Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
Pro bowlers return to Coldwater this weekend
By Gary R. Rasberry
After a successful debut last year, the Lefeld Implement Classic bowling tournament returns to Coldwater's Pla-Mor Lanes with expectations of having top Professional Bowlers Association stars and fans attending the event which gets underway Friday with practice and Pro-Ams.
Last year, the tournament was held in August on the same weekend as the annual MDA Softball Tournament, but a large crowd attended all sessions and a solid crowd attended the finals, where Brian Waliczek beat Jeff Zaffino 277-159 in the championship match to win the inaugural trophy and $4,000 first-place check.
Pla-Mor Lanes co-owner Rick Hartings, is excited about bringing this PBA Central Region event back to Coldwater.
"Everything is falling into place," said Hartings, who noted that over 80 sponsors have signed on to support the event. "It's definitely gone a little smoother, because last year no one knew what to expect. We've got more things in line,"
Not only do top regional PBA bowlers looking to earn full-time national tour status come to take part, but a number of exempt bowlers - those not having to qualify for events - also come to participate.
"They're here to help out the kids," said Hartings, a reference to the fact that proceeds for the event will go to help fund the West Ohio High School Bowling Conference Scholarship Fund. "That's our big motto, to help the kids with the scholarship fund.
"Our tournament will benefit better this year because a lot of the big-name players are going to be in Akron doing this trade show for the (bowling) ball companies. With Brian Kretzer (a PBA pro and co-coordinator of the event) being involved and he talks to these guys and tells them what's going on with the Coldwater tournament after the trade show, they can drive four hours down from Akron for the tournament, then the golf tournament (The Linus Open golf outing for the WOHSBC Scholarship Fund)," said Hartings.
As of Tuesday, 87 bowlers, both touring pros and local bowlers have signed on for the event. Hartings stated that the tournament field could have no more than 96 bowlers. The majority of bowlers who competed last season, including all but a couple of those finishing in the top 10, will be back.
"We've got Mike Wolfe (coming in). Ryan Shafer's coming from New York. They'll be our top draws," said Hartings. "We'll have some new faces, but that's because they heard what happened last year."
There will be a new champion this season as Waliczek will miss the tournament to be with his wife, who is expected to have a baby this weekend. PBA star Pete Weber, who made the trip last season, will also be unable to attend due to other commitments.
Among the local bowlers taking a chance to take part are Celina's Gary Cisco of Plaza Lanes, Versailles pro Doug Davidson and Tom Remaklus of Fort Recovery, whose father Joe was the original co-owner of Pla-Mor with Rick's father Linus.
Two former members of the Coldwater High School boys bowling team that Hartings coached, Kyle Bruns and Jim Hennessey, will return to compete in the tournament, as well as Rockford's Bruce Bollenbacher, Celina's Jeff Schott and Wapakoneta's Mike Moore and Todd Book, who holds PBA exempt status.
Admission to the bowling action is free.
Lefeld Classic Schedule of Events:
Noon-2 p.m. - PBA practice session
5:30 p.m. - Junior Pro-Am
7 p.m.-midnight - Outdoor party
8:30 p.m. - Adult Pro-Am
8 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. - PBA qualifying
Noon-Midnight - Hog roast in corporate tent.
8 p.m. - Coldwater Cup drawing
10 a.m. - Round-robin finals
3 p.m. - Championship round play begins
5 p.m. - Awards presentation
10 a.m. - The Linus Open golf outing at the Fox's Den.
11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. - Roto-Grip/Storm Youth Bowling Clinic.
Events taking place at Pla-Mor Lanes in Coldwater unless indicated.