They settled the question of who the Bowler of the Year is in both duckpins and tenpins at Thunderhead Lanes in Westminster Sunday. And it wasn't easy.

You had duckpin bowlers the likes of Brett Welsh and Sonny Dixon. In tenpins, the ranks included Kenny Barrick, Fay Gross, Jim Murk and Sue Meloy.

Meloy, wife of Baltimore County police officer Skip Meloy, bowls at Thunderhead on the Wednesday Harrison Hi-Rollers League and carries a 151 average. Her high game is 257, her high set 645.

In March she was the Bowler of the Month with 117 pins over her average. Her average would probably have been higher, but it dropped when she triedout a new grip.

Jim Murk was Bowler of the Month in May and livesin Woodbine with his wife, Ann, who carries a 132 average after bowling only for a year. Shoot, Jim has only been bowling for three yearsand he's carrying a 136 average with a high game of 220 and a high set of 520.

Jim is a supervisor for Shirley Contracting Corp. and last season bowled in a Sunday night league at Thunderhead; this summer, he's going to try Fair Lanes Kings Point in Randallstown, Baltimore County.

"I'm averaging a little higher at Kings Point," Jim said. "But in the fall, I'll return to Thunderhead Westminster.

"And I'll be throwing a hook shot when I do. Danny (Haines) at Taneytown drilled a finger-tip grip for me, and it's helping my scoring a lot."

So who was the Bowler of the Year?

Kenny Barrick was the tenpin champ; in duckpins you get two for the price of one -- Fay Gross and Brett Welsh tied and shared honors.

Barrick has a average of more than 150 and lives in Westminster with his father, Kenneth.

"But make sure that you don't call Kenny a junior," the elder Kenneth Barrick said. "He's not a junior."

The elder Barrick, now 65, used to bowl duckpins in his younger days and carried a nice average, about 120. His son took to tenpins and that's working out pretty good for him. When Kenny's not working at The Carroll County Times, you'll probably find him at Thunderhead Westminster.

Especially now that he's Bowler of the Year.

Fay Gross, who lives in Silver Run with her husband, Rod, a vice president at Ferris, Baker, Watts, and son Courteney, 11, has been bowling for just two years and still finds time to operate breed cairn terriers.

This year, Courteney will be bowling in the youth/adult league with his grandfather, Bob Fowler. Now if we can get Rod to start bowling, we'll have the whole family on the lanes.

How did the victory affect Fay? It didn't bother her . . . much.

"If I had known that I had a chance to actually win the championship," she said, "I'd probably have started throwing gutter balls."

Hey, Fay, I've done that a few times myself.

Brett Welsh, the April Bowler of the Month, is employed by J.M. Renehan Inc. and lives in Taneytown. He started bowling about three years ago, and he's hooked now. Last year he bowled in three leagues, Friday at Thunderhead Westminster and Wednesday and Monday at Taneytown.

He's carried 131 average and has a high game of 197 and a high set of 499; how's that for two heart-breakers -- just a few Please pins away the hallmark scores for duckpinners.

It doesn't bother Welsh.

"Bowling is a great way to relax," he said. "You have fun and meet a bunch of good people."

Get in slump? Easy.

"I just keep bowling until I get outit," he said.

He is using a set of 3-pound, 10-ounce duckpin bowling balls that he received for Christmas. Now everyone is going to beasking for bowling balls for Christmas.

"Brett was bowling so good," Sonny Dixon said, "that I started rooting for him. And I was bowling against him. But he was really locked in, and it was a pleasure to watch."

Dixon, who lives in Hampstead with his wife, Joyce, was a Bowler of the Month, of course, as were all the contestants in the Bowler of the Year tournament. He's the kind of guy who likes someoneelse to bowl great just as much as he likes to do it himself. And Dixon is a tough bowler with a 123 average and high game and high set of 198 and 446.

"If Brett hadn't missed a couple of one pinners in the last game, he would have had the championship sewed up. He was just bowling great," Dixon noted.

Nobody makes all the one pinners, Sonny. That's bowling.


Tournament news: The 14th Youth Duckpin Invitational Championship will begin at 1 p.m. July 7 at Greenway Bowl East, featuring the 96 best youth bowlers from Maryland, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Additional rounds will take place at Fair Lanes Prince George's Plaza and Fair lanes Westview in Baltimore County July 9; at Mount Airy Lanes and White Oak Lanes in Montgomery County on July 11 and the finals at 1 p.m. July 14 at Greenway East.

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