The First Trade Show

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A Momentous Occasion

Not just everyday you have your first trade show exhibit...This picture of Vince Sangemeister and Tim Scruggs is exactly what it looks like, these guys posing in front of their first exhibit. We've all been there, it's like a prom or grand opening, something you just have to capture. Vince says, “Tim Scruggs is without a doubt one of the most genuine gentleman you’d ever want to meet.”


Below is the first collection of Black Boar cues. All of these were sold to the Japanese for $10,000, $1,000 a piece. A proud and exciting day for everyone involved


The First Steps

The Black Boar brainchild was directly related to the players’ needs that Tony had discovered through owning Annapolis Billiard Supply. Annapolis Billiards Supply was featuring Scruggs Cues, and they had proven popular. After identifying the need for a new level of professional cue Tony approached Tim Scruggs to play a role in manufacturing the Black Boar concept.


Tim responded that he was having finish issues and as a result was overloaded with back orders. Tony, recognizing a perfect opportunity to pick Tim’s brain, volunteered to attempt to solve Tim’s finish problem. While Vince saw to the day in-day out operation of Annapolis Billiards Supply, Tony was tending to the graphics firm in his basement (the only real money maker) and, preferring experience to compensation, working at great length to get Tim caught up.

In the meantime, there was a trade show approaching and a self-imposed deadline for the launch of the Black Boar line. With T-shirts made and circulated time was of the essence. Tony and his brother Raymond purchased a CNC mill and Tony, Jr. quickly--- with a pencil and a calculator---began establishing cad cam programs to produce the designs Tony and Vince had created. 


Tim Scruggs solicited his friend, Bill McDaniels to knock out the first set of 10 blanks. The blanks from McDaniels were just what the doctor ordered… they came over sized without wraps, finish, inlays or shafts. Tim Scruggs and his staff produced the shafts.  Tony, Jr. and his father orchestrated all of the inlay work. Tony, Sr. was responsible for leather wraps and finishing the cues.


A little known truth is that Mike Cochran (RIP close personal friend and confidant of Tony, Sr.’s) is another unsung hero. He had a hand in each stage of the operation. Needless to say, the cues were a huge collaborative success.

Tony’s inspiration was further fueled by the response from that first show. Based on the initial interest generated, in the following year, Tony and company built the factory in College Park. Tony’s passion to examine the physics to advance the playability of cues made it necessary to have the facilities to produce the cues from end to end.


As Tony recalls, this gentleman just happened to be at the show. "If memory serves, he was involved in import and export of condiments (mustard, ketchup, etc.) between Japan and the US." By chance, this man acted as the liason between Tony and Timmy Scruggs, and the Japanese cue buyers. The first set of 10 Black Boar cues were sold to the Japanese for $10,000.




Recognize these strapping young men? Bill McDaniels and Timmy Scruggs demonstrating harmonius cue maker relations. Bill McDaniels was instrumental in creating the first blanks for Black Boar cues.


The Second Trade Show

The year was 1989 and Tony had a vision and a mission. He was so proud of quality of materials and construction methods he wanted to show-and-tell


This a rare photo of Dick Helmstetter of Adams Cues praising Black Boar at the second Black Boar trade show exhibit in July of 1989.


Dick Helmstetter’s cue making career began in the early 1960’s, while he was still in college at the University of Wisconsin. By the time he graduated college he had succeeded in making very basic playing cues, and had spent some time researching and making shafts for Rollie Welch of Milwaukee. 


In 1966, he moved to Washington, DC and took up with Red Jones and Ed Sharp, owners of The Golden Cue in Bladensburg, MD. It was there his career really took off, by the end of the year he had orders for 100 custom cues. Later, around 1987, in the beginning of Tony’s cue making career he would also use The Golden Cue as a stepping stone.


From Bladensburg to Chicago in 1967, Helmstetter next set up facilities and oversaw the development of the cue division for the National Tournament Chalk Company teamed with Bob Meucci, Craig Petersen and Ricco Cervantes. Their efforts produced 600 cues the first year.


In 1968, Dick teamed up with David Forman, who was responsible for the Sutra and Royal cue lines, made in Japan. Their distribution arrangements quickly lead to Helmstetter’s move to Japan in 1969, which resulted in the birth of Adam Custom Cues.


By 1973, Adam Custom Cues produced sixty different models, and approximately 100,000 cues a year. In just three years time, Adam Custom Cues the Adam lion logo was widely recognizable, and the cues the cue of choice throughout the world.


Helmstetter could boast a large advisory board of 30 professional players, including endorsements from Jim Rempe and Allen Hopkins.


By July of 1989 (when the photo above was taken), Dick Helmstetter was already one of the most accomplished cue makers in cue making history. As it happened, Dick did a double take on his way past the first Black Boar trade show exhibit.


He approached the booth and asked to handle a cue. Tony knew of Dick’s impressive reputation because of their mutual association with The Golden Cue. Helmstetter raved about the Black Boar. He said it was off the charts for a fledgling endeavor!


Tony was so excited at the high praise he had to snap this shot to capture the memory! Worth noting, Dick Helmstetter is also responsible for the Big Bertha Calloway Golf Club, famed all over the world.

Pictured below, 46 year old Tony and Mark Kulangin,  one of the first Black Boar dealers.


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