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Rolling Thunder continues to roll out high scores

July 23, 2014 at 2:23 a.m.


The Rolling Thunder League continues to produce good scores from both the men and women.

Sterling Kocian had the high score for the week with two outstanding games contributing toward a 752 series to earn the weekly honors.

Kocian started with a 278 game, dropped to a 196 second game and then regained his strike ball to finish with another great 278 game for his total.

Samantha Wharton was a little more consistent with her games by rolling individuals of 215, 222 and 215 for a 652 set. Her big series helped her team break out of a three-way tie for first place and gain sole possession of first with four weeks to go.

Other great scores for the men were: Scott Snow (268-699), Steve Zeplin (268-691), T.J. Mooney (691), Mike Stacy (683), Alex Williams (683), Mike Unger (659), Tom Crowe (257-658), Steve Dickinson (256-653) and Victor Thomas (647).

It is with regret that I note of another former Victoria bowler having passed away.

Robert Waldrop Jr. died last week at the age of 71.

I first met Walkdrop at the Campus Lanes in 1956, when he was also a pin boy setting pins.

Waldrop followed in his parent's footsteps, as both his mother and dad were avid league bowlers. Later, sisters Glenda and Patricia joined the family in their love for the game.

My condolence and sympathy to his family and loved ones.

Bowling history: Palace Bowling Center

Frank Buhler owned the land, and D. W. Marshall had a construction business, so they joined together to build a bowling center in early 1958.

Tom Willey, an experienced bowling manager from Houston, was hired to operate the Palace. Later, Ed Brooks moved back to Victoria and was his assistant.

It was the first building in Victoria constructed to house the latest equipment in bowling, with 16 AMF pinsetters and telescores. Before telescores the game was scored by writing on large paper sheets. Telescorers had an overhead projected screen on each pair of lanes and scores were written down on transparent plastic sheets with a grease pencil.

One of the amenities was that Albert Totah opened a restaurant in the bowling center, which also had a drive-in. Very convenient for the airmen from Foster Field nearby.

A year later, Totah sold the restaurant to Buhler.

In June 1958, I started working at the Palace as an assistant mechanic working the day shift.

One of the big attractions that first year was a bowling clinic held by Billy Welu from Houston. He was already a well-known bowler and was on the AMF bowling staff.

In later years, among the many Welu achievements was winning back-to-back ABC Masters titles in 1964 and 1965 and teaming with Chris Schenkel to broadcast the PBA Tour on ABC Sports.

Along with the clinic, there were also exhibition matches with local bowlers. The women were represented by Pauline Hager, Mary Kueupper, and Rita Broderick.

The men were represented by C. S. Luikart, O. P. Austin, Lee Hodges, Harrison Raska, Ernest Yamin, and myself.

With the opening of the Palace, it allowed Carbide and DuPont to field a 16 team league without a double shift, as had been the case at the Victoria Lanes and Campus/Woodlawn.

In spite of the closing of Foster Field in late 1958, business continued to improve with bowling gaining popularity.

I left the Palace in June 1959 to work at a new bowling house in Brownsville.

Throughout the years there were many staff changes. After Willey moved back to Houston in late 1959, Don Breech Sr. became the manager.

Zan Newman, a local bowler, replaced Breech in 1961 and managed the lanes for a few years.

After Newman, the next information I have is when Jim and Alice King managed the lanes from 1972 through 1975. Alice made Victoria bowling history by being the first woman to bowl a 300 game in October 1975.

After the 1975 season, Frank Buhler sold the business to well known Texas bowling proprietors Jamie Brooks and Ernie Beltz.

Under their ownership, they employed many mangers: Tim Dickerson 1975-76; Gene and Melba Merchant 1976-78; Butch Ashley 1978-80; Darrel McKnight 1980-83; and for a few months, Jim Kashouty in 1984.

Diane Stuck (Korczynski), Bonnie McDonald and Kim Blake worked for McKnight.

Diane was a coach and league coordinator, and McDonald was the assistant manager.

A 20-year-old, Blake first came to Victoria from Bay City in 1976 to work as a mechanic at the Palace Lanes. After 1978, he left to work on a lane resurfacing crew until he returned in 1980. In 1982, he moved to the newly opened Century Lanes.

In 1984, the C.E. Erwin family bought the Palace from Jamie Brooks and renamed it Holiday Bowl.

Bonnie McDonald was the manager until the lanes were closed after the 1986 season.

In 1978, when the Victoria Lanes, Woodlawn, and Palace provided 32 lanes of bowling pleasure for the area, there were more than 1,700 sanctioned bowlers in the Victoria men's and women's association.

After the Victoria Lanes closed in fall 1978 there was a drop of about 200 in membership and 300 when the Palace closed, but sanctioned membership continued.

The Palace Bowling Center is now the Palace Bingo, where money can still be won but in chance of luck not in skill.

Next week, I will cover the Century Lanes, the only bowling game in town.

ROLLING THUNDER 1ST THE CROSSROADS ROLLERS Women: S. Wharton 222-652; O. Jackson 512; Men: S. Kocian 278-752; S. Snow 268-699; S. Zeplin 268-691; TJ Mooney 243-686; M. Stacy 246-683; A. Williams 247-683; M. Unger 245-659; T. Crowe 257-658; S. Dickinson 256-653; V. Thomas 647; M. Osterson 244-646; K. Stasny 238-645; C. Hoff 635; K. Iraggi 235-632; C. Flores 246-627; D. Matthews 245-621; R. Marques 617; J. Cass 243-616; M. Michalec 245-614; A. Flores 227-607; J. Silgero 607; B.Korczynski 606; R. Rendon 236-605; R. Mason 236-601; M. Gshwind 601; J. Bryant 236-600; B. Marques 599; F. Thomas 595; M. Hernandez 595; D. Knowlan 587; R. Gabrysch 578; M. Soliz 234-577; J. Cooper 575; B. Jackson 567; M. Aubrecht 238-562; B. Alex 560; E. smith 560; M. Zengerie 557; m. Shows 556; J. Bedwell 556; M. Saddler 241; FUNTAPPERS (NO TAP) 1st TEAM 8 Women: J. Sims 244-684; B. Long 266; Men: M. Michalec 298-841; J. Holbert 274-779; C. Bigham 712; E. Smith 694; J. Weber 277-687; M. Soliz 266-678; SUMMER YOUTH 1ST TEAM 3 Girl: S. Wharton 155-401; Boy:B. Boehmer 119-265; PEE WEE 1ST TEAM 2 Girl: F. Cooper 92-173; Boy: E. Dunn 78-154

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