Spring Hill's Larry Cassera isn't getting rich on the PBA Senior Tour, but the travel to events and friendships generated mean more than money to the native of Glens Falls, N.Y.
"I enjoy touring," Cassera said. "I play golf with Dick Weber, Gene Stus, Dave Davis and Dave Soutar and there's a lot of camaraderie.
"We don't go on tour to make a lot of money. I've made $9,300 this year but it probably cost me close to $6,000 when you figure in expenses for my (34-foot Pace Arrow) motor home and entry fees."
Cassera, 60, and his wife Mary Ann moved to Spring Hill in June after living for eight years in Fort Myers. A regular on the PBA Senior Tour since 1984, Cassera has put more than 12,000 miles on his motor home this year driving to 13 tournaments around the country.
A third-place finish at the state seniors tournament May 8 began an itinerary which has included stops in: Jackson, Mich.; Chicago; Lansing, Mich.; Providence, R.I.; Montreal (300 game in July and 27th place finish at the PBA Seniors Canadian Championship); Wilkes-Barre, Penn.; Springfield, Mo.; Denver and Las Vegas. Cassera cashed at every tournament except one in April, and has enjoyed three top-24 finishes.
Cassera said he normally travels alone to tournaments except in the summer when Mary Ann and grandchildren Anthony Cassera, 14, and Kimberly Cassera, 12, accompany him in the motor home. Cassera has stayed closer to home in the past two months, bowling at the PBA Senior Open in Naples Sept. 16-18, St. Petersburg Open Sept. 23-25 and Don Carter West Palm Beach Open Oct. 1-3. But he may be off to the Pacific Northwest to start the new year.
Cassera hasn't just experienced life on the road. He put down roots for periods of time during 41 years in the bowling business.
During army service in Korea from 1954-56, Cassera operated bowling centers for 13 months as part of his duties in special services. He won the Armed Forces Far East Championship in Korea in 1955.
Cassera later owned bowling centers in Glens Falls for 22 years, the Bowlers Club (now Harbor Lanes) in Hudson from 1983-86, and All-Star Lanes in Fort Myers from 1987-93.
Ditt clicks for 300: Spring Hill's Ron Ditt was center stage with a 300 game, but 18 bowlers got a share of the spotlight Oct. 17 during play in the Joni Classic League at Mariner Lanes.
Ditt, 57, opened play on lanes 15-16 with his first 300 in 34 years of bowling. He added games of 234 and 257 for a 791 series.
Ditt rolled a 290 game two weeks earlier for his best single-game effort. He said a solid-8 pin in the first frame ruined his 300 bid.
Three other bowlers rolled 700 series the same night: Kevin Williams, 793; Brian Frampton, 717; and Joe Correa, 708. Bowlers rolling series' of 600 or better included: Curtis Frampton, 699; Hank Mehl, 672; Ed Crowley, 670; Bill Schemmer, 655; Chuck Shepherd, 650; William Corbin, 645; Anita Hearl, 630; Greg Assadourian, 618; Steve Laszlo, 618; Andy Toddonio, 616; Ford Catrett, 613; William Farrell, 607; Rey Allen, 601; and Jim Levic, 600.
The perfect game for Ditt helped end the ribbing he had been taking recently from his daughter Tara, 25, who lives in Palmyra, Penn., and sports a 200 average.
"Tara had her first 300 game the last week in July and she's been putting it to me real good ever since so I guess I bore down a little harder," Ditt said. "The first thing I did when I got home was pick up the phone and call her. Every year we bowl for the higher average with the loser buying dinner."
Egor second in YABA event: Mariner Lanes' Tanya Egor rolled a 956 series for six games and finished second in the first North Suncoast YABA Classic tournament of the 1994-95 season Oct. 16 at Tarpon Lanes. The opening event drew 59 bowlers for competition in six divisions.
Two significant changes now are in effect, according to association director Joy Giardina. The first involves opening up tournaments to any YABA-sanctioned bowler, not just those from the North Suncoast.
Lane Glo North in New Port Richey will be the site for the next event Nov. 13 to be followed Jan. 22 by a tournament at Lane Glo North in Port Richey.
Tournaments in 1995 include: February at Mariner Lanes in Spring Hill, March at Manatee Lanes in Crystal River, April at Spring Hill Lanes, May at Hudson Bowl, July at Leisure Lanes in Hudson, August at Harbour Lanes in New Port Richey and the Tournament of Champions Sept. 17 at Lane Glo North.