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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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Nettles said she’s honored to be joining the hall of fame.
“It’s great. I’m excited,” she said.
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.
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.
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.”
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, 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.”
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