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 since 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.
Dumal first, Hales second: Manatee Lanes' Brian Dumal and Mitch Hales of Sportsmen's Bowl had first and second place finishes in their respective divisions in the first North Suncoast YABA Classic tournament of the 1994-95 season Oct. 16 at Tarpon Lanes. The opening event drew 59 bowlers.
Dumal rolled a 782 series for six games and won D division. Hales' 1,091 score tied him for second place in B division.
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.
"The other change is that we put in a double AA division for 181-and-up averages," Giardina said. "We have 12 kids in that division now.
"We just got too big the way we were. In the finals alone last year we had 29 kids and that's not counting everybody that bowled in the tournament."
The new divisional breakdown for averages is: A 161-180; B 141-160; C 121-140; D 106-120; and E 105-and-below.
YABA-sanctioned bowlers able to verify their averages may enter tournaments for $10 each by contacting Giardina at (813) 372-1266. 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, with exact dates to be announced later, 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.
World Team Challenge: Nine of 12 spots are taken for the series of qualifiers in the World Team Challenge. Five-member teams engage in a Baker system of competition where each bowler rolls two frames.
Cost to enter is $20 per bowler per week. Cumulative pins will be tallied at qualifiers to be held each Tuesday at 10 p.m. as follows: Nov. 8 at Manatee Lanes, Nov. 15 at Parkview Lanes, Nov. 22 at Sportsmen's Bowl, Nov. 29 at Neffer's and Dec. 6 at Beverly Hills Bowl.
Bowling and fish fry: Parkview Lanes in Holder will try something new when the center holds a fish fry Nov. 5 from noon-4 p.m.
Cost will be $6, with advance purchase of tickets recommended at the center. Free bowling will be included and the menu includes: grunt, grouper, mullet, hushpuppies and possibly baked beans and/or cole slaw.