On Friday nights, Thunderhead Bowling Lanes in Westminster is site of a No Tap Scratch Tournament at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Entry fee is $10 and the rules are simple: entering average is not to exceed 195, a person will not be eligible for more than one prize per night, the event is non-sanctioned but American Bowling Congress rules will apply.
Each night there will be a 300-game jackpot with Thunderhead Bowling Lanes contributing the first $100 for the jackpot and $1 from each entry put into the jackpot. The player must bowl four times in the tournament to be eligible for the 300 jackpot and must bowl at least six natural strikes to qualify.
Simple rules. But, boy, did they ever backfire on Dennis Frock. Frock is 19 and works for his dad's company, Frock & Sons, and bowls at three different centers in the county -- Thursday night at Hampstead Bowling Center, Friday night in the Good Times league at County Lanes in Westminster and in the Wednesday night Men's Late league at Thunderhead Westminster.
He throws a 16-pound Blue Hammer ball for a 181 average and until two years ago was a duckpin bowler. The young right-hander has a 650 set and his high game was 259 -- until one recent Friday night. On Aug. 24, in the above mentioned tournament, Frock got hot. And he didn't need any help from the no-tap part of the tournament; he threw a natural 300 game. That's the good news.
The bad news is that he was bowling in the second of his tournaments and thus didn't qualify for the 300 game jackpot. And since it wasn't a sanctioned game, he doesn't get the 300 ring and the $300 that goes with it.
But he's still able to say, with sincerity, "I like bowling just the way it is, I wouldn't change anything and I'll keep right on bowling as much as I can."
Bowling the unsanctioned 300 wasn't a complete loss; on Sept. 12, Thunderhead Lanes presented him with a plaque, at their expense, commemorating the event.
That's a class act.
* On the same night Frock was presented with his 300 game plaque, there was another award ceremony. This one involved the most coveted and difficult-to-win awards in the realm of bowling -- the triple crown.
The triple crown is for holding the high game, the high set and the high average in the same year in the same league. This is a difficult feat; there are many who don't even know the award exists because it is so rarely accomplished.
Well, winning the triple crown award is old hat to Mark Click, a Westminster bowler. He has won the triple crown twice, in 1989 with an average of 185, high game of 258 and high set of 646. In that same year, at Westminster Thunderhead Lanes, he was also bowler of the month. Now, Click has done it again at Westminster Thunderhead Lanes. He had the same 185 average, but with a high set of 708 and a high game of 268.
Click, 27, has been bowling since his teen years and plays left field for St. John's in a church softball league in which he batted .450 last year.
And he still has time to play enough golf that he scores in the low 90s.
And in addition to bowling in two leagues at Thunderhead, he stays active in the Amateur Bowling Tour in Baltimore.
Somehow, he also manages to work as an appliance repair tech with the J.J. Gloss Inc. in Finksburg.
The triple crown award this year was won while he was bowling in the Wednesday Men's Classics on the Westminster Bank and Trust team. His other league is the Monday Night Commercial.
"I really appreciate the great guys I bowl with at Thunderhead," Click said "They make bowling enjoyable. And the folks who run the bowling center always go out of their way for you. It was nice that they took the time and trouble to have a little ceremony when they presented my award."
I don't want to put any pressure on Click this coming year, but I don't think I know of anyone who has ever won three triple crown awards in a row.
* Bowling tips: To help keep your swing straight, let your elbow brush lightly against your hip as you follow through.
* Organizational information: The Baltimore Bowlers Association is the chartered local association of the National Duckpin Bowling Association.
The local association is available to answer your questions. Call Stan Kellum, secretary, at (301) 432-4883 or write: 3413 Barnsley Court, Pasadena, Md. 21122.
* Dimensions: The bowling lane is 60 feet from foul line to head pin and 42 inches wide. The approach can vary but is usually 16 feet long.