On Oct. 12 and 13, the Amateur Bowlers Tour sponsored a tournament at Brunswick Normandy. The ABT runs a tournament most weekends in the Baltimore-Washington area, with an average of more than 200 bowlers taking part.
The Baltimore Amateur Bowlers Tour has been in operation since September 1986; the Washington division of ABT, since January 1987.
Each tournament has a minimum guaranteed prize fund of $3,000. The ABT is limited to bowlers who have not averaged more than 189 in the past five years.
Semifinalists' bowling balls must be checked for weight and hardness after the qualifying round. Any bowling ball that fails to meet the ABC requirements will be disqualified.
One dollar from each entry plus all fines collected for infractions of the rules goes into the special year-end Super Bowl tournament.
To become eligible for the Super Bowl, a bowler must have participated in 10 tournaments in the Washington division by the end of November. For the Baltimore division, a bowler must have met the requirement no later than the first week of December.
All ABT bowlers are handicapped a minimum of 70 percent of the difference between their average when they join, and 70 percent of their tournament average after they bowl 21 or more tournaments. A floating handicap system is used after a bowler has established his or her tournament average and bowled three additional tournaments.
The Amateur Bowlers Tour features the unique "re-entry squad." It gives each qualifying round participant an additional chance to reach the semifinals by tying or beating the final qualifying cut score.
Hypothetically, each bowler who competes that weekend can cash.
The format is the same one that the professionals follow: a four-game qualifier, a three-game semifinal and the four-game step-ladder finals.
Lloyd Price handles things for the Baltimore ABT. He's been bowling for a long time and is a two-time ABT champion, once at Perry Hall and again at Bel Air Bowl. Price carries a 180 average in the two leagues he bowls in, has a high game of 289 and a high series of 732. There you have it, a tour director who is an average bowler just like the folks who bowl in the tournaments.
Emmett Seeney runs the ABT in Washington, and you'll find the same dedication to bowling in him as you will in Price. Seeney's average is 175.
He's rolled that coveted 700 set (734) and a 290 game.
The next ABT tournament will be conducted at Fair Lanes Timonium Nov. 3 and 4. The Timonium center is on York Road, north of Towson and just across the road from the Maryland State Fair Grounds.
At Normandy Lanes on Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Youth Leagues, we had a couple of outstanding scores.
In Division I of the All-Star Varsity League, Adam McDonald, 8, was awarded the All-Star Varsity Bowling plaque for being 64 pins over his average.
Adam is a resident of Eldersburg and attends the third grade at Eldersburg Elementary School. He's been bowling for only a year but says, "One day I'm going to be a pro bowler."
He throws an 8-pound Mickey Mouse bowling ball; with it he has maintained a 78 average with a high game of 101 and a high set of 286.
His mother, Terry, says, "Adam just likes to bowl." And that is what the sport is all about, just having fun. But it can't hurt to want to turn professional.
On the same day in the same youth league, Chris Stewart, who lives in Elkridge with his parents, Brenda and Kenneth, received a plaque for bowling 140 pins over his average. Chris, who is in the seventh grade at the Grace Bible Baptist School, uses three bowling balls: a 10-pounder, a 12-pounder and a 15-pounder. For the future he has a 16-pound Cobra that Pete Weber, the great touring professional, gave him last year at the Professional Bowlers Association Open in Woodlawn.
He has a high game of 175, a high set of 477 and is averaging 124.
What is he aiming for in the future? Just one thing:
"I'd like to be partners with Pete Weber in the Pro-Am when the professional tour returns to Baltimore."
The other weekly winner in the Youth League was Clyde Bradley; he bowls in the Senior Division and was a nifty 114 pins over his average.