Ginny and Kris Courtney and Larry and Billy O'Patterson were bowlingunder conditions different from their home lanes last Sunday -- but it didn't hurt their games one bit.

They competed in the National Family Bowling tournament, sponsored by the Bowling Proprietors of America Association at the Thunderhead Taneytown lanes.

The winners, of course, fly to Dallas for the August finals, all expenses paid.

Ginny, a coach for the Saturday morning youth leagues at Bel Air Bowl, along with her son, Kris, 15, won the Junior Division, while Larry O'Patterson and his son, Bill, 17, won the Major Division.

In Dallas, the Courtneys and the O'Pattersons will be bowling against teams from all 50 states.

Kris Courtney carries a 150 average in the Saturday Junior league at Bel Air and has a high game of 242 and a high series of 600 -- not bad for someone who's been bowling for only three years.

But all members of the Courtney family,Ralph Sr., Ralph Jr., Siobhan and Todd, just 6, are bowlers. Winningtournaments is old hat for them.

Larry and Bill O'Patterson have been bowling for quite a while, too.

"Bowling is one sport where parents can compete with their children on equal footing," Larry says.

"Bill and I both started bowling at the same time, about eight years ago, and here we are winning tournaments together. That's just great. The big difference in bowling and other sports is that bowling will let you go as far your ability will take you without your age or size getting in your way."

Larry O'Patterson bowls at Timonium Fair Lane center, where he carries a 173 average with a nice 289 for high game and heart-breaking 698 (so close to that magical 700 set) for high series.

Bill O'Patterson, who plays semi-pro baseball in an unlimited league and attends North Harford High School, bowls in the Saturday morning youth league at Bel Air Bowl and carries a 168 average with a high game of 278 and hefty 684 series.


There are a lot of split leagues around, where there are first- and second-half winners, and the league winner is determined by a rolloff at season's end.

The Tuesday Independent Men's league at Forest Hill Bowling Center is one of those leagues.

Jim Richardson saved a 300 game for the May 7 rolloff of that league. Maybe the name Jim Richardson doesn't ring a bell, but how about "Bird" Richardson? Ah, every bowler knows who I mean now. He's been called Bird since he was a youngster. You want to know why he's called Bird, you have to ask him.

Anyway, this is the second time that Bird has thrown a 300 game; the first one was in the same league in the same center. This time he started with 300, added a 239 and a 200 game for a nice 739 series -- and the league championship.

Bird bowls on Friday at Forest Hill, and on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at Bel Air Bowl. He throws another 12-15 practice games each week.

Throwing a 16 pound AFM Cobra bowling ball, Bird carries a 186 average and has a career-high 778 game to go with the two 300's.

One thing is for sure, Bird has a sweet outlook on bowling. When asked how he gets out of a slump, he replies: "Just keep on bowling; it's something that you're doing wrong and all you can do is just keep bowling until you're out of it."

That's the attitude.


Tournament news

* July 27 and 28, a NABI tournament isscheduled at Forest Hill Lanes. Call Dick Dare, manager: 879-4477.

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