MENOMONEE FALLS, WI -- Operators have always known that their ability to keep pool tables well maintained is essential to maximizing play, and to overcoming many locations' desire to own their own equipment. So Jon Kleiman of Pioneer Sales and Service, a distributorship here, recently hosted an educational session for operators and their technicians on the fine points of billiard cloth, rails and bumpers -- three critical components to a table's playability.
photo | TELL AND SHOW: At right, Valley Dynamo's Dave Courington surveys the proceedings from his perch on a forklift. Pioneer's Jon Kleiman credits Courington with facilitating Championship's first coin-op pool table course held away from home. At left, operators and installers get details on billiard fabrics at seminar conducted by Championship/D&R at Pioneer Sales & Services' facilities in Wisconsin.
After speaking with Valley Dynamo LP domestic sales manager Dave Courington (Richland Hills, TX), Kleiman concluded that Pioneer's operator customers would find a workshop on pool cloth informative and valuable. Such a session had not been held before, he added; and industry members need to know as much as possible about this vital staple product.
Courington told him that Championship/D&R Industries runs such classes at its headquarters in Elk Grove Village, IL, addressing all kinds of pool tables, from coin-op to pool hall and home models to antique equipment. And Valley had just introduced its Top Cat table, featuring the new Championship Worsted Ultra cloth, so a Pioneer seminar would be timely, Kleiman noted. "Worsted Ultra cloth plays fast and lasts a long time," he explained; but it must be installed correctly. In particular, it must be stretched much more tautly than conventional cloth, to avoid wrinkles.
Championship agreed that an educational session on cloth and other pool table components that require periodic replacement would be helpful to operators. Champion president Fred Cohen, vice-president Mike Serra and master installer John Beecher accordingly visited Pioneer's facility to share their knowledge and experience with the distributorship's customers.
The three "put on a great class explaining how the cloth is made, what types work best in certain situations, and how rails are made and why the type of rubber used on them is so important," the Pioneer executive reported. Their presentations were followed by hands-on demonstrations of installing different kinds of cloth and rails.
photo | INSIDE STORY: There's much more to pool tables than felt and slate, and Championship/D&R experts reviewed many of the fine points during class at Pioneer's headquarters. At left is a display of different kinds of cloth before and after wear testing; at right, a sampling of pool table rails and rubber of different ages and vintages.
"With Dave [Courington's] great input, the class was a huge success," Kleiman told VT. Nearly 40 people from some 30 area operating companies attended, some traveling for more than four hours to do so.
The Championship team lived up to its reputation. "It was the first class away from Championship's shop, and the first one dedicated to coin-op," the Wisconsin distributor explained. "Based on the feedback from operators and my personal opinion, it was a huge success."
Pioneer Sales & Service was established in 1962. It is a wholesale distributor of amusement and vending equipment, automated teller machines and jukeboxes, selling both new and used equipment, and providing parts and service support.
D&R Industries Inc. was founded in 1963 and launched its Championship fabric line in 1990, then expanded into a broader line of billiard components, including a pool-table-optimized rubber for use in rail bumpers. Championship/D&R offers comprehensive master installer's training at its Elk Grove Village headquarters. Information is available at champbilliards.com/certified-installers.
Valley Co. was founded in 1947. In 1999, it merged with Tornado Table Sports and Dynamo Corp. and consolidated its operations in Richland Hills, TX. Valley Dynamo LP is online at vdlp.net.