Vince Ringgold almost made good on his prediction.
"Vince told me that sooner or later he's going to break the house record for a three-game set," said Starr Abend, manager of Thunderhead Lanes Westminster.
That three-game record, of 711, is held by Mark Click. On Oct. 23, in the Dirty Dozen League, Ringgold threw a 231 game, followed by a 222 and then came back with a big 257 game for a three-game series of 710.
Ringgold, a Westminster resident, is a technical support supervisor at Copley Systems in Columbia, Howard County, and has been bowling tenpins in earnest for two and a half years. He already has a high game of 297 to go with a high set of 714 (at Thunderhead Taneytown) and 710 sets.
If you're wondering, the last ball of that 297 game was in the pocket; it just didn't have enough on it to blow the pins away.
As so many folks did, Ringgold started out bowling duckpins before switching to tenpins.
His average is 190 and he says, "Bowling is a sport for all ages, for everybody and I think that everyone should enjoy.
"I have met some fantastic people, especially the people at Taneytown Lanes." In addition to the Dirty Dozen League, Ringgold bowls in the Friday Night Mixer at Thunderhead Taneytown.
He does all his bowling with a 16-pound Hammer ball and doesn't see any need to have more than one bowling ball. Since he finished 19th in the Carroll County Championship last year and has done well in several tournaments, I think he may be on to something: just use one ball, but use it right.
Michele Smith uses a somewhat lighter bowling ball -- 11 pounds -- but that seems heavy enough to do the job. Saturday, in the Youth League at Thunderhead Westminster, Michele had games of 184, 167 and a 163 for 514, her first 500 set.
She's a 16-year-old junior at Liberty High School with letters in softball, where she plays outfield and bats more than .500.
She lives with her father and mother, John and Betty Smith, in Eldersburg. While her dad coaches softball, he says, "I don't try to coach Michele in bowling."
Michele has thrown a 211 game and is averaging more than 140 in the Youth League on Saturday mornings. She pulls As and Bs in school and would one day like to be a teacher.
Last year at the Maryland State Young America Bowlers Association tournament in Taneytown, she was part of the doubles team that took the Junior Girls Double crown.
*, Another resident of Eldersburg did some fine bowling Oct. 20 in the Saturday Youth league at Brunswick Normandy Lanes in Howard County. 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 attends the third grade at Eldersburg Elementary and has only been bowling one year.
He says, "One day I'm going to be a professional bowler."
He throws an eight-pound Mickey Mouse bowling ball and has a 78 average with a high game of 101 and a high series of 286.
His mother Terry says, "Adam just likes to bowl."
Ron Abend was only a little older than Adam McDonald when he started bowling; 16 years ago he was 9 and he's been with the sport ever since. His sister, Starr Abend (a pretty fair bowler herself),says, "He's pretty good."
Ron has a 195 average in the Wednesday Night Men's League at Thunderhead Westminster. That's the only night he bowls; he does try to get a practice session once a week.
He's had a 286 high game and recently had games of 226, 240 and 225 for a 691 series, a career high.
"The league I bowl in is very competitive and that's what I like about it. I enjoy the competition," Abend says.
"And I'm trying to get Dana, my wife, interested in the game. She's not bowling yet but I got her bowling shoes so it's just a matter of time."
Tournament news: County Lanes First Annual Singles Classic will guarantee $750 for first place in the Handicap Division and $500 for the Scratch Division.
The first tournament took place Friday and the next will be this Friday with squad times at 9:30 and 11 p.m. Others will follow on Nov. 16 and 23.
Saturday dates will be Nov. 10, 17 and 24; squad times at 1, 3, 5, 8 and 10 p.m. Sunday dates will be Nov. 11, 18 and 25; times at 10 a.m., noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Information: 876-8430.
* The Amateur Bowling Tour tournament will be at Bowl America Reisterstown Nov. 10 and 11. Information: 833-3440.