PBA Spare Shots: Historic Redwood Lanes May Soon Close; “Million Dollar Shot” Artist LeRoy Neiman Dies

by Bill Vint June 27, 2012 06:36

Redwood Lanes, the 24-lane bowling center in suburban Albany, N.Y., that hosted the first “live” Pro Bowlers Tour telecast in ABC Television’s long-running series of Saturday afternoon telecasts, may soon close its doors, according to Albany Times-Union reporter Pete Daugherty.

The 1962 Empire State Classic was won by Fred Lening, who defeated J. Willard Sims, 254-243, launching a continuing series of Saturday afternoon telecasts that lasted for 36 years. Legendary announcers Jack Buck and Chris Schenkel called the action. Other finalists on the telecast were long-time Budweiser of St. Louis teammates Ray Bluth and Tom Hennessey. Lening earned a $5,000 share of the tournament’s $25,000 prize fund.

Want to know who else cashed in that historic event? Click here: 1962 Empire State Classic final standings

Albany was in the spotlight throughout the PBA’s early years, including hosting the first PBA event in history – the inaugural Empire State Classic – at Schade’s Academy. The building that housed that historic bowling facility still stands, but bowling vanished from Schade’s Academy more than three decades ago.

“MILLION DOLLAR SHOT” ARTIST LEROY NEIMAN DIES

Renowned artist LeRoy Neiman, who painted the historic “Million Dollar Shot” oil painting to celebrate Earl Anthony’s milestone victory in the 1982 PBA National Championship, when he became the first player in PBA history to reach the $1 million mark in career earnings, died June 20 in New York at the age of 91.

Neiman, who painted thousands of images of athletes in motion, was a celebrated contributor to Playboy magazine for much of his career. While serious art critics suggested his ventures into commercial art minimized his legacy, one report indicated that over a four-year span in the mid-1970s, Neiman sold more than 40,000 paintings and prints for in excess of $30 million.

Neiman’s original “Million Dollar Shot” painting, commissioned by PBA Hall of Famer Frank Esposito, is on display at the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas. A limited number of prints, signed by both Anthony and fellow bowling legend Andy Varipapa (see feature photo of Neiman and Varipapa, courtesy of Dan McDonough and The Sports Reporter), are highly valued collectibles within the bowling family.

FREE “XTRA FRAME ON YOUTUBE” SHOWS SET FOR BOWL EXPO WEEK

PBA’s Xtra Frame crew (Mike J. Laneside, Mike Jakubowski, and The Bowling Guy, Jason Thomas) will be on-site at International Bowl Expo in Reno, Nev., this week to develop a series of interviews and features that will be available online starting today at no cost on the PBA YouTube Channel. Use this link (http://www.youtube.com/user/PBAProBowlersAssn) to subscribe to the PBA’s free YouTube programming.

REGIONAL ROUNDUP: WEBER WINS RECORD 47TH TITLE IN MIDWEST CHAMELEON OPEN

PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber of St. Ann, Mo., spoiled the PBA debut of top-qualifier Derek Eoff of Madison, Wis., when he defeated the former Team USA member, 248-217, to claim his record 47th PBA Regional title in the Midwest Region’s Oak Forest Chameleon Open sponsored by American Family Insurance at Oak Forest (Ill.) Bowl Sunday, June 24.

Weber’s title, in the second of the Midwest Region’s four “animal pattern” championship tournaments, included a $2,500 prize. Tom Hess of Urbandale, Iowa, earned $900 for fourth place and earned a paid entry into the 2012 PBA World Series of Bowling as winner of the optional “animal pattern” competition.

In the PBA Northwest Region, Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, posted a 6-6 match play record and a 20-game total of 4,770 pins Sunday to win his 15th career regional title in the joint PBA Northwest/West Secoma Lanes Scorpion Open. Malott, who earned $2,500, defeated Thomas Ault Jr. of Portland, Ore., by 100 pins for the title. Malott also earned a paid entry into the 2012 PBA World Series of Bowling as winner of the optional entry program in the third of four Northwest Region “animal pattern” championship events.

In the companion Secoma Senior Open, Ron Mohr of Eagle River, Alaska, went 8-2 and knocked down 4,136 total pins to top Tom Baker of King, N.C., for his sixth Northwest Senior Regional title. Baker had a 5-5 match play record and 3,980 pins for 18 games including match play bonus pins.

Sammy Ventura of Syracuse, N.Y. went 8-4 in match play and finished with a 20-game total of 5,025 pins to celebrate his 54th birthday with a 217-pin margin of victory over Vince Mazzanti Jr. of Levittown, Pa. in the PBA East Region’s Glassboro Bowl Senior Open at Glassboro (N.J.) Bowl and Recreation Center Sunday.

Over the June 29-July 1 weekend, the PBA East Region will conduct the Homefield Bowl Viper Open in Yonkers, N.Y., and the PBA Midwest will host the Fox Bowl Open sponsored by Allstate Insurance in Wheaton, Ill.

The July 6-8 weekend features two animal pattern championships: the South Region’s Chameleon Open presented by Columbia 300 at George Pappas’ Liberty Lanes in Gastonia, N.C., and the West Region’s Vanessa Brown Homes Viper Open at Yosemite Lanes in Modesto, Calif. Also on the calendar for July 6-8 are the PBA Midwest Miller Lite Regular/Senior Doubles sponsored by Allstate Insurance at Raymond’s Johnsburg (Ill.) Bowl, and the East Region’s Bethmann-Russell Syracuse Open at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, N.Y.

In all PBA regional animal pattern championships, players can pay an optional animal pattern entry fee for the right to win a paid entry into the PBA World Series of Bowling, Nov. 2-11 at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas. In all seven PBA Regions, the player who accumulates the highest number of competition points in the region’s four animal pattern events (Cheetah, Scorpion, Chameleon and Viper) will earn a World Series entry, whether or not he participates in the “optional” entry program.

For complete PBA regional schedule and entry information, visit pba.com and click on “Regional Tours” under the Schedules tab.

QUICK NOTES:

England’s Stuart Williams, who won his first PBA Tour title in the 2011 Bayer Viper Open during PBA World Series of Bowling III, won his third Cockatoos Paphos Open title in Cyprus on June 24, defeating 14-year-old Russian sensation Konstantin Matvienko for the title.

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