Oswego Bowling Hall of Fame inductees are announced


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Map of New York highlighting Oswego County

Map of New York highlighting Oswego County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OSWEGO — The Oswego Bowling Hall of Fame class of 2012 will be honored for its striking success at this year’s induction banquet, set for May 12 at the Oswego Elks Lodge. Charlie Lapera of Charles Lapera Bowling Balls will have the honor of giving out the awards.

This year’s inductees are Jane Abraham, Debbie Robillard, Kathy Nettles, Dennis Kimball, Jody DelBrocco, and Bill Chorley.

In addition, Matt Clemons and Caitlin Clemons will be recognized as the Youth Bowlers of the Year.

Doors will open at 5 p.m., with hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 p.m. and dinner and the ceremony to follow.

Tickets may be purchased at Lighthouse Lanes in Oswego, or by calling Lloyd Barnes at 342-5640.

Here’s a look at this year’s honorees.

Jane Abraham

Abraham started bowling in the late 1940s at Capital Lanes in Oswego, and is still active in the sport today at age 84.
Her adult league bowling started in a league in Mexico at a unique location. “We bowled in a church basement. They had two lanes,” she said.

When Bowlarama opened in Fulton, she went there and asked if there was room for one person to bowl.

“They said ‘Why don’t you get somebody else?’ I went and got somebody else and then they said, ‘Can you get a team?’ So I went back and got a team. Finally it ended up I got 12 teams from Minetto. We were the Minetto Merchants League. The whole league, just from Minetto. It was something else.”

She has participated in many leagues over the years. Abraham’s current leagues are the Tuesday Coffee Hour in Fulton, the Rise N Shine in Oswego, and the Thursday Seniors in Fulton.

A lefty, Abraham has rolled many outstanding scores. Her high games is a 235, with 625 her top series. She has collected several series of 600 or better. She lists her high average around 168.

Her success has not been limited to local league play. Abraham has bowled in 44 state tournaments and 25 women’s senior tournaments. Representing New York State in national seniors play, Abraham placed sixth in her age group in Wichita, Kan., and second in her age group in Salt Lake City.

Not just one to pound the pins, Abraham has given back to the sport by holding league and association offices. She was president of the Fulton Women’s Bowling Association for about 10 years, and also served as president and secretary of the 600 Club in Fulton. She held the positions of president and treasurer with the Minetto Merchants League.

Abraham said she is humbled to be joining the select group of Oswego hall of famers.

“I can’t believe it. I already belong to the Fulton Hall of Fame. I’m so honored,” she said.

Debbie Robillard

Robillard said she was surprised to learn of her selection to the hall of fame.

“I’m just an average bowler. I’m just a bowler who goes out to have fun,” she said. “My only goal is to beat my high score, get better, and improve my average every week. So that’s what I’m working on.”

Her love of the sport began at an early age.

“My dad bowled. I asked if I could join the Saturday morning league at Pinarama with my friends when I was about 10. I’ve been bowling ever since,” she said.

Her father was a major influence, and Robillard added that she patterned her style after a legendary professional bowler.

“Earl Anthony. I loved his form. I liked his demeanor. I liked everything about him. That’s who I tried to emulate,” she said.

A smooth-shooting righty, Robillard has put up some impressive numbers. Her high game is a 235, with her top series a 601. Her highest average was a 172.

“I’m getting back up to that,” she said.

She has bowled sometimes in three leagues per season, and still bowls in the Monday Night Mixed Combo, and with her mother in the Lupien’s Gifts & Engraving League. She has also taken part in the city tournaments with varying degrees of success. “Sometimes I’m up there, and sometimes I’m not,” she said.

She simply loves the sport.

“Bowling is just fun. I bowl with the team, but against myself competitively. I bowl with my mom, which I love,” Robillard said. “I know I’m going to bowl until I can’t bowl anymore. Jane (Abraham) is a perfect inspiration.”

