May 17, 2001 19:00
SEATTLE – After a successful 29-year career as a PBA member, six-time titleist and PBA National Championship winner Butch Soper announced his retirement today.
“I want to be with my family,” said Soper from his home in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. “I’ve spent 29 years traveling, that’s been enough. I have a beautiful wife and son and I’d like to spend time with them now.”
Soper, who had been competing with the PBA Seniors since 1999, says now that his bowling career is over, he might like to try his hand in the business-side of the bowling industry at some point in the future.
As for bowling, Soper has no plans to ever bowl another PBA event. “When you’re retired, you’re retired,” he demanded.
“In fact, I’m going to take a year off without ever picking up a ball.”
Soper hangs up his bowling shoes as the second-most active PBA tournament bowler in league history. His 713 career national tournament appearances ranks second to Ernie Schlegel’s 796.
But, of those, one particular tournament sticks out in Soper’s mind as the highlight of his career.
“I’d have to say my most memorable moment was beating Walter Ray (Williams Jr.) to win the 1996 PBA National Championship. That and bowling 300 on national TV.”
On July 12, 1994, Soper became just the eighth bowler in PBA history to accomplish perfection in front of a national television audience when he defeated Bob Benoit, 300-236, in Reno, Nev.
Soper finished with $839,278 in career earnings, which ranks him 33rd on the all-time money list.
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