Las Vegas. A little luck. $40,000.
No, this is not a story about gambling. It's a story about Larry Deacon and Kathi Livingston and the National Amateur Bowling Association. And, one of the lucky tenpin bowlers who compete in the weekly tournaments.
Deacon and Livingston live in Millersville, and each weekend they conduct a bowling tournament, often in an Anne Arundel County center.
Steve Trimble, bowling since he was 5 years old, bowls in the NABI tournament "just about every weekend."
A civilian employee of the Army, Trimble carries an average that's at the top of the NABI limit of 199. He has a career-high game of 290 and high set of 764.
That's why it wasn't much of a shock when Deacon called from Las Vegas and shouted: "One of our guys won the National!"
That's the National NABI Tournament conducted each year in Las Vegas at the Showboat Casino, Hotel and Bowling Center.
It was Trimble who battled changing lane conditions and several thousand bowlers from throughout the nation to win the first prize of $40,000.
A lesson in fun
It's pretty easy to forget that the first thing to remember about bowling is that it's supposed to be fun.
It still can be. Just take a bunch of first-time bowlers into a center. Better yet, make that a bunch of children, from about 4 to 10 years old.
That happened at Sandusky's Riviera Bowl one Saturday afternoon not long ago.
Walter and Ann Sawyer of Severna Park gave their son, almost-4-year-old Dennis, and nieces and nephews their first experience with duckpins.
There was Paul, Nicole and Christine Gardner, Heather Shawley, Billy Corbin, Richard and Kelly Duncan and Melissa, Jason and Nathan Fisher.
What exactly did the kids learn in that short session? All they needed to know the first time on the lanes.
How to pick up a ball from the rack without squashing fingers, how to reset the full rack, how to clear the dead wood, how to wait for the bowler on the right to throw the ball and how to step off the approach between balls.
In short, they learned the fundamentals of a game that they can compete in for the rest of their lives.
Action for seniors
On June 26, the Eastern Seniors Tournament Association was in action at Annapolis Bowl.
Al Thorne, seeded fourth for the stepladder finals, worked his way through Paul Busch, Glenn Seaver, Bud Doree and Henry Blough to capture first place and $500.
When the ESTA was at Brunswick Columbia on May 22, Terry Logan was the champion.
Glen Burnie's Ed Buco, who was second earlier this year in a ESTA event at the Thunderbowl center in Bayville, N.J., took second.
Buco, bowling for about 40 years, bowls in the Tuesday Men's League at Greenway Odenton and the Wednesday Pioneer Men's League at Bowl America Odenton. He carried a 212 average last season. He has bowled a 300 game and has a career-high 801 set.
"Terry [Logan] was red-hot that last game," Buco said. "I didn't feel bad losing to him that day."
And Buco knows what tough competition is all about. He's carried a Professional Bowlers Association card and bowled in a few PBA regionals.
"I like the ESTA events," Buco said. "They're well run, the format is good and the guys that bowl in the ESTA are just a great bunch."
If you're a senior bowler (over 50), you can bowl in the ESTA events. For information about joining the ESTA, call (717) 938-9704 and ask for Joani Clark.
Young bowlers excel
Over three weekends in May, almost 900 Young American Bowlers Alliance tenpin bowlers gathered at Brunswick Perry Hall to compete for scholarships.
In the Major Division (ages 15-21), Melinda Moore and Mike Mallet of Fair Lanes Southdale teamed to win the Mixed Doubles with a score of 1,383.
Mallet went on to win the Major All Events handicap with a score of 2,091.
In the Junior Girls Division (ages 12-14), "The Illusions," a Fair Lanes Southdale team, consisting of Jessica DeRidder, Christina Houser, Jennifer Moore and Casey Henderson shot a total of 2,282 to win.
In the Prep Girls Doubles Division (ages 9-11) Leslie Turney and Nicole Russ, both from Greenway Odenton, posted 1,180 for first place.
Turney, with a total of 1,613, won the All Events Handicap event.
A unique event
Starting tomorrow, and running through Saturday, hearing-impaired bowlers will compete at Bowl American Glen Burnie and Fair Lanes Ritchie.
Men's teams (at Bowl America) and women's teams (at Ritchie) will start at 8 a.m. and continue throughout the day.