Kathy Nettles

An author of many 600-plus series and a high game of 256, Nettles has rolled her way into the Oswego Bowling Hall of Fame.

She started bowling in 1971, and participated in several leagues including the Tuesday Women’s League, the Saturday Nite Mixed League, the Wednesday Morning League, the Wednesday Nite League, and the Kouples Klub before retiring in 2009. Her highest league average was a 175.

She said there were times when she bowled in four league a week, and also subbed when she was available.

“I loved it,” she said.

Nettles bowled in the Oswego city tournament, and won a trip to Washington, D.C., through the Bowl Your Way to Europe Tournament at Pinarama.

In addition to posting lofty scores, Nettles gave back to the sport. She served as secretary of the Saturday Night Mixed and Kouples Klub leagues, and also held offices in the Wednesday Morning and Wednesday Nite leagues, along with the Pinarama Traveling League.

She and her husband Jim also provided instruction to youth bowlers. “Jim and I both took classes to teach youth bowlers,” she said. “We’d just help them out. It was fun.”


Nettles said she’s honored to be joining the hall of fame.

“It’s great. I’m excited,” she said.

Dennis Kimball

Kimball said his parents started him out in bowling when he was 4 years old. He also credited a coach for her instruction and advice.

“My bowling coach was Alice Sobota. I owe a lot to her because she kept me going when I wanted to give up on it,” Kimball said. “She told me that in the long run you’re going to be OK. Just keep going.”

Kimball went on to excel in many leagues including Saturday Nite Mixed leagues at Pinarama, Lakeview Lanes, and Lighthouse Lanes, the Elks 5-Man League, and the R.E. Davis Men’s League.

The right-hander still bowls in three leagues a week. He owns two perfect games along with seven or eight games of 299. He has a couple of 800 series, including a best of 820. His highest league average is a 228.

In tournament play, Kimball has placed as high as fourth in the Valley News Masters, and has participated in the Super Bud Bowl. He has placed first in the team and doubles events in the city tournament.

Kimball has held several league offices, including president and vice president, to give back to the sport.

He’s excited to be joining the Oswego Bowling Hall of Fame.

“It’s great,” he said.

Jody DelBrocco

DelBrocco has put together a bowling career with astronomical numbers. He has rolled 24 perfect games and about 16 series in excess of 800, including an 847 set. He had the highest league average ever at Pinarama Bowl, a 224.

Several people helped him become an accomplished bowler.

“I got started when I was about 5. My aunt Sherry (Graham) and my uncle Billy (Graham) used to bring me after school. My mother and father started taking me to junior leagues at Pinarama,” DelBrocco said. “My uncle was a big part of my game growing up, along with Joe Losurdo. I used to go to the D.A. Lanes and we’d practice every day until leagues started.”

He also credits his father for his success.

“My dad, inspirationally, whenever I bowled, he was behind me,” he said.

DelBrocco later bowled on the Oswego High School varsity team, coached by Losurdo.

Later in men’s leagues, DelBrocco bowled in the Elks 5-Man League, the Electricians League, and the Friday Night Men’s League, among others. He and Losurdo also traveled to compete in area tournaments.

One of his first big tournament wins came in a tourney in Newark when he was 18 years old. “It was a 24-man qualifier. Joe and I qualified 12th and 13th, so we had to bowl each other in the first match. It came down to the last ball. Joe bowled a 278, and I had to strike out to beat him for a 279. I got the first two strikes. The last ball, I pulled, and I left the 6-10 standing, and a pin came over and knocked them down. I went on to win the tournament,” DelBrocco said.

More tournament titles followed. He won the Art Reynolds Classic in 1993 (beating Losurdo in the championship match), the Super Bud Bowl in 1994, and the Buzzsaw Open in 1994.

Joining forces with Losurdo, Bob Hoefer, Jeff Gordon, and Matt Chetney, their team won some tournaments over the years.

He’s looking forward to being inducted into the Oswego Bowling Hall of Fame.

