• December 29, 2014

49-year-old Pete Weber continues to amaze

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Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 12:00 pm

I hope everyone had the opportunity to watch the Mark Roth-Marshall Holman PBA Doubles Championship on Sunday.

Pete Weber showed what he is made of in the first game of the match. Although he and Jason Belmonte didn't win, it was not the fault of PDW. The match came down to the 10th frame and Weber needed to strike out to tie Bill O'Neill and Mike Fagan. Weber stepped up and buried three perfect shots to tie and have a one-ball roll-off. O'Neill started the sudden death with a solid strike, but Belmo left two pins and handed the win to the team of O'Neill and Fagan.

I have written the praises of Weber and I also know there is a love-hate relationship with a few bowlers, but in my book, he's the greatest bowler of all time. He certainly is tough in the clutch, he's excitable and brings energy to the sport.

You only have to look at Weber's record: 36 titles, tied with Norm Duke and in third place behind Walter Ray Williams and Earl Anthony. He has nine major titles (second all-time), is one of only six bowlers to capture the Triple Crown, and needs one more Tournament of Champions title to be the only bowler to capture the Triple Crown twice.

Weber's 120 TV appearances and 107 wins are both second all-time behind Williams. He owns a PBA record 46 regional titles and is the second player in PBA history to earn more than $3 million.

At age 49, he is still winning in a career that spans 33 years.

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Mika Koivuniemi, the Finland star living in Hartland, Mich., and Shannon Pluhowsky of Kettering, Ohio, added to their 2011 success by being selected male and female Bowlers of the Year by the Bowling Writers Association of America. Koivuniemi received 30 of 63 first-place votes to total 192 points and finish ahead of two-handed Australian sensation Jason Belmonte.

Pluhowsky earned 29 of 68 first-place votes and finished with 182 points, just 21 ahead of Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y.

Koivuniemi won three tournaments in 2011, the PBA Tournament of Champions and World Tenpin Bowling Association World Bowling Tour's Brunswick Ballmaster Open and World Bowling Tour Finals. He placed second in the U.S. Open and third in the Bayer United States Bowling Congress Masters.

Pluhowsky, a member of the USBC Team USA, dominated the WTBA World Women's Championships in September in Hong Kong. She won gold medals in the doubles (with Johnson), trios (with Stefanie Nation and Shannon O'Keefe) and team (with Johnson, Nation, O'Keefe, Kelly Kulick and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard) events before rolling 300 and 299 games to help her beat Singapore's Daphne Tan three games to one in the best-of-five Masters championship match. She also earned a bronze medal in all-events.

The left-hander placed sixth in the U.S. Women's Open in Euless, eighth in the USBC Women's Championships Diamond/Classic singles and ninth in Diamond/Classic all-events.

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According to Bowlers Journal International, after years of negotiation and planning, a new bowling center, Splitsville, is scheduled to open in Downtown Disney's West Side this fall. The 45,000-square foot Orlando venue will be situated in the old Virgin Megastore building and will feature 30 lanes spread over two floors, as well as billiards and music.

The company has opened locations in south Miami, north Dallas and Fredericksburg, Va. The company plans to open approximately one new location per year for the next several years.

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Shenaniganz in Rockwall has been named Best Bowling Anchored Center by Tourist Attraction & Parks Magazine, and Foundations Entertainment University. It was one of 11 Excellence in Family Entertainment Center awards presented at the annual Amusement Expo in Las Vegas.

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ABC/USBC Hall of Famer Bill Lillard of Houston added another milestone to his résumé when he made his 65th consecutive ABC Tournament/USBC Open Championships appearance at the Baton Rouge River Center.

The 84-year-old righthander is the event's active pinfall leader, and posted a 1,489 all-events total to inch closer to career pinfall leader and fellow Hall of Famer Joe Norris, who knocked over 123,770 pins in a record-tying 71 tournament appearances. Lillard now has a career pinfall total of 120,015 (a 199 average), and trails Norris by 3,755 pins.

It didn't take long for Lillard to find success on bowling's biggest stage. In 1956, he became the first of three bowlers in the tournament's history to collect four titles in the same year (Ed Lubanski in 1959 and Mike Neumann in 1990 are the others) when he claimed the Regular Team, Regular Doubles, Regular All-Events and Team All-Events titles.

He also was a Regular Team and Team All-Events winner in 1955, and added Classic Team victories in 1962 and 1971.

Lillard is one of two bowlers enshrined in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco.

See you on the lanes.

Contact Don Wright at wrightdk@hot.rr.com

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