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Veteran takes roll down memory lane

By PHIL GULICK

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 9, 2001


Paper cuts, blurred vision and aching arms once were an occupational hazard for Maddie Dalrymple, the longtime secretary-treasurer of the St. Petersburg Women's Association.

"Not any more," Dalrymple said from her one-room office on Park Boulevard.

"Now, we have better computers with the new WinLab program that handles most of our paperwork," she said. "However, we still do some shuffling."

A friend invited Dalrymple to an association meeting after she and her husband, Dave, moved to Pinellas County from Massachusetts in 1967. Dalrymple was elected a director. In 1972, she became secretary-treasurer -- a post she has held since.

"I wasn't a bowler when we moved here, but I started at the old Bowlarama (now defunct) then moved to Sunshine Bowl," Dalrymple recalled.

She got into the sport strong enough to win a city team championship in the 1980s. Last month, Dalrymple received her 30-year WIBC attendance plaque at its national convention in Fort Lauderdale.

Typically, bowling association jobs are filled by people who feel qualified and want the positions. After a few years, some tire of the work, move away or lose interest, and replacements are voted in.

Not so with Dalrymple.

"I've never been bored by the job and never wanted to quit," she said. "There is so much to do, so many fine people to work with and so much change that there's no time to be bored."

Dalrymple has served a number of association presidents -- Marge Carver, Dot Leigh, Helen Mueller, Carolyn Johnson and Carver again, the current president.

"Our people come and go, but we have many long-serving board members and even longer active bowlers in our association," Dalrymple said.

After Dalrymple took her post, she was in charge of more than 5,000 association members.

She had to shuffle papers when membership eventually grew to more than 7,000 and computers weren't as efficient. Association membership now is around 2,500.

"There may be many reasons for the membership decline, but I think one of the main ones is that both family members have to work today or the mother has to stay home with the kids," Dalrymple said.

"Working long hours or tending the kids is a heavy load for mothers and, since most centers don't have child-care facilities, bowling's out."

The association is responsible for eight centers in lower Pinellas County, losing Skyway Lanes, which closed last week.

One of Dalrymple's pleasant chores last season was issuing 300-game awards to Lori Bruckner, Lisa Heym, Renee Miller and Melissa Reeves.

"It makes the job more worthwhile when you see our bowlers reaching such a high level of skill and achievement," Dalrymple said.

HUGE SURPRISE: League director Jan Tremel had no idea how many bowlers would enter Jan and Scotty's Mixed Doubles Tournament recently at Dunedin Lanes, but 89 folks went to the boards.

If the $1,827 prize fund wasn't enough to draw players, then the fun of the competition and the camaraderie were.

That many bowlers turning out for a house event is testimony to the game's continued attraction to open, recreational and league bowlers and a tribute to owner Helen Smith's dedication to her center.

Judy Walton and Jim Hintz won the tourney with a 1,435 pinfall and split the $400 payoff.

Sharon Steinbarger and Rich Begtrup were second by a pin and earned $260. Janet Hardy and Frank Cushman finished third for $210, and the purse provided payoffs to 11th place.

House tournaments are a staple of every center in the area, adding spice to the long 35-week regular league schedule and providing lineage and refreshment income for proprietors.

No-tap, Scotch doubles and charity events are profitable in-house attractions. Touring club events such as NABI, traveling youth tourneys, the Florida Bowlers Club and NCBA contribute added attractions and income to a center's schedule.

Proprietors Keith Nichols at Countryside Lanes and Kevin Krauss at Seminole Lanes book larger attractions, such as the PBA regionals and Florida Queens and the ABCBrunswick World Team Challenge, respectively.

The state high school tournament is booked in Pinellas County next year, and proprietors are working on other major events.

ABCWIBC UPDATE: This season, for the first time, players who sanction under the ABCWIBCYABA banners will receive their cards by mail -- not from league secretaries.

The new move is designed to save money.

Bowlers are asked to legibly fill out every blank on the sanction application and return it to their league secretaries. The applications are forwarded by computer to ABC headquarters, and the cards are returned to the bowlers by mail.

The ABCWIBC National Mixed Championships has folded after 11 years.

The tournament was moved so many times that it irked many of its prospective entrants, and lack of interest finally killed it.

Joyce Deitch, Las Vegas, will retire at the end of her term as WIBC president next July. She served the WIBC for 29 years in various board positions.

The ABC will conduct the richest Masters Tournament in the event's 52-year history next January at National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

The double-elimination, match-play tourney will guarantee $350,000 in the prize fund.

AROUND THE LANES: Dunedin's Bob Belmont, a seven-time winner of the Florida All-Star Match-Play Championship, has moved to Las Vegas to be closer to the high-rollers' action. ... Clearwater's Billy Finocchi, recently inducted into the Suncoast Association Hall of Fame, has moved to the Miami area. ... Skyway Lanes is closed. Like Largo Lanes, Skyway will be auctioned off to the highest bidder later this month. ... Scores may be submitted to the e-mail address below, by fax at (727) 392-3481 or by mail to 8495 Magnolia Dr., Largo, Fla. 33777. The deadline is Wednesday mornings.

- Phil Gulick can be reached at xerxes8@msn.com.

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