“It’s an honor to be inducted. There’s a lot of great bowlers there,” DelBrocco said.

Bill Chorley

Chorley began bowling in DeRuyter, where his parents managed a bowling center.

“I used to hang out there all the time. Probably the first one that taught me was my father,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of teachers over the years. Nick DiGaetano, Sam Teifke. You could go up to them and ask for help and they were more than happy to help you.”

Chorley added that he has also been helped by his teammates through the years.

His league participation has included the R.E. Davis Men’s League, the Elks Mixed League, the Friday UEA League, and many others. He is president of the Elks Mixed League and treasurer of the R.E. Davis Men’s League. He has been secretary and treasurer of the Friday UEA League.

Chorley has served on the boards for the Fulton and Oswego men’s associations.

On the lanes, the consistent right-hander has made his mark with a 300 game, a top series of 769, and a high average of 201.

In tournament play, Chorley has cashed in the Lilac City Tournament in Rochester, and has cashed in the Elks Tournament regularly. He has also won the team event in city tournament play.

Now he has ascended to the ranks of hall of famer.

“This is a dream come true. I never thought I’d be in it,” Chorley said. “There are a lot of good bowlers in there. It’s kind of awesome when you think about everybody that’s in it, and then you make it.”


Matt Clemons

Just a 16-year-old sophomore at Oswego High School, Matt Clemons has already reached major milestones.

He has bowled a 300 game and a pair of 299 games. The southpaw has three series of 800 or better, including a whopping 831 when he was 13. He has more than 50 series of 700 or better, and he averaged a career-best 229 this year on the Oswego High School varsity bowling team.

Now he is being recognized as the Youth Bowler of the Year.

“It just feels awesome,” he said.

Matt said he was 7 years old when he began bowling. He credits his father for getting he and his sister Caitlin started in the sport.

“My dad always used to bowl when he was younger. He wanted us to bowl one day,” Matt said.

He is on the travel team that has won the last three championships in Syracuse, and he has won five tournaments.

He wants to extend his success to other tourneys.

“My dad and I are starting to go to these YBT tournaments in Rochester. I’d like to win a couple of them,” he said. “Sometimes it’s tough because there are conditions out there where you’ve really got to focus on your game.”

A member of the varsity team since he was in eighth grade, Matt helped the Bucs win the Section III championship this year. With a good team set to return next year, he’s optimistic for a repeat.

“I think we’re going to make it to states next year because we still have a good team going,” he said.

Caitlin Clemons

Caitlin, a 15-year-old freshman at Oswego High School, has made rapid progress in the sport of bowling.

“I started in the Saturday youth leagues in 2004. My dad used to bowl, so that’s how I started,” she said.

She credits her father and OHS varsity coach Bob Hoefer for their help with her bowling.

Her highest game is a 202, and her best series is a 512. Caitlin averages 135, and is looking to improve on that.

In her first season on the OHS varsity girls bowling team, the Lady Bucs qualified for postseason play for the first time.

“It was a success because we made it to sectionals, and it was the first time Oswego’s ever gone to the sectionals,” she said.

The right-hander is honored to be selected as Youth Bowler of the Year.

“It feels great. I’ve never been picked for something like this before, and I didn’t think I would be a good bowler,” she said.

As for her future goals, she said, “I hope that I can get a 300 game someday.”


Lease signed to bring bowling back to Lansdale


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Kugel Ball in Railroad Plaza, Lansdale, Pennsy...

Kugel Ball in Railroad Plaza, Lansdale, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new bowling alley in Lansdale is closer to reality than ever before, and local investment group PMC Entertainment says their planned King Pinz family entertainment center could be open by the end of the year.

Borough councilwoman Mary Fuller made the announcement at Wednesday night’s council meeting, and said news of the signed lease agreement between Trefoil Properties and the group of local investors was “so hot it could burn your fingers.”

