The Makings of McWorter Pool Cues
First off let’s go over who makes the cues. Jerry Patrick McWorter was born on July 19, 1964 and lives in Ventura, CA. His favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and favorite music is Blues, Old Style Country. His claim to fame is the following:
- American Cuemakers Association Board of Directors: 1996-1998
- American Cuemakers Association President: 1998-2000
- Co-Producer of the prestigious Gallery of American Cue Art
- Winner of the Best of Show Award for the "Ebony Jewel" cue 1999
- Billiards technical director and advisor for many commercials, T.V. shows and feature films
Jerry was born in Glendale, California, Jerry grew up in La Crescenta. His father, Patrick, owned and operated a construction business, while his mother, Karen, stayed home running the office and raising Jerry, and his two older sisters, Leanne and Kathy.
At age 13, two Mormon missionaries were staying in the family guesthouse. They showed young Jerry a card trick. When he asked how it was done, the missionary answered, "You figure it out." And that he did. Only he came up with a new and more creative way to do it. That sparked his newest love: "Magic". He soon discovered the local magic store in his pursuit of greater knowledge. There he quickly became friends with 19 year old Eric Nolan, magic store manager and a professional magician. Eric began introducing Jerry to all the best magic books and all the right people. That first summer and the next school year Jerry spent 8-10 hours a day honing his new craft. By the time Jerry was 15 years old he was working a local L.A. restaurant as the house Magician - making $100.00 a night while he still needed his mother to pick him up after work. Around this time he also auditioned to be a member of Hollywood¹s famous MAGIC CASTLE junior society (under 21).
Despite his age, he soon became one of the Magic Castle’s regular Sunday matinee performers. One of Jerry¹s contemporaries (and the now famous) Lance Burton, was also a Jr. Member, performing stage magic while Jerry was working the close-up rooms. In 1981, at only 16 years old, he won the Pacific Coast Association for Magicians for best close-up magic in the over 21 category.
In 1982, when Jerry was 17, a fellow magician and local barber named Dean Dill, who was also a "local action" pool player, took Jerry from the barbershop through the poolroom. Dean coaxed Jerry into playing for money. Dean did everything for money (tennis, golf, and pool). Jerry began playing Dean regularly, sometimes winning. He quickly learned the basics of pool and "how to match up". He began to see local greats like Ismael "Morro" Paez, Ernesto Dominguez, and Keith McCready playing in L.A. Jerry was still working part time performing magic, but his passion was now shifting toward pool. His senior year in high school Jerry made his first pool cue in wood shop and the very first McWorter Cue was born. He made a wooden case to match. Like all "first cues" it was less than wonderful. He later became friends with Santa Barbara cue maker John Robinson and bought a fancy Robinson cue (still in Jerry’s personal collection).
From 1982 to late 1983 Jerry and his Robinson cue played in every poolroom and in every tournament in California. In December of 83 Jerry left for South Carolina to serve as a Mormon missionary until 1985. Shortly after his return, he married his high school sweetheart. He played pool a few times a week and worked in his father’s construction business. In 1987 they had a son, Collin Christopher McWorter. One year later, the bumps and bruises of his marriage left Jerry single once again.
Due to the fading national economy the California construction industry was taking a nosedive, and Jerry needed a new career. He saw the need for a simple, affordable "player style cue and was convinced that selling cues might be a nice sideline until construction picked up again. He created a cue design and thought of his friend John Robinson to make it. But John declined and tried to explain that there was not enough money in plain cues because "There’s just too much work for too little money". Jerry still believed it was a great idea and decided he would make it himself.
He began scouting machine shops until he found the lathe he wanted and started teaching himself cue making. Jerry dove in to his new work headfirst and worked 70- 80 hours a week trying to make a sellable product. He was out of money; the rent was late, and the child support was due. About two months later he sold his first cue for $200 and took his first order. It was late 1988 and McWorter Custom Cues was now in business!
Don Lee, owner of West Coast Billiard Supply, was giving Jerry wood for cues and shafts. Dave Kirsenbrock was working for Don making cues. Jerry would frequent the store, running the shaft machine and asking questions.
During this same year Ernie Gutierrez, maker of the famous "Gina" cue was also gearing to return to the cue business after a 13-year break. Jerry knew Ernie from the poolroom and was buying lathe parts, shaft wood and fenolic from Ernie. Ernie began to notice Jerry’s progress. Ernie was always encouraging but always held his techniques and knowledge very close to the chest.
