Dale Traber continues to make his mark as one of the most remarkable bowlers in PBA history.
Someone seeing the self-described “knuckler” in person for the first time probably would pass right by without giving him much thought: He’s never had the powerful game or physique that makes you notice, and it probably doesn’t help that his gruff personality can create a poor first impression.
But trust me on a few things.
One is that when you get to know him, he’s a teddy bear off the lanes who can be hilariously funny. Yes, I am talking about Dale Traber. You just have to get to know him.
Another is that he has the heart, moxie and skills of a great champion. I have no doubt that one of these years he will be going into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame, and he may go into the PBA Hall of Fame if he keeps piling up Senior and Regional wins.
We have fought hard against each other dozens of times over the years, and won doubles tournaments together, and my respect for him has only grown over the years.
What’s most amazing to me is that the "Glue" still is going strong at 53, with his latest win coming Sunday in the PBA Midwest Region Fox Bowl Open sponsored by Ken Klingberg Allstate in Wheaton, Ill.
Traber fired a 269 final game to go around a couple of players and take his record 50th Regional title, which was worth $2,000. Traber's wins include 39 "regular" Regional titles and 11 Senior Regional titles. Pete Weber holds the record for regular Regional wins at 47.
“I witnessed the ‘Hatchet’ for the win,” said Fox Bowl assistant manager Mike Nape. “It was Epic! I believe there is video of it floating around.”
Here is that video.
(The hatchet is Traber's signature move on key shots that has become legendary. The Glue comes from Nape once joking years ago to Traber that he was like an old horse: ready for the Glue Factory. Time has proven that one wrong, and only made it more hilarious.)
Ironically, the hatchet came on a shot that left a solid 10-pin, when it's almost always good for a strike. But Traber still won the tournament so that's good enough, I guess.
Traber’s main victim was new Madisonian Derek Eoff, who finished second for the second straight week after joining the PBA. He earned $1,100 after finishing 10 pins shy of Traber.
The high-scoring event was conducted on the Viper pattern. The 48-player field bowled seven games of qualifying and 12 games of round robin match play all on Sunday. The cut to the top 16 took a score of 1,576.
Chad Maas of Waukesha finished sixth for $670.
Full results are here.