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January 2, 2020 - 8:24am

USBC to implement 'tiered' lane certification program; Scratch Memorial is this weekend

posted by Mike Pettinella in Bowling.

Just reported:

Matt Slocum of Perry finished in second place in the annual Mike and Ruth Rose scratch tournament at Bowl-A-Roll Lanes in Rochester on New Year's Day.

"Strapper" (as he is known) lost by one pin to PBA member Jason Sterner, 212-211, in the title match, but still earned $1,000 for his efforts.

Sterner won $2,000, while Rochester's Dave Werner placed third for $500 and Buffalo's Pete Maduri was fourth for $350.

The tournament drew 250 entrants.

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For many years, Genesee Region USBC Director Jerry Davis has performed lane inspections as required by the United States Bowling Congress.

When he heard at the end of November that the USBC would no longer compel local association personnel to conduct these annual check-ups, his first thought was one of relief – not surprising, considering that crawling onto the lanes and pin decks to make sure everything is level and within guidelines is quite strenuous.

What the USBC’s Equipment Specifications Committee has determined – after collecting and analyzing much data – is that the current lane inspection process is not working.

“Very few centers actually meet 100 percent of the current specifications,” said Andrew Cain, committee chairperson during a conference call with the media last month. “At the end of our analysis of the data, it is apparent that the current model does not work, and our stakeholders – local associations, proprietors and technical consultants -- are guiding us to a better program.”

That program is a “tiered center certification” plan that will be fully developed over the next year, with final details scheduled to be announced at the 2021 USBC Convention.

Until then, bowling centers will have a grace period for two years -- no inspections necessary and no fees for inspections due for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. After that, all lane inspections will be performed by a national USBC inspection team.

Noting that the change is “quite the paradigm shift for us,” Cain reported that the USBC:

-- Will enlist a team of paid national inspectors that will be accountable to the national governing body;
-- Will publish the centers’ tier ratings (for example, Tier I, Tier II, Tier III) to get this information directly into the hands of membership;
-- Will not force proprietors to make repairs, but are banking on the owners’ desire to want to make the necessary improvements;
-- Will work over the next year to formulate operational details and “will make it the best it can be” prior to the announcement at the 2021 USBC Convention.

Some of the questions that came up during the conference call, which also included USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy and other USBC officials, focused on whether local associations were going to be phased out and what went into the Equipment Specifications Committee’s decision.

Murphy said there is no truth to rumors that the USBC is looking to eliminate local associations.

“We value our local associations and always have,” Murphy said, adding that the USBC has been proving that by offering Association Leadership Academy training for local association leaders at no charge.

Danny Speranza, senior director with the USBC Equipment Specifications team, said that “spot checking” was conducted by the USBC at nearly 4,000 bowling centers covering 85,000 lane beds in 2018 and at 3,300 centers covering 70,000 lane beds in 2019.

The outcome was that the USBC found a large discrepancy from the data reported by the local associations – and that very few centers met all specifications.

It is unknown at this time whether a bowling center’s tier ratings will be tied into bowler average classifications (regular, classified or sport), but that is a probable assumption.

Most local associations have their own inspection tools, which cost hundreds of dollars, and now are wondering what to do with them. That’s a question that Davis asked in communication with other Genesee Region USBC officers and directors.

The USBC is offering a buyback program to offset some of the cost for inspection equipment purchased since 2017, but that doesn’t help the Genesee Region USBC, which bought its equipment several years ago.

So, probably the best answer to that question is to hold on to everything for now and have the tools available for local bowling center proprietors that may want to check their lanes on their own or take tape readings to measure the amount and placement of oil on their lanes.

TWO ‘FRIENDS OF BOWLING’ PASS AWAY ON CHRISTMAS

Two people who had a positive impact upon the local bowling scene for many years have passed away.

Carmella “Millie” (Mortellaro) McVay, 82, and Henry “Hank” Valerych, 92, left us on December 25th. It’s sort of ironic that they died on Christmas Day since they embodied such a “spirit of giving.”

