Montgomery County residents Bob Davis and Doug Watkins split the $1,000 first prize from the Amateur Duckpin Tour doubles tournament at Mount Airy Lanes earlier this month.
"There are other houses closer to where I live, but I just like Mount Airy Lanes," Davis said. "It's just a comfortable place to bowl. Joe Rineer just runs a great bowling center."
Davis isn't just talking; he makes the trip from his Gaithersburg home three night a week during the winter season, bowling in the Monday Men's Majors, the Friday Mixed and the Sunday Late Mixed leagues at Mount Airy. Until last August, he had been living in St. Petersburg, Fla., and bowling tenpins.
As soon as he returned to Maryland he started bowling ducks again. The eight-year layoff didn't hurt too much: He's averaging 135 with a high game of 201 and a high set of 490. This was his first tournament since returning from Florida.
"Joe Rineer [the Mount Airy Lanes owner] keeps trying to get me to take three steps [on my approach]," Davis said. "But I'm comfortable with two steps on the approach."
That's right, two steps. Why?
"When I was a kid, my dad came home with ten duckpins and a couple bowling balls," Davis remembered. "And I set the pins up in the basement and started throwing at 'em. There just wasn't enough room for a long approach so I took two steps; now it's natural."
And it works.
His partner, Doug Watkins, works in the family garden and pet supply store, Colony Supply Center in Poolesville, and bowls in the Friday Early Mixed League on the family business-sponsored team with his father, Larry.
Doug carries a 128 with a high game of 195 and a high set of 456; Larry has a 132 average and high game and set of 237 and 535.
"I've been bowling most of my life," Larry Watkins teased, "and I've never won $500, but Doug's only been bowling about four years and he did it."
Doug Watkins threw a 433 scratch set to go with Bob Davis' 458 for a total of 891; add 84 handicap pins and the 975 total was good for first place.
"Mount Airy is just a nice to bowl," Doug Watkins said.
Sonny Dixon's attitude has always been great, but since bowling the Colorama at Hampstead Bowling Center on June 4, 1992, it's probably improved.
Dixon lives in Hampstead and works for the Postal Service in Baltimore; he carries a 123 average and prior to June 4 had never fired a 200 game.
That's been changed. Dixon finally threw that coveted hallmark score with a fine 210 duckpins game that eclipsed his previous high game of 198.
* UPCOMING SCHEDULE June 26-28: Amateur Duckpin Tour at Fair Lanes Middlesex in Baltimore County. (410) 686-2121
June 27-28: National Amateur Bowlers Inc., tournament at Terrace Lanes in Frederick; first-place guarantee of $1,000. (301) 662-2777
Through June 28: Clear Skies Duckpin Doubles Tournament at Thunderhead Lanes in Taneytown; first prize is $400. (410) 751-1750
Through Aug. 22: 3rd Annual Country Club Classic at Country Club Lanes in Baltimore; three handicap divisions; first place is a guaranteed $4,000, plus a special event each week with extra prize money and Hammer bowling balls. (410) 686-2556
Through Aug. 23: County Lanes tenpin tournament; starting times are 6, 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday; ABC/WIBC rules. (410) 857-1977 or 876-8430
July 3-31: Adult Low Scoring Bowling Tournament at Hampstead Lanes. (410) 374-6211
Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28: Adult Nine-Or-Better-Across-The-Lanes (tenpin) or Seven-Or-Better-Across-The-Lanes (duckpin)
tournaments at Hampstead Lanes. (410) 374-6211