Uncle Runts Watering Hole

A bully pool player

by Duane Ausherman

I was a member of the BMW Motorcycle Club of Northern California from about 1968 to 1975.  The club had monthly meetings, usually with a ride to someplace interesting.  Members would often arrive Friday evening, camp out and ride home on Sunday.

I was new to California, and it was my way of learning geography and also the demographics of BMW motorcycle riders.  I had already opened a small BMW repair shop in San Francisco called Duane’s Shop.

Each year the club would ride to the Mt. Shasta area and stay at Uncle Runt’s Watering Hole, a sort of resort. A relative of a club member owned it. We reserved the campground for the motorcycle club, and we filled it up.

Of the many members that made the yearly ride was Ray Bunch. Ray was a perfectionist and did a variety of work on BMW motorcycles. He was best known for his excellent special tools. His tools preceded those made later by Ed Korn. Ray’s tools were almost works of art, as they were well made, and the finish was perfect. Ray wasn’t a people person, but we respected him for his expertise in the technical aspects of the motorcycles.

Uncle Runt’s had a bar with a decent pool table. Many of the members enjoyed playing a social game of pool. The bar had quite a crowd of BMW members, drinking, talking, and playing pool. Ray was a good player, and rather than win a game or two, then give up the table to others, Ray dominated the table. Ray was a bully. I hate bullies.

While I respected Ray, I couldn’t say that I liked him, and he didn’t care much for me, or anybody else for that matter.  I decided that he needed to get off the table and let others play.  After all, this wasn’t a pool tournament.

I proceeded to put my quarter down and wait for my turn to play the winner, which was always Ray.  He didn’t seem concerned. After all, I was just a long-haired hippy.

Ray broke the rack, made a couple of balls, and it was my turn.  The table wasn’t ready for a run, so my shot was to move things around to my advantage.  Ray took his turn and missed because I had left him without a shot.  Then I ran the table.

As the winner, it was my turn to break.  I seem to remember that I didn’t make a ball on the break.  Ray pocketed a couple of balls, missed, and I ran the table again.

Ray wasn’t used to losing, and he wasn’t very good at it.  He was miffed, and I was pleased that my plan was working.  Once a player like Ray loses a game, his world of “I am the best” is ruined.  Now he will make mistakes and play poorly.

I think that it was at this point that I offered to “even it up a bit” by shooting left-handed.  At this point, I could have easily beaten him by using only one hand.  He silently took the bait and lost again.  He slammed his cue stick down on the table and proclaimed, “I have had enough of this.” and stomped out.

Politely, the crowd was pleased.  I gave the table up to those that wanted to play social pool.

Two of Ray’s tools

Updated 30 March 2023