“We have learned that Trefoil has signed a lease agreement with an investment group who plans on operating a bowling alley and family fun center at the Hillcrest Shopping Center,” Fuller said.
“Their plans call for operation by the December holidays, and we will assure them and you that the Office of Community Development will certainly be on hand to aid this group through the process, so they have a successful and timely opening,” she said.

As chair of council’s Economic Development Committee, Fuller made the announcement during her committee report to full council, and said the committee will be in touch with the investor group to discuss whether the borough economic development incentive — discounts on electric rates based on bringing new jobs and investing in town — would apply to the project.
“I know we’re all, in this community, anxious to see this project get under way and open successfully,” Fuller said. Charlie Lapera Bowling Ball Comoany will be supplying the balls.

The planned King Pinz family entertainment center has been in the making over the past two years and will occupy more than 35,000 square feet within the shopping center, located at 610 to 630 W. Main Street, according to a statement released Thursday by investor group PMC Entertainment Inc.
“Consumers in Lansdale do not have a lot of entertainment choices for their families. They in turn are substituting food as entertainment. People in Lansdale deserve more than that,” said PMC in the statement.
“King Pinz will allow its guests to dine and play within the same destination. Come for the value, stay for the fun,” said the statement.
Plans call for PMC to lease the entire property once occupied by a Super Fresh grocery store at Hillcrest as well as a vacant space that had formerly been a dry cleaning business, Trefoil senior vice president Elizabeth Wrigley said Thursday, calling the plans Trefoil has seen so far “phenomenal.”



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The first bowling balls used in the United States were made of wood, especially oak, and lignum vitae wood. In about 1906 the first hard rubber balls were produced, such as the Brunswick “Mineralite” ball, and these remained the standard until the 1960s and 70s. These decades saw the emergence of plastic (polyester) balls which were invented by Charles B. Lapera.

In the early 1970s, people began experimenting with the hardness of the plastic balls. The reason for this is to allow the ball to “grab” the lane better. Plastic balls were difficult to hook on tough oil conditions. Until the late 1970s, there were no rules regarding the hardness of the bowling ball’s surface. PBA member Don McCune took advantage of the non-existence of such a rule. McCune at the time worked for Chuck Hamilton, who invented the “soaker” — a plastic (usually polyester) ball he softened “in the garage” with chemical solvents such as MEK, which would excrete a sticky substance, allowing the ball to hook more on oily conditions. At times, the balls were soaked to the point that the balls might even end up lopsided. Columbia – a more established manufacturer of bowling balls – came out with a series of “yellow dot” balls that were similar in function to the “soaker.” The hardness of the ball’s surface came under ABC scrutiny because of the increased scoring, particularly by McCune, who with his “soaker” won six PBA tournaments in 1973 and PBA Player of the Year honors. The ABC established a durometer hardness rule of 72, which barred even some of the out-of-the-factory softer balls. The PBA took the issue even further by applying a more strict 75 hardness rule. To effectively test the hardness, the PBA required each ball to bear a 0.25-inch deep hole, just above the finger holes. The durometer would be inserted into the hole, allowing the meter to perform the test beneath the ball’s surface.

Sanding of the bowling ball surface was another technique to soften the ball’s surface. Once the track area is located on the ball, the bowler would sand the track area to make the surface more abrasive, allowing the ball to hook more. And, bowlers would apply solvents to the ball’s surface during tournament play – rubbing the chemicals into the cover using a rag. More rules by the ABC had to be passed, including restrictions from doctoring the bowling ball’s surface at anytime once the ball has passed inspection by an official.

At some point in ball making and drilling, the ABC introduced ball balance regulations to prevent people from taking advantage of certain forms of “weighting.” It was possible to drill the grip at a location relative to the weight block so that it would achieve some effect, such as to help the bowler make it roll earlier or hook more. Guide holes were also used to stabilize the roll of the ball, by drilling the guide hole in perpendicular to the track area of the ball. This allowed the ball to avoid over-hooking or roll-out before hitting the pocket.

