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Local tournament includes PBA star

Published July 28, 2006

Darryl Dempsey, Widmar Vargas, Lou Crispiano and Bob Smolka have qualified. Walter Ray Williams, well, he's just flat-out exempt.

For the second straight year, the area's best amateur bowlers and a handful of the nation's best pro bowlers will drop in on Liberty Lanes in Largo for the St. Petersburg Open on Aug. 18-20. And once again, Williams will be the main draw.

He has earned more than $3-million on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour and won last year's $3,000 first-place prize at Liberty in the inaugural event, which is part of the PBA South Regional Tour.

Williams, 46, made just $25 in his first year on the tour in 1980, but a lot has changed for the dead-eyed kid out of Stockton, Calif., since. Along with being the all-time earnings leader, Williams is tied with the legendary Hall of Famer Earl Anthony with 41 career titles, and his seven major titles, including last year's World Championships, trails Anthony by just one. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995, and he also now is an Ocala resident.

In 2005, Williams went 7-2 in match play with 5,139 total pins, nearly 200 better than the pack, quickly igniting interest in the brand new St. Petersburg Open. This year, it is one of just five PBA Regional tournaments in the state, and along with the New Port Richey Open at Langlo Lanes in October is part of a growing intrigue toward the area on a professional spectrum.

Using the adage again this summer, Liberty host Alex Ross called Williams the Tiger Woods of bowling.

"The field will be filled with many champions, though," said Ross, who will be expecting 128 bowlers. "Some will be regional winners, and others will be popular bowlers who have appeared on ESPN."

One of those popular bowlers will be the big and powerful right-handed Jason Hurd, 27, of Titusville, who has twice taken a national title and also owns 10 regional titles. Steve Wilson, a smooth and undersized four-time national winner from Lake Worth also will be there.

Dempsey, Crispiano both of St. Petersburg, Vargas (Riverview) and Smolka (Pinellas Park) earned their chance to bowl with the pros last month during qualifying events for local nonmember stars and will be there early in the morning of the first day, when the 12-hour qualifying round begins at 8 a.m. The field will be cut to 64 for the final day's 8 a.m. semifinal with the championship round beginning at about 11 a.m.

"That's the beauty of professional bowling," Ross said. "There will be many style variations for the local bowling enthusiasts to watch throughout the entire weekend."

If you are not content with merely watching the excitement as a fan, there are two ways you can bowl with the pros. One is Liberty's last two qualifying events, and the other is the Pro-Am that will kick off the tournament.

The qualifiers will be six games over 12 lanes Sunday and two weeks later on Aug. 13, both at 1 p.m. One out of every six players (with a $50 entry fee) will win a paid entry into the Open. Or just for fun, locals can pair up with the pros in three Pro-Am squads the day before the event.

Squad times are 4, 6:30 and 9 p.m, and there are divisions available for juniors and seniors (with a $15 entry fee) and adults (with a $35 entry fee) who want to bowl side by side with the likes of Williams.

Fans who arrive at 2 p.m. will be in time for the autograph and practice sessions.

St. Petersburg Open

WHERE: Liberty Lanes, 11401 Starkey Road, Largo. 397-3947 and libertylanes

WHEN: Aug. 18 - Autograph session 2 p.m., Pro-Am 4-9 p.m. Aug. 19 - Qualifying Round 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 20 - Semifinals 8 a.m., championship round, 11 a.m.

QUALIFERS: 1 p.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Aug. 13, $50 entry fee.

PCHSL TRYOUTS: Back to school, back to the lanes. The Pinellas County High School League has announced the tryout centers for each of the county's 17 public high schools for the upcoming 2006 fall season, which begins Aug. 24 and runs every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. until Nov. 16.

Note that all who are interested need to call their respective centers to confirm the date and time of the tryout. The list: Sunrise - Gibbs, St Petersburg and Northeast. Ten Pin - Boca Ciega and Lakewood. Twedt's - Osceola and Largo. Liberty - Pinellas Park and Dixie Hollins. Seminole - Seminole. Dunedin - Dunedin. Clearwater AMF - Clearwater, East Lake and Bayside. Countryside - Countryside, Palm Harbor U. and Tarpon Springs.

INTERNATIONAL FLAIR: Boardwalk Entertainment Center, an 80-lane facility in Orlando, has been selected to host the 2008 World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships, marking the first time this international tournament for elite youth bowlers will be held in the United States.

The 10th installment of the World Youth Championships is tentatively scheduled for late July or early August 2008. USBC Junior Team USA members are currently in Berlin for this year's tournament, which wraps up this week.

ONLINE COACH: Online right now, bowlers can watch streaming instructional videos, print out personalized lesson plans, take interactive quizzes and more. is a Web-based coaching program offering 24 hours a day access to world-class instruction from leading USBC coaches and top pro and amateur bowlers.

