Chris Bickett of Hialeah wanted to add a few more firsts to her already impressive portfolio before she takes on the Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour (LPBT) next February. Bickett did just that Sunday when she won the Florida State Women's 600 Club's singles title for the second straight year. No one has ever won two titles, much less back to back, in the 34-year history of the state club.
"All I can do is sweat out this final shift," Bickett said Sunday after posting a four-game scratch 937 total on Saturday. "Probably Gail Husbands has the only chance to beat me out there today, but you never know."
Bickett was right. Husbands, a strong lefty from Holmes Beach, threatened with a 701 three-game series. But, she faded to a mediocre 182 fourth game and posted an 883 total, good for second.
Carole Lemke of Cape Coral was third at 881, Carol Ziebell of Sarasota was fourth at 872 and New Port Richey's Cathy Henry was fifth at 843. Three weeks ago, Henry rolled the first 300 game in the history of the Florida Bowling Queens and is at the top of her game. Lori Bonanno of Homosassa Springs finished seventh.
Mary Remer of Naples won the B Division with a 786 and Michelle Oxford of Lakeland was the C Division winner with a 748. Sandy Evans, Bickett's friend and tour sponsor, fired the tournament's high game of 279 and finished eighth.
Bickett's total was only one pin less than she rolled in winning the event last year at Lane-Glo Bowl in New Port Richey.
"I've worked very hard, mentally and physically, for this and I guess I'm lucky I've got Sandy and several others sponsoring me," Bickett said. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be for the tour, and I plan to bowl every one of them next year."
There were 530 entries in the 33rd annual event featuring women who have rolled a career 600 series. Singles were bowled in three divisions based on averages and a no-tap optional doubles was added for fun. Tampa's Dorothy Gewan and Cindy Thompson won the doubles.
Cooper captures NABI event: Clearwater's Joe Cooper, the top qualifier, defeated New Port Richey's Rob McNatt 225-219 to win the NABI Club tournament at Palmetto's Fantasia Lanes last Sunday. Three St. Petersburg men filled out the rest of the top five.
Spring Hill Lanes hosts NABI this weekend.
$20,000 to the winner: Bruce Paquette, an investor in the Semi-Professional Bowlers Association's big tournament at Davie starting next Wednesday, called to clarify a few points.
"We at first were not going to sanction the event and sent out the first flier on that basis," Paquette said. "Later, we decided to go ahead with the ABC-WIBC sanction and had to redo the flier. That's why the discrepancy in the two fliers." The first flier listed payoff guarantees and no entries requirement. The second flier listed a required 700 entries to guarantee the payoffs.
The singles handicap event running through Nov. 4 offers $20,000 to the overall winner and a new car to the first scratch 300 game roller. Entry fee is $95. There are more than 700 entries so far, Paquette said, thus ensuring the big payoff. For more information, you can call Paquette or tournament director Roger Tramp at 407-641-7722.
Around the Lanes: The Suncoast Men's Association's annual Up & Down wheelchair tournament is Sunday at Largo Lanes. The ABC honored 12,766 perfect games last season, topping the 10,733 honored in 1988-89. More than 300 attended the first Florida Women's 500 Club state tournament in Ormond Beach, but no one from the area finished in the top three. Clearwater was awarded the 1992 state tournament. The third annual Gloria Ogles Memorial Tournament is today at Steve Neff Lanes in Homosassa Springs with walk-in entries accepted for the $8 fee.