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Pool hall-of-famer helps open new Legends Billiards Club in Nibley

August 2nd, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

Story & Photos by Cassidee J. Cline

NIBLEY—Pool hall junkies gathered in Nibley over the weekend to celebrate the grand opening of the new Legends Billiard Club.

Allan Cornia, founder and manager of the club, opened the doors Saturday with an exhibition by world record holder and trick shot artist Mike Massey.

Cornia said he decided to open the club because he wanted “a nice billiard room and dance hall for people to come and enjoy themselves.”

Massey entertained the crowd of about 50 by setting up trick shots and playing challenge games with anyone who dared to pick up a pool cue.

Massey, from Loudon, Tenn., said he has been playing pool since he was 13—about 51 years—and has been performing trick shots for around 38 years.

“I’m from the South,” Massey said. “Back then, the pool rooms had spittoons along the side of the wall and women didn’t go into the rooms, it was mostly men.”

Massey has done exhibitions in over 40 countries, was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame and is five-time ESPN Trick Shot Magic Champion.

“I was a natural,” Massey said. “It’s like I could see the angles. I believed I was meant to play pool.”

Cornia said he played Massey a number of years ago in California. He said asking Massey to be at the grand opening of his new pool hall was a no-brainer.

Amateurs and seasoned pool experts signed a list to challenge Massey.  Some challengers had the chance to put a few balls in before Massey swept the table while others just enjoyed the experience.

“With somebody with Mike Massey’s caliber, it’s very nice to be able to play somebody like that, to just have it as a memory,” Cornia said.

Mike Engle, Legenda’ assistant manager, was first up to challenge Massey. “I got to rack,” was Engle’s only comment after his game was over.

Chris Cook, 23, was one of the youngest to challenge Massey. He’s played pool for only a year, and Massey gave him some sharp lessons. Cook said it was a good experience, but as soon as he stepped up to challenge Massey, he knew it was going to be a rough game.

Between Massey’s trick-shot exhibition and challenge games, Cornia performed magic tricks for the audience. Cornia said he has been playing pool for about 40 years himself, has been performing magic for around 30 years and is a performing member of the magic castle in Hollywood.

At the end of the night, the country band, Stone Road, played a set while people boogied on the new dance floor.

“I was hoping for a huge turn-out, and I am very, very happy with what’s happening,” Cornia said.

Legends Billiard Club is equipped with seven, seven-foot pool tables, a nine-foot pool table, a bar and a sprung dance floor. The club is located on Highway 89/91 in Nibley on the north side of Petersen’s Country Store.



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