Brooklyn Park barber has experience with duckpins -- 73 years


Seventy-three years.

That's not the age of a person. That's how many years Gino Stagi has been bowling duckpins.

"Hey, right now, my team's in first place by three games," Stagi said. "And we only got a week to go."

That team bowls in Lil's Seniors League at Greenway Glen Burnie. If Stagi's team wins this year, he'll have another trophy to add to the pile of trophies he's picked up over a lifetime of bowling.

You can see the trophies displayed in his barber shop in Brooklyn Park. That's right, Gino's still cutting hair.

"After 80 years I'm going to stop?" Gino asked. "That's how long I been a barber, 80 years, started in Italy when I was 9. Next week I'm having an 89th birthday."

That date is May 27 and celebrates his birth near Florence in 1903.

"TB killed my family when I was 6," he said. "And it was pretty tough to be an orphan that young. But I started to learn the barber trade when I was 9, and when I was 16 years old I paid $3.50 for a berth on old rusty ship and came to America. For a while I cut hair in New York, then in 1920 I came to Baltimore."

Married to Elsie for 67 years, Gino says, "Elsie doesn't bowl. I tell her I got a triple-header, she says, 'So what?' but I'm never to quit."

Stagi has a career-high game of 202 with a high set of 436, "when those scores were hard to get," he said.

Stagi has had his barber shop in Brooklyn Park for 66 years, almost as long as he's been duckpin bowling.

"In 1922 the law was changed, and if you were a barber you had to have a license," he said. "I got the first barber license in the country."

Is he the oldest duckpin bowler, too?


Greg Wessel and Gary Reisinger bowl tenpins at Greenway Odenton, and recently they both banged out 800-plus sets. Reisinger shot an 826, and Wessel had a 812 series.

Wessel lives in Millersville and bowls Wednesday night at Fair Lanes Annapolis and in the Capitol Men's League and the Men's Twilight league at Greenway Odenton.

The computer analyst is a right-handed cranker and "the night before my 800 series, I had a shot at another 800 series, but put two shots into the ditch and finished with a 784."

In the Twilight League, he shot games of 266, 279 and 267 for an outstanding 812 series, his first.

"In the last frame of the last game I needed a count for the 800. You can bet that ball was thrown right down the middle," he said.

Wessel carries a 216 average, and in 1989 threw a 300 game. "The 800 series is a lot tougher, believe me," he said.


Millard Herald III did a little struggling with his duckpin game until this past year.

"This year he's just improved so much," said Adell Asimenios. "Last year his average was 142. This year he's carrying 152. That's a big jump."

Asimenios knows just how tough a bowler Herald has become. Asimenios and her doubles partner, Ken Palmer, had to shoot a 1,554 series to tie Herald and his partner, Dorrie Brenner, in the Greenway Bowl East Open Mixed Doubles Tournament on May 9-10.

Herald, a Riviera Beach resident and a financial sales and annuity employee for Maryland National Bank, attends Loyola College where his major is finance.

That means he knows how to count, and he had to be pretty happy with his five-game total in the doubles tournament at Greenway: 823.

"The first tournament that I had a chance to win, and I had to settle for a tie," he said. "Ken's an old friend, but I told him that I'll get him next time."


Candy Fontz, youth director at Severna Park lanes, didn't have to throw a single duckpin or tenpin ball to feel pretty good about the 1991-1992 season. Her youth bowlers gave her a lot of reason to be proud.

In the duckpin youth league, the following youngsters were the most improved bowlers in their divisions, based on pins over average:

In the Pee Wee Division, Jessica Jackson was 19 pins over average, and Dennis Coale was 18.

In the Prep Division, Tiffany Fontz was nine POA, and Nicholas fTC Klapaska was 14 POA.

In the Bantam Division, Greg Bosworth was 23 POA.

In the Junior/Major Division, Kevin Butschky was two POA. Kevin's 201 game, the first-ever thrown in the Severna Park youth duckpin league, was good for fifth place in the 1991-1992 WDNA/DPBA/NDYA Stars of the Year event, which recognizes the top five girls and top five boys in each NDYA division who bowl the highest scratch game during the fall/winter season.

In the tenpin Early Riser Division at Severna Park lanes, Becky Davids was five POA and Greg Harper was 15 POA.

In the Junior Satellite Division, there were two triple-crown winners. Amy Buser had a 181 game, a 480 series and a 123 average. David Yetsen had a 219 game, a 494 set and a 121 average.


Greenway Glen Burnie has a Ladies Trio League starting May 27 and running for 12 weeks. Greenway will provide a nursery, so mothers can bring their kids and bowl this summer.


Country Club Lanes has two tournaments coming up.

The third annual Country Club Classic starts June 6 and runs through Aug. 22 with a guaranteed first-place prize of $4,000. It's a handicap event with three divisions.

On May 29, Country Club Lanes is playing host to the Hammer PBA Eastern Regional Classic adult and youth pro-am tournament.

This is a chance to bowl against the men of the Professional Bowlers Association, a chance to learn from the pros and a chance to win some money. Every amateur bowler will receive a Hammer double-ball bag for entering the tournament.

Information: 686-2556.

NABI will present its Memorial Day Special tournament May 22-25 at Crofton Bowling Centre. This is a major event for amateur bowlers.

Information: 721-2401.

Donald G. Vitek's Bowling column appears every Thursday in The Anne Arundel County Sun. Bowlers are urged to give Don a call with scores and tidbits at 247-0850.

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