It might take some time to build a following of loyal bowlers, but sooner or later Joe Correa hopes to be able to say, "Move over, NABI."
Correa's Variety Bowling Club had a modest turnout of 14 keglers for a match-play tournament June 5-6 at Mariner Lanes in Spring Hill. The event and $225 top prize were won by Lou Angello, with runner-up Nancy Short taking home $100.
"I didn't get the fliers out on time to promote the tournament and that's my fault," Correa said. "But otherwise I had a pretty good reaction. A few people there asked when the next one is going to be held. We want to get the bowlers who are tired of NABI."
The match-play event was handicapped and began with each bowler rolling four qualifying games the first day. The top eight scorers came back the second day and rolled one game in match play before the field was cut to four finalists.
Don Henry opened the finals with a 244-218 (handicapped) victory over Bill Masek. Henry fell 196-173 to Lou Angello in Game 2. Angello then defeated No. 1 seed Short 260-208 in the championship match.
Correa has tentatively scheduled a "dump the garbage" tournament for July 10-11 at Spring Hill Lanes. The entry fee is $32, and each bowler will roll four games, then throw out the worst (garbage) score. One of every seven players will advance, with a $1,000 top prize awaiting the winner if there are 100 entries.
Call Correa at (904) 686-0106 for more information.
Contingent from state heading west: Area bowlers attending the 10th annual NABI Nationals at Las Vegas on June 17-25 are likely to find three times as many familiar faces as last year. That's because the number of participants from Florida has swelled from 170 a year ago to about 500 this year.
"Las Vegas is a very prestigious tournament," NABI of Florida state director Shirley Lockyer said. "The bowlers who went last year enjoyed it and made quite a bit of money. Word got around and others want to try it."
NABI has grown from six clubs in Florida last year to seven now. Members of the Gainesville-Ocala club who've signed up for Las Vegas are Frank DeGeorge, Theresa DeGeorge, Terry Zappia, Glenda Eldred, Rick Leach, Trisca Leach, James Jones, Jim Hunter, Dave Leisure, Phyllis Leisure, Lee Reeves and Lucy Reeves.
Floridians will be among some 9,000 amateur bowlers from around the country expected to compete. They'll vie for about $550,000 in prize money spread among nearly 20 sub-tournaments within the NABI National Championship, which itself offers $40,000 to the winner and $20,000 to the runner-up.
Rogelio Marquez of Tijuana, Mexico, is the defending national champion and winner of the $30,000 top prize last year. He beat Robert Brahs of Baldwin, N.Y., 229-203 in the title match last year.
Bradenton's Mary Lou Mullis was the top money winner from Florida at the NABI Nationals in 1992. She earned $1,875 for finishing 14th in the first round of qualifying.
Fletcher wins no-tap event: Mike Fletcher narrowly defeated William Lewis 1,062-1,061 for top honors in a four-game handicap no-tap tournament June 7 at Spring Hill Lanes. Fletcher's reward was $300, and Lewis picked up $200 as the runner-up.
David Gangloff was in the chase until the end, finishing third with 1,056 pins in the no-tap format where first shots that down nine pins in any frame count as strikes. He earned $60.
Marathon this weekend: A 10-game scratch marathon is set for this Sunday at 2 p.m. at Spring Hill Lanes. Entry fee is $50.
The winner will receive $900 of a $1,850 purse if there are at least 50 entries. Call (904) 683-7272 for more information.
Bozzo wins 500 tourney: Citrus' Shirley Bozzo rolled a 703 scratch series and led a field of 142 women bowlers June 6 at Manatee Lanes in Crystal River during a scratch no-tap tournament that brought together the Citrus, Hernando and Ocala 500 clubs.
Bowlers from the Ocala club took the next three spots. Debbie Whitten was second at 685, Dorothy Esposito came in third with 657, and Ethel Lorenz was fourth at 647.
Rounding out the top 10 were: Citrus' Bertha Podwys, fifth at 639; Citrus' Delores Desnoyer, sixth with 637; Ocala's Jeanne Vuillemot, seventh at 633; Citrus' Maryann Scruggs, eighth with 631; Ocala's Fran Miller, ninth at 628; and Ocala's June Goslin, 10th with 625.
The highest finish for a Hernando bowler was 14th place at 607 by Marlene Painter. She tied Citrus' Frances Riley.