"I made a lot of ugly cues in the early days," Jerry admits, " but they played good! Now that I look back, one of my smarter business moves was not putting my name on those early ones. Maybe no one will know they’re mine." He was being showered with positive feedback on the playability of his cues; and the looks improved rapidly. The cues began selling and quality kept improving. Jerry soon started building relationships and selling his cues to some of the local dealers. Joe Salazar was (and still is) a traveling road player/cue dealer and AAA Billiards Supply was the main West Coast cue dealer and billiard supply. Jerry started attending some of the national tour stops, selling cues and making a name for himself.
It took Jerry about 2 years in business before he discovered that his friend John Robinson was right. There was too much work and too little money in making only simple player style cues! After adding a milling machine to the shop tools, he started building six point cues and other embellishments. McWorter cues had a very solid reputation for playability, so adding points and inlay work was a natural progression. At that time (as now) there were companies offering prefabricated point blanks and various stock inlays from a catalog, but Jerry insisted on doing all his own work. "The catalog cue parts were made by good companies and much prettier work than mine, but I knew I was in this business for the long haul, and I was determined to learn all those tricks (and more) for myself."
In 1992 Jerry had carved himself a niche in the cue business and was playing well. His daily schedule consisted of working on cues from 11:00 am to 9:00 PM and playing pool at Hollywood Billiards until about 2am or 3am. At one Hollywood Athletic Club Saturday tournament, Jerry met the new tournament director (and Pro player) Jan Hacker. A couple months later he ran into Jan again at the annual Willard¹s tournament in Chicago. They spent some time watching matches and chatting on the sidelines. Two weeks later their paths crossed again at the Sands Regency tournament in Reno NV. Jerry had a booth selling cues and Jan was running a clothing booth for her roommate, best friend and fellow pro player Robin Bell. That week at the Sands event resulted in the kick-off of Jerry and Jan¹s (now 9 year) romance and marriage.
1992-1994 proved to be important years for Jerry and his cue business. McWorter cues were becoming much better known on a national level and many of the best local players were strong supporters. Jerry was still playing a fair amount, attending many of the professional tour stops and getting to know most of the top players, both as a player and cue maker. He also befriended Pat Fleming and began working as a color commentator for Accu-Stats video productions. Jerry’s speaking experience as a performing magician coupled with his knowledge of 9-ball came in handy. Commentating with Billy Incardona, Buddy Hall, Grady Mathews and other great players was great national exposure for Jerry and McWorter cues.
During those years (through the local pool room) Jerry became friendly with 21-year-old Japanese college student Yoshi Horigome, who was buying cues in the states and exporting them to Japan as a side job. Yoshi began buying McWorter cues and introduced them to some his Japanese contacts. Yoshi’s efforts proved very successful and he began buying consistently. It wasn’t long before Jerry was regularly receiving orders from all over Japan. Time passed and Yoshi got his Business Degree, later returning to Japan and landing a job with Ford Motor Company there. Yoshi and Jerry are still very close and continue to do business together. They have orchestrated many promotional trips and productions in Japan, making McWorter cues one of the strongest names and sought after cues in there.
In 1993 the American Cue Maker¹s Organization was formed to further the American craft of cue making. Jerry became a member soon after its formation and became friends with many of his fellow cue makers he formerly knew only by their products. Jerry’s product took a great leap forward by being associated with other great craftsmen. He quickly recognized the benefit of showing his cues side by side with other industry greats. He pressed himself even harder to further refine his work. He was particularly impressed with the creative innovations of Alaskan cue maker Thomas Wayne. They became friends and Thomas introduced Jerry to the New World of CNC machining. Jerry bought his first CNC machine from Thomas, who graciously allowed his brain to be pumped dry of information about the equipment.
In 1995 Jerry and Thomas joined efforts with L.A. based photographer Chuck Montique to produce the famed " Showcase of American Cue Art". (Later renamed, The Gallery of American Cue Art) This unique concept, originally envisioned by Jerry to show the "art" of cue making in a venue and style that this functional art form deserved. The first show was held in Dec of 1995 at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles California and served as a genuine turning point in the history of cue making. The event featured the work of most of top cue makers worldwide and enticed them to pull out the stops in their designs. The show returned the following and then relocated to the prestigious New York Athletic Club for the next two years.
Also, In 1995 Jerry and Jan bought their home in Ventura, California, preparing for the birth of their son Ryan. Jan continued to play on the WPBA tour following Ryan¹s arrival. Jerry¹s outside interests moved away from playing pool towards playing music. In Ventura Jerry found a strong dance and music scene and soon began playing drums with a talented swing / blues band. They worked all the local Ventura and Santa Barbara swing and blues clubs as the Swing Tones. In 1999 Jerry¹s artistic interest began following in his sister Kathy’s movie business foot prints. You can now get McWorter pool cues at Shooters Billiard Supply.