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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                     by Randy Ooney


My Nickel’s Worth                      by Randy Ooney

PBA 50


Several years ago the Island Xtreme Bowling center opened at the Treasure Island Casino in Welch, Minnesota.  The Casino and bowling center is quite a complex since the Dakota tribe opened a bingo hall in 1984. They have welcomed several CBA and MSC tournaments and also host various no tap and other events at their venue.  Now it’s time for the big kahuna, and regular tour stop of the PBA tour, in this case the PBA 50 final event of the season.  To kick off the event in style, hosts John Foss and Bob Micek slated a no tap Pro-Am event on Sunday afternoon.  Nine pin no tap is fairly fairly high scoring, however on the PBA Cheetah pattern it can be a little more challenging.  It was a learning experience to watch all of the pros post high scores while many of us amateurs were looking at splits and 7 pin counts.  Not healthy leaves in a no tap game. 


What WAS highly impressive was the friendly attitude of the PBA’s two biggest stars over the past thirty years, Walter Ray Williams Jr., and Pete Weber.  We arrived early and Walter was trying to practice in the time set aside for all of the pros.  But of course, Walter would maybe toss a ball or two, and then get interrupted by spectators for a few autographs and photos.  I plead guilty.  CC and I were a couple of the interrupters and Walter graciously signed a copy of a “My Nickel’s Worth” column that I had prepared from last January.  I also handed him a copy which he stored for later.  Who knows? He may be reading this column next week.


About a half hour before the tournament began, number 14, Kent Hrbek showed up.  Kent is a decent bowler in the Celebrity League, formerly at West Side Lanes, however he said he was on the bowling DL for this tournament.  He signed about 200 autographs in the next half hour, but he really didn’t even look up when I presented a 1987 World Series program and limited edition 1987 6” team photo pin.  I guess if you sign 40,000 autographs in your lifetime, the items all look the same.  But thank you Treasure Island for the heads up that he would be there so I could bring appropriate items.


Let the bowling begin.  Nothing to brag about here, as I mentioned before the PBA pattern allowed me only a mediocre game and a very poor one.  The pros rotate each game, and getting ready for game three, Pete Weber showed up to partner with us.  I have to say, I was never much of a fan in the past but I totally have changed my attitude.  Pete was asked by over 50 people to sign an autograph or have a picture taken while he was bowling game three.  He signed them all, posed for the pictures, and thanked people for asking.  In addition he carried on a conversation with the players on our pair of lanes.  All the while, he managed to shoot a 267 score, and I don’t remember too many 9 pin strikes.  I recovered from a lousy second game to shoot 280.  We were partners and not bowling against each other so it does not go into Pete’s loss column, (but I put it in my win column when I got home.)


Thank you, Treasure Island for your contribution to the bowling world of Minnesota!




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