The Amateur Bowlers Tour tournament attracted 245 bowlers from the Baltimore-Washington area for $4,165 in prize money March 1, 2 and 3 at Fair Lanes Ritchie in Glen Burnie.
The final match was between Johnny Gibson of Baltimore and Gerry Fleming of Washington. Fleming closed out the game with eight strikes for a 258 and the $1,200 first prize.
"The best series I've ever had was today," Fleming said. "Games of 226, 259 and 258."
That's a 743 set. Not bad for a guy with a 192 average, whose career-high game is 279.
Fleming, 26, has been bowling for about 12 years and is in the Tuesday Metro Mixed Trio League in the Silver Hill center and the Parkland center's Thursday Jetta Mixed League. This year, he graduated from the University of Marylandwith a degree in economics.
"(Bowling) is a lot of fun," Fleming said. "And a guy can make a lot of money out here even if he's not a professional."
Spoken like a true economics major.
Marc Skier, the new manager at Fair Lanes Ritchie knows a little bit about the economics of the bowling industry. Skier just arrived from the Denver area last month, but he's been associated with bowling for over 30 years, since he was a youngster in Chicago.
He lives in Pasadenaand bowls in the DRS Classic league at Fair Lanes Southdale where hecarries a 215 average. That average is down about eight pins from last year when he was a member of Team USA.
"I'm extremely happy to be here in Glen Burnie," Skier said. "I want everyone to know that I'm available to help them with their bowling, no charge."
It's not every day that a bowler Skier's caliber offers free lessons. How goodis he? How about 10 300 games? How about two 800 sets, the highest one a 818? How about 26 strikes in a row for two 300 games back-to-back on Dec. 20?
Just to put a little icing on the cake, Fair Lanes Ritchie has just finished some serious remodeling with new ball returns, AMF Accu-score scorekeepers and more lighting in the parking lot.
"I want to create a family fun place for bowlers," Skier said. "A place where the whole family can enjoy themselves."
How many bowling centers are lucky enough to have a master chef in charge of the snack bar? Try Fair Lanes Ritchie.
Scott Briggs, the new assistant manager of operations, food and beverages, has been at Ritchie for just two weeks since leaving Fair Lanes Southwest.
"I was lucky to have a person like George Zalinskas teach me about a bowling center," Briggs said. "I learned a great deal from George."
Briggs has been bowling tenpins for just four weeks and is using a house ball inthe Big Bucks Monday Night League at Ritchie. It wouldn't be fair todiscuss the average of a guy who's been bowling tenpins for that short a time, but Briggs said that he probably will never bowl duckpins again.
Oh, yes, about the chef. Briggs was the chef at the Baltimore General Dispensery for two years, spent three years at the Snooks Bay Side Restaurant in Key Largo, Fla., before moving to New Orleans to train at the Cajun Art Institute. He left New Orleans to come to this area.
"Customer service is what I think is the most important part of any business," Briggs said. "I look forward to providing thatservice for the bowlers at Ritchie."