Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rainmakers: Weenie Beenie in Arkansas

Bill "Weenie Beenie" Staton, who passed away a few years back, once talked to me about his adventures in Arkansas, where he managed to raise enough cash to start his hot dog business. I've reproduced part of that interview, below. I particularly like Beenie's observation about all the guys walking around with $10,000 cash in their pockets. Weenie Beenie was inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame back in 2004. To read about the event, or hear an audio clip of the "Weenie Beenie Song," go to Onepocket.org.

And now, here's that interview excerpt:

"I walked into this little poolroom in downtown Blytheville. There were four tables there – four by eight tables.

"I said something like, ‘is there somebody in here that has any money.’ And Cleo Vaughn said, ‘I bet you there are at least four guys in here with $10,000 in their pocket.’ Remember: this was a small, ratty poolroom in this little town. I came in the next day with $10,000 and I said ‘I want to make it five people with $10,000!'

"(Cleo) heard ... about guys beating me. “I beat Beanie” or “I gave him 8 to 5.” He was getting a picture of how I played, and it was a bad picture. And anyway, I started playing. One time I played him (Cleo) for 56 consecutive hours.

"We played 56 consecutive hours, and I beat him pretty good. I was on a high. Pool made me high. I didn’t’ take drugs or anything. I said: ‘Who’s next?' after 56 consecutive hours.

"We were in a tough place. The action was so high, the chief of police said ‘you got to take this somewhere else.’ The kids were coming in after school, and the money was exchanging hands.

"There was a little place at the edge of town, out behind the gas station. The building was out behind gas station: it was a car port. They had a pool table and a card table. ... So we started playing there. It was around-the-clock action. That was where I played for 56 consecutive hours. I won good money.

"I stayed for 30 days. I was married and had three kids, so I had to get home.

"It happened every year, during the race season. There was a race track, and the players came, and it was west Memphis. And they came during that time. Hot Springs was where the racing was. It was in February, or early March. They had the racing season, and it attracted a lot of people.

"I heard about it a number of years before I ever went there. There was a lot of action at that time. It was wide open.

"That was the first time out there. … I won a little off Cokes, and a little of Fats, and most of from Cleo Vaughn. ... He died in Mobile, Alabama."

-- R.A. Dyer

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