Subscribers pay a $49.95 annual membership fee and have access to video and audio instructional lessons based on average. Each lesson comes with a printable checklist and summary that bowlers can print and bring with them to the bowling center as a reference.

Audio lessons can be downloaded onto an iPod. Lesson content will change weekly and will cover topics such as timing, arm swing, release, lane play, the mental game and making adjustments. The site also includes a blog.

The idea behind the site is to supplement traditional on-lanes coaching from USBC-certified coaches who can be located via the "Find a Coach" option at, USBC's official Web site.

Eric Muskatevc can be e-mailed at


Dunedin Lanes - Bob Eggert 748, Errol Weaver 736, Dennis McIntosh 667, Paul Cameron 655, Ken Knapp 653, Jim Gilbert 640, Lori Smith 601. 4-game: Chris Rivera 298/993, Ron Maniscalco 980, Tom Palmer 972, Jay Clark 971, Dean Galhouse 951, Vince Dalia 948, Mark Clifton 923, Garry Gordon 910, Rich Lancaster 909, LeRoy Jensen 907, Craig Gurney 898, Dennis Blakey 890, John Feazell 888, Jerry Woodward 883, Janice Chevalier 877, Victor Montes 871.

Sunrise Lanes - Strike & Spare: Carmela Aztot 202, Dano Ho 656, Justin Veitch 694, Mike Johansen 255. Happy Seniors: Gus Wiese 223, Dieter Steiner 200, Ed Lynch 201. Commercial: Odeen Walker 264/690, Chad Sterling 673, Ron DeMillion 255, Mike Cornelison 715, Justin Veitch 676, Drew Beierlein 286/704, Gary Brunner 278/699, Scott Price 300/747. Inter-City Civic: Ken Haas 268, Kevin Ahern 265/683, Rusty Genevie 300/682, Bill Edwards 279, Lee Smith 704, Tommy Turner 254/684, Lou Misfeldt 682. Thursday Scratch Doubles: Ray Buchan 869, Keith Glasgow 933, Teresa Genevie 754, Bev Ullrich 265/879, Tom Palmer 963, Debi Kidd 214/761, Chuck Brush 268/943, Jason Scanga 842, Kristin McKee 258/821, Amanda Bowles 768, Ben Johnston 766, Paul Doyon 267/969. Sunsetters: David Jones 717, Henry Perez 656. TGIF: Gary Hampshire 664, Renee Dittmer 223/570. YABA Scratch: Kim Goldberg 203, Trevor Bordner 204, Angie Papia 188, Adam Cutter 222. Sat. Night Doubles: Allie Smith 663, David Russell 752, Jeannine Hanley 244/765. Sunday Follies: Russell O'Neal 656.

Seminole Lanes - Esperanza King 601, Steve Felsman 702, Marilyn Sullivan 247/657, Christine Srock 610, Gary Halstrom 744. Youth: Clay Crouch 601. Seminole Sport: Jim Hintz 636, Tom Johnson 650, Charlie Ludwig 607, Chris Springstead 623.

Ten Pin Lanes - Men: Bill Knowles 289/688, Todd Ruggieri 278/600, Dave Bricker 266/701, Don Vachon 265/614, Doug Catlin 259, Mike Dispenza 258/711, Paul Doyon 256/720, Tony Agostine 256/716, Pete Sahner 255/661, Smokey clark 254/640, Joe Bianco 673. Women: Kari Militello 224/609, Chris Byrne 214/507, Carey Blackwelder 211/554, Robin Hintz 520. Sr. Men: Dave O'Brien 246/614, Paul Sanner 203/538.

Twedt's Lanes (last week) - Men: Loy Pryor 752, John Hackell 300/723, Tod Janssen 668, Joe Alore 707, Ron Sullivan 652, Nick Gates 633, Rich Novomeski 664, Lance Lonsdale 657, Andy Johnson 660, Pete Nebitt 647, Bob Lawson 693, Don Signarovitz 668, Mark Misura 669, Rok Hunt 614, Chris Payne 653, Jay Taylor 703, Gysin Bardo 672, Jeff Williams 648, Bill Farren 663, Steve Trullard 622, Jim Christensen 660. Women: Gloria alore 514, Michelle Huff 579, Lanie Weaver 550, Yolanda Houston 534, Kay McAleer 523, Robyn Vogel 511, Gerda Miller 505. USBC Youth: Jake Thoma 612, Joey Alore 635, James Campbell 623, Cory Misura 623.

Twedt's Lanes (this week) - Men: Nick Gates 748, Gysin Bardo 736, Ron Sullivan 728, Jay Taylor 717, Joe Alore 716, Tod Janssen 693, Bob Hettinger 693, Lance Lonsdale 677, Dave Lawson 662, Chris Payne 661, Steve Trullard 634, Tim Coats 630, Bill Farren 628. Women: Tracy Bolton 536, Karen Burke 536, Michelle Huff 510, Melissa Lawson 508, Gloria Alore 503.

[Last modified July 28, 2006, 07:25:56]

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