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Maker of pool cues from the 1960s to the early 1990s in Tampa, Florida.
Rocky Tillis was a railroad engineer who lived in Tampa, Florida. Rocky decided to use the equipment and experience gained from his woodworking hobby to make his son a pool cue. The second cue Rocky made was similar to a friend´s Balabushka. Many people got to see this cue when it was finished, since Tampa is a city with a great demand for custom cues and repairs. Players who saw this cue were impressed, and repair work soon followed. Rocky was also being asked to make custom cues for local players.
Rocky Tillis cues were not marked, but they are easily recognizable to those who know his work. He worked on one lathe, and had very little equipment, so many of his inlays were dots. He very often put dots in a clover-leaf pattern at the tips of the points, and his fancy cues had many more dots. He also liked to cut up old snooker balls and pool balls to use for inlay material, and red, black, or pink windows and dots from these are also encountered. He liked to use African boquiva wood for butt sleeves. He was an absolute perfectionist, and threw away many cues that weren´t to his satisfaction. He also made many two-piece bar cues, and he made cues from Titlist blanks and Burton Spain blanks.
Rocky made what was called a half joint, which was 5/8 in. long. He was using super hard stainless steel from used railroad components. These cues were nicknamed "Choo-choo cues."
Rocky took a short break from cuemaking after suffering a stroke in 1983. He later made a few more cues before he died in the 1990s.
If you have a Rocky Tillis cue that needs further identification or repair, contact Wayne Gunn or Terry McEniry of Gunn Cues, listed in the Trademark Index.

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