No disrespect, but the Wisconsin State Bowling Association Championships — aka the State Tournament — has for years been more of a social occasion for me and the guys I bowl with than a serious tournament.
It’s always great to win anything, but it’s hard to place great value on titles when they are won on a house shot that annually produces gigantic scores that sometimes are surreal.
One year in Milwaukee I shot a little over 2,200 all-events and finished sixth!
It’s a far cry from the early years of my career, when we were fairly serious about State. My teammate John Wittkowske won the all-events one year in the early 1980s with under 1,900!
Hopefully, a State Tournament Sport Championships weekend will come to fruition before I am too old to enjoy that competition.
In the meantime, we will keep going to State, aiming to bowl as well as we can and have a great time partying and hanging out.
State is this weekend for us this year and we had an interesting ride in minors at Dale’s Weston Lanes on Saturday.
Team at noon on Sunday at Mountain Lanes in Wausau could be another fun one, as Linds Limited is on the same squad as our Turbo 2-N-1 Grips group. They bowled minors the squad after us last night and I got a report that Dale Traber shot a 300.
State this year is using the USBC Blue 1 lane pattern, which theoretically is more difficult than the house shot State used for years.
However, Blue patterns can play easier than house shots by providing a smoother reaction than the sometimes extreme wet-dry of many house shots.
As with all lane conditions, finding the right combination of release, speed, ball, attack strategy, etc. is the key.
It took me the first game of doubles to figure it out on Saturday, as I went from MODERN MARVEL to MARVEL to VIRTUAL ENERGY, struggling to a 208.
We all started around 10 board going fairly straight.
I needed the shiny cover of the VE to retain enough energy to go through the pins powerfully; the first two balls simply had too much surface and bled too much energy before reaching the pins.
I followed with 276 and 257 for 741 in doubles, with Steve Richter adding 702 (227-239-236) for 1,443, which moved us into second in doubles.
I thought we could take the lead if I struck out the 10th frame — I left a solid 10-pin, spared and left another 10 — but we actually would have fallen a pin shy of Wade and Lynn Staude’s 1,466.
By the end of doubles, I was crossing about 15-board at the arrows going out to 10 at the breakpoint.
When we flipped from 55-56 to 53-54 we found lane 54 to be much tighter and I actually moved back right a bit on that lane.
But I kept striking, rolling 279 and looking at another 279 going into the 10th of game two before my shot jumped high on lane 53 and I escaped with a 6-10 that I spared, then struck for a 257.
That left me needing 289 to tie Rich Voakes for the singles lead.
When I tripped the 2-pin forward in the sixth on lane 54, I thought maybe the bowling gods were on my side. Instead, after striking through the ninth, I left a ring 10-pin on a very good shot in the 10th frame, spared it and struck for a 279 and 815.
By the end of singles, I was crossing 20 at the arrows on 53 and 18 at the arrows on 54.
It was impossible to feel robbed or even bad, as I had two huge breaks to get to that point – the split I didn’t leave at the end of game two and the trip 2-pin. In a sense, I deserved that ring 10.
And it did get me into position to challenge for the all-events lead and our Turbo 2-N-1 Grips team for the team all-events lead.
Towne & Country Lanes #1 of Burlington leads team with 3,432 and team all-events with 9,956.
Our team — Marc McDowell, Richter, myself, Gail Myers Jr. and Rob Schuh — is 855 over heading into team.
Richter bowled consistently well but couldn't bang out a huge game as he added 706 in singles.
Myers Jr. rolled 663 in doubles and 631 in singles. Schuh had 705-701, and they had 1,368 in doubles.
McDowell had 547-644 and Dan Goepfert 690-654, and they had 1,237 doubles.
Mike Walters had 715-665 and Tom Howery 681-718, and they had 1,396 doubles.
Paul Gloede had 489-666 and Ben Cleveland 621-644, and they had 1,110 doubles.
State Tournament standings can be accessed here.