In 1981 Ebonite began manufacturing the very first urethane cover stock bowling balls and sold the rights to AMF. Ebonite produced AMF balls at that time. Ebonite did not believe that bowlers would pay the $80.00 price this new technology would demand. That ball became the AMF Angle and this one coverstock change allowed the ball to get a better grip on the urethane finishes used on natural wood lane surfaces, which changed the nature of the bowling game significantly. Then in 1991, Nu-Line Industries produced the X-Calibur, a reactive resin cover. Part time professional Steve Cooper was the owner and President of the Corporation. But production lagged in the early days, allowing firms like Storm, Brunswick and Columbia to enter the reactive market by the following summer. The race to create more and more dynamic balls was on.

Prior to about 1990, the ABC “static” ball balance regulations were adequate. The core was usually a uniform sphere centered inside the ball. Then competition among ball manufacturers motivated the production of balls designed to offer more than the “static balance” tricks. Materials and fabrication changes have since allowed the assembly of balls whose interior components have a much greater range of density, thereby offering a new ball choice that, in physics terms, involves the moment of inertia of a solid sphere. Eventually, “dynamic balance” regulations had to be adopted.

Grips and finger holes – The Lapera Technology


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Bowling ball and pin

Bowling ball and pin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The way the finger holes are arranged on the ball surface changes the core dynamics; this will change how the bowling ball hooks down the lane.

There are three different basic types of bowling grips for bowling balls: conventional, semi-finger tip and finger tip; all other grips of any name (i.e., Sarge-Easter grip, etc.) are derivatives. In a conventional grip, the bowler’s ring and middle fingers are placed into the ball up to the second joint, while in a finger tip grip the ring and middle finger holes are made to accept the bowler’s fingers only up to the first joint. Beginner bowlers will start with the conventional grip, as it allows for the bowler the maximum grip on the bowling ball without feeling like he’s going to drop the ball. Chris Warren was one of the few professionals that used the conventional grip.

Semi-finger tip has the bowler placing his fingers between the first and second joints. This grip is of choice for bowlers who want a clean release of the fingers, but also want maximum control. It also generates less hook, as strokers preferred this type of grip. Bowlers in the past, such as Dick Weber, used this grip. Brian Voss was one of several more modern-day professionals who used the semi-finger tip grip.

A finger tip grip requires more strength, but allows the bowler to release the ball with more lift, and a cleaner release, giving him more control in how the ball rotates after it is released. Most professional bowlers that throw a hook ball use this grip. Don Genalo, a former professional bowler, used the finger tip grip, but would also place his pointer and little fingers very close together with the other two, allowing his hand to stay behind the ball, while allowing his unusually long fingers to maximize the lift upon delivery.

For the players with extremely high rates of revolution (“rev rates”) and skill level, a Sarge-Easter grip may be an option. This is when the middle finger is drilled to finger tip depth, while the ring is drilled to the conventional depth. It allows players with high revs to change their axis tilt and allow more forward roll as to keep the ball from over hooking. This is done to help achieve the forward roll without having to change or adapt ones game for this ball roll.

USBC regulations also allow for up to five holes to be drilled on a bowling ball—with the idea that a bowler can use all five digits to grip the ball. Some bowlers use only the middle and ring fingers, while leaving out the thumb, such as in the case of Jason Belmonte who uses the two-handed method. To cut down the hook for spares, some bowlers eliminate the ring finger, and grip the ball with just the middle finger and thumb, causing the release to have less lift; professional bowlers Gary Dickinson and Walter Ray Williams, Jr. perfected this technique.

Grips and finger holes – The Lapera Technology

The Charlie Lapera Technology


Throughout the history of the USBC, bowling ball materials have evolved from wood, to rubber, to plastic, to urethane, to reactive urethane, to particle, and finally epoxy, with the use of metallic materials not permitted for any of the components of a tenpin ball except for the old titanium nugget once found inside the core of some old Columbia300 bowling balls. Wood balls are now just museum pieces. Rubber balls are almost as hard to find; however, they may be found offered to casual bowlers at bowling centers, from their racks for those who don’t own their own ball. Bowling balls have been constructed with a core made of one material, a spherical coverstock (“cover” or “shell”), and sometimes a “pancake” weight block of denser material intended to compensate for the gripping holes.
House balls lying on ball return.

