The U.S. Amateur is an APA League Operator's only shot at
League-sponsored accolades. In 1999, a duo of current LOs becomes players once again.
Some of the best shooters in the APA no longer shoot pool, and if they do, it's at an invisible target. Unlike many other league organizations, the APA doesn't allow its
League Operators to participate in higher-level tournament activities or win in the APA formats – except for the U.S. Amateur Championship. That's because Skill Levels get
thrown out the window in this, the only non-handicapped APA nationally sanctioned event.
Bruce Barthelette, who operates the APA's second-largest League area (over 700
teams are playing there this fall) in Chicopee, Mass., is making his fourth run at the title in as many years. His top finish came in 1996 when he finished 7th
. This spring at the Camel 8-Ball Classic, Barthelette was there to support one of his own, Ladies Champion Pam Burgon. Now the tables turn as he's thrown into the player mix.
"As a League Operator you simply don't have the time to play as much as you'd like, so I really enjoy this opportunity to feel like a real player again," he said.
Mickey Ray, from Madison, Miss., is one of the tournament's most visible players, having placed in the top seven
every year since the 1994 inaugural U.S. Amateur Championship. Check back for a feature on this sharpshooter later in the week!