Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant started playing pool when he was 5 years old, and for the last 30 years, he hasn’t put down his cue. In fact, he’s bringing out his own line of break cues in January.
The cue will be called “The Hillbilly” and will reflect what Bryant likes in break cues. He has one of the hardest breaks in the world, having been clocked at 34.7 miles per hour in Las Vegas in 1996. While he still enjoys busting up the break, Bryant says he plays more for control. “Breaking that hard always came natural to me, but I don’t break much like that now.”
The new break cue will be taking his nickname, but the story of how he got it isn’t all that elaborate. “About six years ago, someone said, ‘You sure talk like a hillbilly,’ so it just stuck from there.” He doesn’t seem to mind the name, mainly because of his upbringing in Icard, NC, a little town outside of Hickory.
Now living in Houston, TX, and playing full time, he is the certified APA teaching pro for the area. “I really love to teach and see people learn the fundamentals of the game.” Bryant’s most recent big event was the Atlanta Open on October 14-17, where he tied for ninth. He also signed with Rob Loveless of pooltourneys.com as his new touring sponsor.
As busy as Bryant is, his priorities are in pretty good shape. He has shied away from the gambling aspect of the game and recognized that his talents were God given. “The good Lord’s given me a great talent and a great ability … and the way I’m gonna give back to the game from what he’s given me is teaching people.”
Playing Cue: Jerry Olivier www.jocues.com
Shaft/Weight: Curly maple shaft. “I sometimes play with a heavy shaft and sometimes with a light shaft. The cue weight ranges from nineteen point two ounces with the heavy one and eighteen point seven with the light.”
Diameter: 12.5 millimeters
Playing Cue Hit: Stiff-hitting cue
Tip: Tiger hard
Tip Radius: Nickel
Tip Tools: Tip Pik
Wrap: “Leather wrap that’s been sanded down, so it’s soft on my hands.”
Shaft Maintenance: “I do it myself—I don’t let anyone else touch my cues.”
Case: Hard case.Loose in Case: “I’ve got cue silk, porcupines, a black marker, a towel, a rasp, and glove that I don’t use … there’s even a jump butt in there.”
Break Cue: Sneaky Peak butt with a thick shaft
Break Cue Wrap: “It’s a rubber wrap, about fourteen inches long. I use it so my hands don’t slide when I break.”
Techniques: “When I get a ding in my cue, I sand it where the ding is and wrap a damp cloth around it, and it swells to fill out the ding.”Advice on buying a cue: “You get what you pay for. I say the custom cues are the best way to go. The cue makers are particular, so you’ll get a better response out of a custom cue.”