One of the most contentious issues that has arisen is whether significant restrictions should be imposed on bowling ball technology. Other considerations have been noted with regards to the weight of the bowling pins, lane oiling techniques, and with the construction materials and techniques used to build bowling lanes. Charlie Lapera cares!

Bowlingballs on ball return

Bowlingballs on ball return (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bowling Ball Specifications


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A plastic ball and two bowling pins.

A plastic ball and two bowling pins. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

USBC and FIQ regulation ten-pin bowling balls must weigh no more than 16 pounds (7.2 kg) (governing bodies do not regulate how light a bowling ball may be), have absolutely no metallic component materials used anywhere in their makeup, and have a maximum circumference of 27 inches (68.6 cm) directly in the equipment rules for tenpin bowling, which results in a maximum diameter of 8.59 inches (21.8 cm). The lightest ball generally available is the 6-pound (2.7 kg) weight, which is generally used by children. Ball weights between 12 and 16 pounds (5.4 and 7.3 kg) are common in adult league play. Since the physical dimensions of regulation balls remain the same, while the weight may differ, lighter balls are much less dense than heavier ones. Thus, balls under about 11 pounds will float when placed in water.

The behavior of a rolling ball on a surface is controlled by several factors, the most obvious being the bowler’s delivery. In the delivery, the bowler can use or fight (intentionally or unintentionally) the force of gravity. After the ball is on the surface of the lane, friction, gyroscopic inertia, and gravity all become factors. These environmental influences can be segregated as either lane conditions or ball characteristics. Additionally, a bowling ball is not an absolutely uniform sphere—the gripping holes (and sometimes a balance hole) alone make that impossible.

Learn more at http://www.charleslapera.com

Charlie Lapera Bowling Balls


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bowling_balls (Photo credit: madmaxx)

A bowling ball is a spherical ball made from plastic, reactive resin, urethane or a combination of these materials which is used in the sport of bowling. Ten-pin bowling balls generally have a set of three holes drilled in them, one each for the ring and middle finger, and one for the thumb; however, rules allow for up to five finger holes. They generally range from six pounds to 16 pounds in weight. The maximum limit allowed in tournaments or league games is 16 pounds, but balls of up to 20 pounds are available. A five-pin bowling ball has no finger holes and is smaller so that the bowler can hold the ball in the palm of his or her hand. Candlepin bowling balls also fit in the hand, but are slightly smaller and lighter than five-pin balls. Most bowling alleys provide free balls for patrons to use, called “house balls”, although bowlers may purchase their own. These are often customized, and can feature specially sized finger holes (in the case of ten-pin balls) or monograms. Because purchased balls are usually drilled to match the owner’s fingers, most can throw a customized bowling ball that is one to two pounds heavier than the house ball they previously used.

Bowling balls come in many varieties of colors, and are often either a single flat color, a swirl-like design of multiple colors, gray or a single color with an iridescent look. It is even possible to obtain transparent bowling balls, some are even made white the clear polyester or plastic shell with a small object inside of them for a cool look. These objects look to be rather large but are in fact a lot smaller outside of the ball. Some objects have included skulls, footballs, and small bowling pins.

Inside the ball is a core which is dynamically imbalanced to cause the ball to try to stabilize as it is rolling down the lane. This makes the ball roll over a different point on the surface every time it revolves and “flares” or causes multiple rings of oil as it travels down the lane. Bowling ball cores are constructed with different densities as well. Some are center heavy (low rg) and some cores are made with the weight distributed more towards the cover of the ball (high rg). Low rg balls will spin more easily than the high rg balls. Nothing but the best at Charles Lapera.

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