More than 1,500 women bowlers will visit the Suncoast the next three weekends to compete in the 44th annual St. Petersburg Women's Classic at a pair of Pinellas County centers.
"We have 297 teams entered, which is seven more than last year," said tournament director Lois Anderson, "so things look pretty good for a very competitive tournament."
Ten Pin Lanes in South Pasadena will host the teams while Crossroads Kenneth City Bowl will have the doubles and singles competition. The tournament opens Saturday-Sunday and continues Nov. 15-16 and Nov. 22-23.
The first teams hit the boards at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ten Pin, and a half-hour later single and doubles competitors open at Kenneth City. The centers also hosted last year's event.
All of last year's winners were out-of-county, with a Lakeland squad capturing the team title, a duo from Lake Alford winning the doubles, and Sanford's Tanni Miller rolling to the singles title with an 836 handicap series. St. Petersburg's Mighty More Pins finished third in team competition and Cathy McKinney was third in singles with an 804 series.
The tournament idea originated with Dot Leigh, Eleanor Anderson and Millie Osborne, the first two members of the St. Petersburg Women's Association Hall of Fame.
"We thought it might be a good idea to raise money for the association because we ran just a team event, so we ran sweepers and side events," Leigh recalled. "It was called the Derby Lanes Classic, after our sponsor, and we started it in 1953. I think we had only 56 teams for that first tournament. The three of us worked for a long time to make the tournament succeed, and we had the help of many fine women bowlers and volunteers."
The event started at Ten Pin Lanes and was held there continuously, except for several moves to other county centers as the field grew larger.
REBELS LEAD: Dixie Hollins' No. 1 squad increased its lead with a 113-12 record after the sixth week of the Pinellas County High School League, and Seminole High continued to roll along in the girls scratch division.
The Rebels led Gibbs No. 1 by 17 points, with Brian Halstrom turning in high scratch-game series of 279-645. St. Petersburg No. 1 was third and Pinellas Park No. 1 was fourth.
The Seminole girls improved their record to 116-10 and have not lost a point in two weeks. Kristin Poole fired a 223 and teammate Jackie Gallagher nailed a 580 series to spark the Warhawks. Boca Ciega remained in second, 26 points out, and Northeast was third.
The Boca Ciega girls took over the handicap division lead with a 90-36 mark, jumping ahead of Northeast by 15 points. Lakewood No. 2 is leading the boys handicap competition with a 81-44 record.
Largo's No. 1 team is the scratch leader in the North Pinellas League with a 64-20 mark, four points ahead of Clearwater No. 1. Tim Seward of the combined Upper Pinellas team fired the high game-series of 216-622 last week.
IN STYLE: Dennis Higgins' Stylemaster 300 tournament hits Pinellas County this month with the big one _ a $10,000, winner-take-all Thanksgiving tournament at AMF Clearwater Lanes Nov. 14-16 and 21-23. Another Stylemaster event is this weekend at Sunshine Bowl.
The winner of the handicap division of the Thanksgiving tournament earns $10,000. The open scratch and handicap doubles winners each will earn $2,000; the women's and senior division winners each will win $600. Entry fees for the $10,000 event are $49 for the handicap singles, $45 for the open scratch, $35 for the women's and senior divisions, and $16 for doubles competition.
The Sunshine Bowl event this weekend offers $1,000 for the handicap singles winner with a $15 entry fee.
Higgins this week published a disclaimer denying rumors of late or non-payments to past tournament winners. Last month, Higgins purchased the Stylemaster 300 franchise from Lou Alessi and Steve Rozell, who ran a recent tournament under the American Strike, Inc., label. Some of those winners have not been paid, and Higgins says Alessi-Rozell are responsible for those non-payments.
SCHROEDER WINS: Madiera Beach's Don Schroeder beat Pinellas Park's Judy Allen 207-206 for the NABI title and $450 Sunday at Crossroads Kenneth City Bowl. It was Schroeder's first NABI title. Allen rolled a 720 scratch series in the qualifying.
Palm Harbor's Paul Micallef was third, Temple Terrace's Godfrey Henderson fourth, and St. Petersburg's Paul Pettigraw fifth. The NABI event moves to Tampa's Crown Lanes this weekend.
AROUND THE LANES: Bob Czaplinsky rolled a 300-706, Larry Walters recorded a 299-739, Al Zalfini had a 290-720 and Ron Clemow fired a 288-815-1,049 at Liberty Lanes. John Radke rolled a 298-763 at Dunedin Lanes.