Millie co-owned Joe’s Pro Shop & Trophies since 1975 (which is now operated by her son-in-law, Marty Hein). She always had a smile on her face and a plate of goodies on the table at the Ellicott Street store.

I remember fondly as she and her late daughter, Kathie, assisted the youth bowling program at Mancuso Bowling Center while I was the manager there, and worked tirelessly to churn out the trophies for all the participants.

She retired several years ago to a quiet yet active life, focusing on her loving family that included nine grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. And no matter where I would run into her, she always was ready to offer a hug and a good word.

Hank simply was the engine that powered the charitable giving arm of the Arc of Genesee Orleans, helping those with developmental disabilities by chairing the organization’s membership drive, and Bowl-A-Thon and bowling tournament.

An estimated half-million dollars were raised through Hank’s efforts, much of that through the Bowl-A-Thon. Like clockwork, Hank would travel to Mancuso’s and the other Genesee County bowling centers each year, explaining how the Bowl-A-Thon worked, signing the kids up, collecting the pledges and awarding the trophies to the top fundraisers.

He never pushed, but was very effective. His obituary said it best, “He was a quiet, gentle man, but a force for change, love and respect.”

Speaking for the bowling community, our heartfelt condolences to the families of Millie and Hank.

OAK ORCHARD TO HOST SCRATCH MEMORIAL THIS WEEKEND

Kevin Gray Jr. of Warsaw will attempt to defend his title this weekend as the 66th Genesee Region USBC Scratch Memorial Tournament unfolds at Oak Orchard Bowl in Albion.

Gray, 38, defeated Rich Wagner of Batavia in a battle of left-handers last year for the title at Livingston Lanes in Geneseo.

Also signed up to bowl is Kevin’s father, Kevin Sr. of Honeoye Falls, who placed first in the Christmas Eve (morning) tournament at Domm’s Bowling Center in Rochester. Kevin Sr. rolled 268 and 220 in qualifying and went on to win four matches for the $700 top prize.

Frank Jarkiewicz of Byron and Julianna Allis of Medina also cashed, with Allis’ earning going into her SMART scholarship account.

Qualifying squads are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday (and will be done before the Buffalo Bills game at 4:35 p.m.) and 10 a.m. on Sunday, with the semifinals and finals to follow. Re-entry is allowed.

The scratch singles event offers a $1,000 first prize (based on 80 entries) and features competition on two different oil patterns -- a 40-foot "Challenge" pattern during the qualifying rounds and a 45-foot "Challenge" pattern during the semifinals and finals.

The entry fee is $55. To enter, give me a call at 585-861-0404 or send an email to [email protected].

TOURNEYS SET FOR CALEDONIA, ALBION, LE ROY, MOUNT MORRIS

Raiders Lanes in Caledonia, Oak Orchard Bowl, Mount Morris Lanes and Le Roy Legion Lanes will be running tournaments this month.

-- The 6th annual Genesee Region USBC Adult-Junior Doubles handicap tournament will take place on Jan. 10-12 at Raider Lanes. Squad times are 7 p.m. on Jan. 10, noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 11 and noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 12. The entry fee is $45 per team. Competition will be held in two divisions -- 12 & under and 13 & over. Contact Tom Fluker at [email protected].

-- The 8th annual Scott Whittier Memorial 3-person handicap no-tap tournament is set for Saturday, Jan. 11 at Oak Orchard Bowl with squad times at 1, 3, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Entry fee is $60 per team and first place is $600. Call 585-589-6900 after 6 p.m. to sign up.

-- The 42nd annual Mount Morris Pepsi Open scratch singles tournament is scheduled for Jan. 17-19 with qualifying squads at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 17, 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Jan. 19. Finals are set for 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 19. Entry fee is $70 ($55 re-entry fee). Call 585-658-2540 to enter.

-- The Help-R-Heroes 4-person handicap no-tap tournament is slated for Jan. 24-26 at Legion Lanes, with squad times at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24, noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 25 and noon and 3 p.m. on Jan. 26. First place, based on 40 teams, is $1,000 and the entry fee is $100 per team. Call 585-409-0459 to sign up.

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