited Switzerland on behalf of the World Pool-Billiard Association to present billiards as a sport to the Olympic Committee. He often sponsored members of the National Wheelchair Pool Player’s Association. Dan also helped to start the world’s first college degree program majoring in billiards by donating 30 custom made pool cues to the National University of Physical Education and Sports of Ukraine in 1997. 
Dan enjoyed sharing his craft with his children and grandchildren. His daughter, Jennifer, and his two sons, Jeff and Daniel, came to work with him in the mid 1980’s. Jennifer ran the office and specialized in customer service, Jeff mastered the cue building, while Daniel mastered the CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) artistic inlays. Throughout the years, every grandchild has worked in the family business too! The Prather family business has continued to be a top supplier of cue parts for decades but has become a top custom cue making shop also. The Prather family was awarded the Cue Maker of the Year award by the American Cue maker’s Association in 2010.
Dan turned the cue parts business over to the family in 2014, but still came in regularly to build one-of-a-kind Dan Prather Custom Cues until he passed away in November 2016.
[photo id=50622|align=right]Chris Hightower was inducted into the living category of the International Cuemakers Hall oF Fame. Chris was born in 1961 and played pool from his childhood and grew up working for his dad in the television business. Doing cabinet repairs on console televisions was his first wood working experience. He started playing pool tournaments and doing simple cue repairs and selling other brands of cues in the 1980’s and picked up the nick name The Cue Man. He got serious about building cues in the late 80’s and he repaired and built cues in Woodstock, Georgia from 1988 to 1993 and from 1993 until 2002 in Buffalo and Goodson, Missouri and from 2002 until present in Aragon, Georgia.
He got a lot of inspiration from hall of fame cuemaker Leonard Bludworth and in 1988 followed in Leonard’s footsteps and put together a mobile cue repair shop and started working on cues at the professional and top amateur pool events in the Atlanta and surrounding areas. He started building cue repair lathes in 1988 which were modified wood lathes and started the Cue Man Billiards supply business and opened a pool room with the same name the following year. 
He introduced the Cue Smith line of lathes in 1991. These were the first light weight cue lathes that had the full cue length cutting capability which made them able to build cues from scratch. In 1994 he developed the Cue Smith Inlay Machine which made the small cue shop able to build fancy cues. That is also the year he introduced the large spindle bore lathe with taper bars. The following year saw the first Deluxe Cue Smith lathes with dual chuck headstocks go into production. Through the years he has developed many things for the cuemaking industry from the simple lathe pin, to tenon threaders, auto tip shapers, thread milling tools, leather installation tools, and much more. In 2001 he published the first edition of The Cue Building Book: From Tree, To Tip, To Tradeshow! to go along with his Video Cue Building and Repair teaching series. In 2004 along with a few other cuemakers he founded the International Cuemakers Association and has served as International Director ever since. Chris was also a two time International 9-Ball Champion of Cuemakers in 2012 and 2016.
While Chris is most famous for his cue machinery business, he has also made some contributions to the cuemaking industry with Hightower Custom Cues. He started marketing the first Jump Break cues with a longer jump section than the normal forearm in 1989 under the brand name Sceptre. Chris popularized Purple Heart shaft blanks for the break cue market in the early 90s. He also pioneered the 5/16-14 and 5/16-10 pin flat faced joint with choice of hardened wood shaft threads, brass or phenolic insert and popularized the larger .850” joint diameter. He popularized the completely sealed snake skin wraps in the 90’s. He developed a method for using Native American bead work and completely sealing it as inlay work and handle wraps. He also does the same with precious gem stones. He introduced bleached camel bone as an inlay substitute for Ivory. Along with his son Israel he has built extensively inlaid artistic cues that sold for thousands of dollars each, yet continues to build players level cues also. His shop is one of a handful that currently produces cues with both manual machined inlays as well as state of the art CNC inlay work.

Moore goes undefeated, stopping loss-side challenge by Townsend to win Tiger SE Open stop

