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Local bowling season heating up

Tom O’Neill

Local bowling season heating up

By Tom O’Neill

            Averages are rocketing at Coloma Lanes; the USBC Blossomland Bowling Association has implemented its own awards program, merger meetings of the men’s, women’s and youth bowling associations are moving forward and tournament season has started.

            Looking at the top 10 averages for men, it takes 226 to make the list and for the women, 185. Coloma Lanes’ bowlers control 11 of the 20 spots for the two top ten lists.   Dan Gulliver is leading the way for men averaging 243 followed by fellow Coloma Lanes bowler Brad Flowers at 241. Jason Utter holds a 237 average at Lakeshore Lanes followed by Kelley’s Bowl owner Bill Froberg at 232. Two pins separate the next six. Melissa Utter continues her domination of women. Utter is averaging 218 in the mixed Starlighters League at Lakeshore Lanes. Coloma Lanes owns the next three spots. Tiffany Moore is at 206, Arica Angelo at 205 and Kylee Punches at 201.43. Nicki Brose, bowling at Kelley’s Bowl, is at 201.33

            Kelley’s, with the most sanctioned bowlers, is running about four weeks behind other leagues as the installation of refurbished pinsetters delayed the season’s start.  Coloma Lanes owner Ray Steadmon said he has not changed his oil pattern in six years, trying to explain the high averages. “The only variance was a full out resurfacing of our lanes.”  

Men’s Association implements awards program

            Several years ago the United States Bowling Association (USBC) discontinued or reduced the awards program for its members. As ball and lane technology advanced, scores soared and USBC limited its top awards to one-time achievements for a 300 game or 800 series. It has been one source of contention among members as sanction rates continued to increase.

            “We recognized people should have something for attaining an honor award,” explained Gus Leoni, Association president. Leoni said $11 out of each sanction fee currently goes to the local. “Next year when the USBC sanction fee goes up, our bowlers will not see an increase. We’ll cut our share to $9.” Local fees support tournaments, supply and equipment purchases along with a few salaries.

            The Blossomland Bowling Association purchased jackets and shirts for members tossing 300 games or an 800 series. Each time a bowler repeats, the date is added to the jacket. One-time rings are also awarded for 300 and 800. Special bag tags are given for 299, 298 and 297 games. Plaques are awarded for 11 strikes in a row, the 7-10 and 4-6-7-10 splits along with triplicate games. The Association also has purchased trophies for a one-time award to those shooting 50 and 75 pins over average. The first award is for those with a 174 average or below. The second is for those above 175.

Merger talks moving on

            The USBC mandated that men, women and juniors combine their associations into one before August 1, 2018 to remain sanctioned. The local associations have been working throughout the summer on combining bylaws into one and coming up with a format to elect new officers and directors. The combined Southwest Michigan USBC is taking applications now for four officers and 16 directors with a deadline of January 15. The new board is scheduled to meet March 24.


            The Women’s Bowling Association held a mixed doubles No-Tap tournament at Kelley’s Bowl November 19. Kayla Mahler and Denise Grau took first with 1789 pins. Second place was Colleen and Mark Pullins with 1760 followed by Gladys Hunter and Pam Head with 1749 pins.

            Coloma Lanes held their monthly Trio No-Tap Tournament November 26. Coming up from fifth place in the step-ladder format, Kenny Tosh, Steph Schmalfeldt and James Jr. Schmalfeldt took first place. The next trio tournament is December 17.

            Applications for the Men’s City Tournament are available at all member centers. The team event with a first place award of $1,500 is scheduled for January 13/14 at Kelley’s Bowl and Doubles/Singles at Lakeside Entertainment in South Haven January 20/21. First place is $600. Bowlers can sign up individually and be placed on a team.

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