Sexiest fat men break tennis record

When one of the self-proclaimed “sexiest fat men alive” gets behind something, people respond in record numbers.

This week, the names of radio personalities Bill “Bubba” Bussey and Rick Burgess have brought a record 350 amateur tennis players to Pelham from across the Southeast for their second-annual Super Summer Slam tennis tournament, June 5-8. It will be the largest amateur event ever in the Southeast, after last year’s inaugural tournament set a new state record with 288 competitors.

“We blew that old record away,” said Bussey. “We may have blown up so far that we have the national record. We just don’t know yet. The USTA (United States Tennis Association) is checking on it.”

While Bussey was originally shooting for 300 participants, Chaney Mills of the Pelham Racquet Club said she knew the number would be much higher.

“I know how it goes when he promotes something,” Mills said. “When he wants to support something, it reaches a broader range of people. People love him and follow him. What he says do, they do.”

Bussey, who has become an avid tennis player over the past few years, decided to start a tournament last year to help promote and grow the sport in the area. He played a large roll in bringing a Davis Cup match to Birmingham earlier this year.

“It just shows what a great tennis community Birmingham is,” Bussey said. “The Pelham Racquet Club is really one of the nicest places around to have a tournament and its one of the few that is big enough to organize and have an event like this.”

This is the first time Mills and the Racquet Club have hosted as high a number of players with out it being a USTA championship event, and even then they had help from three or four other sites.

This week, all 20 clay courts and five hard courts at the Racquet Club will be utilized as well as the nine hard courts at the Pelham Tennis Center.

“It’s something to be proud of for sure,” Mills said of the high number of players. “It means a lot of work, but it also means a lot of people here did their job. When you do a second-annual event, it always has to be better. It’s kind of like a sequel to a movie.”

While Mills is welcome to the challenge this week, she knows that things will have to change next year, either by going to a week-long event or splitting it to two weekends.

“It’s either that or build more courts,” Mills said.

To find out about play, call the Pelham Racquet Club at 621-3380.