Stevie Moore

Stevie Moore successfully worked his way through a field of 27, on-hand for the Saturday, December 7 stop on the Tiger Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, but not before being challenged by Scotty Townsend, who came from deep on the loss-side to meet him in the finals. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Game Land Billiards in Albany, GA, which added $235 to bring the top prize to $1,000.
Moore was among the final four winners, and faced Denny Singletary in one of the winners' side semifinals. Don Cossart met up with Stoney Stone in the other. Moore got into the hot seat match with a 9-5 victory over Singletary, as Cossart sent Stone over 9-7. Moore downed Cossart 9-5, claiming the hot seat.
On the loss side, Townsend was working his way back, defeating James Parr and tour director Tommy Kennedy to draw Singletary.
"Scotty was really playing well," said Kennedy. "The best I've seen him play in two years."
Stone, in the meantime, drew Jesse Middlebrooks, who'd gotten by Randy Jordan and Adam Towery. By identical 7-4 scores, Townsend and Stone eliminated Singletary and Middlebrooks, and squared off in the quarterfinals. Townsend then dropped Stone into fourth place 7-5, and completed his loss-side run with a 7-3 victory over Cossart in the semifinals. 
It was, by this time, getting late. By mutual agreement, Townsend and Moore opted out of playing a final match, choosing to split the top two prizes, leaving Moore as the undefeated title winner.
Tour director Kennedy thanked Bo Nelson and the staff at Game Land Billiards for their hospitality and the added money. He also thanked sponsors Tiger Products, J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Mueller Recreational Products, Chris Nitti Custom Cues, Chris Hightower of Cue Man Billiards, David Adams of Byron, GA and Simonis Cloth.

Kennedy wins Tiger SE Open 9-Ball stop, splits top prizes with Meglino

Tommy Kennedy

It was 3:30 in the morning when Tommy Kennedy, sitting in the hot seat, and Anthony Meglino opted out of a final match during the $500-added, November 30 stop on Kennedy's Tiger Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, which drew 41 entrants to Cunningham's in Vero Beach, FL. As far as Kennedy was concerned, the default event title worked out just as well for him, because Meglino, he noted, coming off a nine-match, loss-side winning streak was shooting lights out as he got closer.

"He was shooting really well," said Kennedy, "so it did kind of work out for the best for me."
Kennedy had sent Meglino west in the second round, and Kennedy moved on, advancing, eventually to the winners' side final four, where he met up with Carlos Torres. Jim Sandaler, in the meantime, locked cues with Chris Gentile. A 7-4 win for Kennedy and a double hill win for Sandaler, put them into the hot seat match, where Kennedy prevailed 7-2.
With four matches behind him, Meglino defeated Devin Brown 6-1 and shut out Prescott Buckwold to draw Gentile, coming over from the winners' side semifinals. Torres drew Chris Daly, who'd gotten by Justin Hall 6-3 and Billy Burke 6-2.
Torres got successfully back on the winning track with a 6-4 victory over Daly, but Meglino handed Gentile his second straight loss, defeating him 6-1. Meglino advanced to the semifinals without lifting his cue, as Torres forfeited the quarterfinal match.
Meglino then eliminated Sandaler in the semifinals 6-3, which gave Kennedy, looking on, a glimpse of what he might be facing. They opted out of the final match, declaring Kennedy, in the hot seat, the event winner.
Kennedy thanked Chris Devila, owner of Cunningham's and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Tiger Products, J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Mueller Recreational Products, Chris Nitti Custom Cues, Chris Hightower of Cue Man Billiards, Daivd Adams of Byron, GA and Simonis Cloth.

Cuemakers International 9-Ball Championship 2012

John Lalonde (left) and Chris Hightower (right)

Some of the finest cuemakers from all over the USA and Canada met in Philadelphia at the Super Billiards Expo for the 2012 Cuemakers International 9-Ball Championship. The event was the first annual Cuemakers 9-Ball Championship and was held as a charity benefit for the Galilean Childrens Home in Liberty, Kentucky. The Galilean Childrens Home has helped thousands of special needs children for a few decades now. All entry fees and donations went directly to help the Childrens Home. Some cuemakers paid much more than the $30 donation/entry fee and others who were unable to play came by and donated their entry fee just to help the Children. When all was said and done the cuemakers tournament raised over a $1000 for the Childrens Home.

  The players field was filled with Cuemakers from both the American Cuemakers Association and the International Cuemakers Association as well as some independent cuemakers. The tournament was played in a true single elimination format. When it was all over Chris Hightower of Hightower Custom Cues took home the title of International 9-Ball Champion of Cuemakers 2012. His route to the title was not an easy one with wins over Canadian cuemakers Charlie McKay and Roy Mason. Then he squeaked by well known California cuemaker Jerry McWorter and went on to win the finals against Michigan cuemaker John LaLonde.

  Next years event will be held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center during the Super Billiards Expo March 28th – 30th 2013. A special word appreciation needs to be given to Allen Hopkins Productions for donating the space to hold the event, Cue Man Billiard Products for donating the table rental fees, the International Cuemakers Association for donating the Award Plaques and most of all to the cuemakers for their generous donations and participation. Our cuemaking industry indeed has some generous quality individuals representing it.

  If interested in sponsoring, donating to or playing in the 2013 event contact for more information.