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Starcade Billiards ~ Patrick Sampey

Dave Proctor — Starcade Billiards

“I know what they don’t wanna tell you Just hope you’re heaven-sent, and you’re hell-proof I walk up in the world and cut the lights off And confidence is a stain they can’t wipe off” — Lil Wayne.

When I think of all the pool players that have won various Starcade open 9 ball events — always a cascading escalator of legendary champions comes to mind, and the “confidence is a stain they can’t wipe off” speaks words of wisdom, and I realize the true meaning of the words in the song.

So, I enter the back part of Starcade, and it’s like a church where only the lights over the tables shine — the sunlight outside forever blotted out it would appear; this is my Zen, this church of the game eternal — and 9 ball Giants like Rodney Morris, Tommy Kennedy, Scotty Townsend, Rick Howard, John Schmidt, Josh Hilliard, Stoney Stone, Mike Davis, and a plethora of pool champions in their own right — all players that can run out on anyone, worldwide; these players represent the game to the highest caliber, and Starcade has been supporting the game with open events like the Robin Workman Memorial coming in October 14th & 15th 2017!

Game on players, and these players ball in 9 ball, running racks, and when you get in the box, you can’t win from the chair, and that Scotty Townsend would run racks on any living human, and Tommy Kennedy has won the last two tournaments at Starcade, back to back.

So, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dave Proctor today, general manager at Starcade; he currently runs the tournaments, and can be contacted (850)-244-2349.

“My brother used to play in here (Starcade). I’ve been playing here a little over 20 years. I just love the atmosphere, and Andy Grubbs and Robin Workman, running all the tournaments back then. I just always loved their professionalism and loved coming in here. So, I got into every tournament I could get into. It didn’t matter who was in it, and that has made me the player I am today.” And then Dave tries to downplay his game a bit; I know better. He can run out on anyone. If he gets going on you, you may want to become comfortable with your chair.”

And he’s the manager! All kinds of champions down here.

Dave Proctor can play the game, and he runs a great tournament, provides great equipment, with 11 Brunswick Gold Crowns in the tournament area in the back. So many champions have battled on that green-felted canvas upon solid slate.

Starcade is a step back in time, to the days when pool mattered most in pool halls, where the game is about the many diverse players, and respect is earned not by what you say, but how you play the game.

In the front area, they have several coin-op, 8ft Valleys. And then two 9ft Gandys. In the back is where the church of 9ft, Gold Crowns reside, and the Apex of billiards in my opinion, and I’m sure it’s debatable, but suffice it to say: they have great equipment.

Of Robin Workman, Dave says, “He was one of the owners that ran the tournaments, and he was a pretty decent pool player back in his day, but by the time I was coming in here, he mainly ran the tournaments and Andy Grubbs was his partner, and they were great guys.”

Dave tells me they have an old, simple, DOS based computer program that works just fine for running the logistics of the table rentals, breaking down the hourly rate to the quarter hour I believe.

Whatever works — and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Starcade operates today much as I bet it did back in 1988 — some things never change — pool remains the same.

“It’s a great tournament here twice a year, between the Emerald Coast Open and the Fall Classic (October 14th and 15th). I still put my $50 in it and play in it, and I’m way overmatched, and if I get in the money I’m really happy, and I’m ecstatic…but I’ve loved all the great atmosphere, and the great players coming in here… Scotty Townsend was here every single tournament we had just about, you know, we miss him (Townsend passed this past December, RIP). He will be missed.”

The players, the game, the tables, the legacy — pool lives down here where the sun always shines — just not in this pool hall.

Starcade: it’s what pool is all about.


Author: Patrick Sampey

Editor: Shaylyn Troop

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