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Dave Walsh: Huntington USBC members challenged to enter tournament

Dec. 30, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Hey, Huntington United States Bowling Congress members. You have until Jan. 23 to enter the fifth annual Huntington USBC Championships scheduled Jan. 26-27 and Feb. 2-3.

I'm not waiting. Neither is Huntington USBC board member and league bowler Gary Lafon. Our entry fee -- $63 -- has been turned in.

"Fill out an entry blank, put the money in, go bowl and have fun," Lafon said.

Once again, our two association centers will be used. Colonial Lanes has singles and doubles and Strike Zone has team event. Shifts start at 1 p.m. on each tournament date. To win the coveted all-events title, that means a bowler will have to compete at both centers.

I bowl in a senior league on Fridays at Colonial, but I'm ready to try my hand again on the synthetic lanes at Strike Zone. Heck, last year, I shot a 250-plus game in the final game of singles there and that helped me cash. So if there are any one-house bowlers out there, shed that label for the tournament.

"Both houses are going to be trying their best," Lafon said. "Everybody will face the same shot. Bowl to the best of your ability and see what happens. The only way to keep this going is to get people in it."

Entries have been down in recent years, but association members are making an extra effort on the PR front this time. With more entries, the prize fund grows.

"How do you expect to get your money back?" Lafon said. "It's your (association members) tournament. We're (board) the caretakers. All we can do is encourage."

For the first time, team event will have four members instead of five. That will help on the time front and make it a bit easier to secure a doubles partner.

The thing to remember is this is a handicap event. High-average bowlers such as Brian Fite and Nora Ball probably will be competing, but that doesn't mean you can't (a), win or (b), cash. In 1988-89, former association president and USBC president Mike Carroll and myself won handicap doubles.

"If I don't bowl, if others don't bowl, what good is it?" Lafon, who has won several city tournament titles, said of having an association. "We have to show it's important. Make it important enough to put your money in and take a shot."

It's possible some new equipment might be secured for raffle purposes. In the future, it's possible sponsorship money could materialize.

In addition to bowling, two squads in team event, Lafon will work the tournament as well.

"I'd like us to get to where we have to add another weekend," Lafon said. "I'd love to have to work another weekend."

Huntington USBC members ... only you can make that happen.

CLUTCH EFFORT: Brad Angelo performed rolled three clutch shots in the 10th frame to edge Mika Koivuniemi, 233-232, in the PBA Tour's Viper Championship title match last Sunday on ESPN. It was Angelo's first title since he won the Viper Championship in 2008.

Angelo got some help from Koivuniemi in the final frame. Both players had a split/open early in the match. The contest came down to the 10th frame where Koivuniemi, the No. 3 qualifier, struck on his first shot in the 10th for a five bagger. Needing nine pins and a spare to lock up the title, Koivuniemi went high, left the 3-6-9-10 and knocked down just three pins to keep Angelo in it. Angelo, the top seed, stepped up and first threw the needed double. The 11-year PBA Tour veteran needed eight or more pins on the final shot and he got eight to secure the win.

While Angelo and Koivuniemi figured out the Viper pattern, No. 4 qualifier Michael Fagan and No. 2 Sean Rash weren't as fortunate. Koivuniemi beat Fagan, 214-150, in the first match and Rash, 258-180, in the second.

BACK ON TV: Walter Ray Williams Jr., the PBA Tour's career leader in wins with 47, returns to television Sunday. He's No. 2 qualifier on the PBA Chameleon Championship scheduled for 1 p.m. on ESPN. In the opening match, Scott Norton faces Fawaz Abdulla, the first bowler from Middle East country of Bahrain ever to make a PBA finals telecast. The winner faces Williams. That winner meets top seed and two-handed star Jason Belmonte in the title match. Last season Williams failed to make a TV show for the first time in 26 years.

David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald-dispatch.com.

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