Rich Kuzak, a 20-year-plus veteran of the county Police Department from Glen Burnie, has been bowling for just about the same amount of time.
The Eastern District detective bowls on Wednesday nights at Bowl America Glen Burnie in the winter season and carries a 170 average. He owns a career-high game of 256 and a high series of 658.
Those are all average figures, but on July 26 at Fair Lanes Clinton, Kuzak was anything but average. That day in the National Amateur Bowlers Inc. tournament, he defeated a field of 179 bowlers to claim the first-place prize of $1,000.
Bruce Phillips of Washington took second and won $500.
Dave Cole of Laurel was third, John Letos Jr., a Virginian bowler, was fourth, and Terry Adams, a woman bowler from Terrace Hills, was fifth. More than $4,000 was paid out in the NABI tournament.
Kuzak tries to bowl in the NABI tournaments "a couple times a month -- it's a chance to get into different centers and everyone has a shot at winning."
Kuzak is married to Patricia, another bowler, with a 165 average and is father to Rich Jr., 17, who carries a 158 average and works at Fair Lanes Southdale.
* Steve Burkett is a bowler who has a great outlook on bowling. When he's not working for Danella Ceiling, he is a relief manager at Fair Lanes Southdale.
Bowling for about half of his 28 years, Burkett averaged 213 last season.
In the Southdale Men's Classic League on July 28, he threw games of 237, 300 and 253.
"I've had a bunch of 278s and 298s but it's my first 300 game," Burkett said.
When an excellent bowler throws his first 300 game after 14 years of bowling, the first thing you ask is what was he doing differently?
"Not a thing," he said. "But I did use a new 16-pound Columbia Bud II bowling ball that Larry Nalls of Bowlers Discount Pro Shop drilled and fitted for me in the spring. That's the only change in my game, maybe that's the reason."
And there was nothing lucky about the game.
Butch Swain, manager of Fair Lanes Southdale, said, "After throwing the 12 strikes for the 300 game, Steve started the last game with four more."
Just after throwing the first 300 game of his career and throwing his career-high series of 790, the first thing on Burkett's mind was what was to come next.
"I'm looking for that 800 series," he said.
* The third annual Country Club Classic Tournament continues every weekend through Aug. 22. That tournament is in three divisions -- "A" for 200 and above averages; "B" for averages of 180 to 199 and "C" for 179 and below averages. First prize is a guaranteed $4,000.
* The LPBT Regional Open will start tomorrow night at Greenway Bowl Odenton, with an Youth/Adult Pro Am tournament.
On Saturday, the women pros will bowl for qualifying, and on Sunday, the finals will take place.
Donald G. Vitek's Bowling column appears every Thursday in th Anne Arundel County Sun. Bowlers are urged to give Don a call with scores and tidbits at 247-0850.