Bowling with two of the young stars on the Professional Bowlers' Association national tour didn't intimidate 17-year-old Kim Barker of Westminster.
"Ricky Ward was funny!" Barker said. "And Tim Criss was so nice."
Barker, who has been bowling since she was 10, is active in the Young American Bowling Alliance [YABA] Saturday morning league at County Lanes and carries a 155 average; her career-high individual game is 265.
Since both her parents are ten-pinners -- mother Debby carries a 150-plus average and father Jim has a 220] -- it was natural for the teen-ager to take to the lanes.
"I do practice, sort of off and on," she said. "And my father does coach coach me some. Danny [Gaines, pro shop operator at County Lanes] drilled my ball for me."
The right-hander throws a 15-pound Teal Rhino Pro ball with "a little hook."
Those are the ingredients for tenpin success: a good coach, some practice and a properly fitted bowling ball. Now it's just necessary to put all that into action under extreme conditions. Such as bowling with the best -- members of the PBA.
With the pro bowlers in Baltimore for the Greater Baltimore Open national tour stop, Barker had the opportunity well in hand: she entered the Pro-Am event at Country Club Lanes [host center for the GBO] that preceded the nationally televised event. The Pro-Am teams a youth with three pros.
Just how did Barker handle the pressure of bowling with the best?
"Well, I thought that I'd be nervous," she said. "But I wasn't, not really. I just kind of laid back and had fun."
And then she shot her best three-game series: 200, 214 and 20 for a 615 set.
That was good enough to win the Youth Pro-Am and bring a trophy home to Carroll County.
A Long Time
That's how Woody Martin described his duckpin career.
"I've been bowling ducks since I was nine or ten years old," Martin, 74, said. "I used to set pins at the Hampstead Center right on main street where Martins Power Service is now. It burned down years a go and we used to just call it "the Center." We [the pinboys] used to get three cents a game and if there was a p6t game we wouldn't set the pins until some body threw a quarter down the lane."
The Hampstead native moved up the road to Manchester a few years ago but until January he nade the trip to Hampstead Bowling Center for his Tuesday legue night.
"And I used to bowl tenpins on Thursdays [and averaged in the 150's]," he said. "But duckpins has always been the game I enjoyed the most."
Martin is retired, after a career as a cloth cutter for Webester and Joseph A. Banks And, after almost three quarters of a century on the duckpin lanes, he's under doctors' orders not to bowl for awhile.
"I can't wait to get back on the lanes," Martin said. "But I was operated on for lung cancer in January and now I'm taking radiation treatments so the doctors have said I can't bowl anymore this season. But I'll be back in the fall."
In his career, Martin has many 400-plus sets, carries a 118 average and fired his career-high, 182, at the old Green Gables lanes on Main Street in Westminster. That 182 may not seed too high but it was thrown in the days when the pins were made of wood and there were no rubber side boards to kick the pins back onto the lanes. It was an exceptional duckpinner who could post a game in the 180s.
Now Martin is just waiting for the 1995-96 season to start so that he get back on the lanes for his 65th season.
Hampstead Lanes right on Main Street in Hamsptead is hosting Colorama every Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
Just $5.00 pays for your shoes and three games of either tenpins or duckpins and a chance to win cash prizes.