A funny thing happened to PBA member Bob Markiewicz on his way back home to San Diego after finishing out the PBA50 Tour season in Welch, Minn.
He turned into a “Good Samaritan” and may be the driving force in saving a small-town bowling center from extinction.
For bowling fans who don’t know Markiewicz by name or face, you likely have been impacted by his role in the sport. He’s the founder of InteGreat Software, the company that designed the “Brackman” software used around the world to manage “brackets” at bowling tournaments. He also developed “Tourneyman,” a tournament management software program that is widely used in the sport, including in the PBA Regional events.
Markiewicz also is an accomplished bowler who had held PBA membership for several years before illness forced him into temporary retirement. He recently decided to kick-start his game, at age 51, and after bowling the final PBA50 Tour events of the year, decided to re-join the PBA.
Following the Treasure Island Resort & Casino Open, he decided to visit his sister (Pam Spidahl) in Devil’s Lake, N.D., before returning home to San Diego.
“It was only about a six-hour drive from Minnesota,” Markiewicz said, “but when I got to Devil’s Lake, I learned there is a 16-lane bowling center (Royal Lanes) that is in danger of closing. The proprietor (Jim Mellon) basically said if business doesn’t improve this year, he’s going to close the center.
“This town has really inspired me,” he added. “It got me thinking about a lot of things in my life, and a cause like this just grabs you.”
Markiewicz decided to do what he could to help rescue the center, which had seen its adult league-bowler base shrink from 730 men and women in 2006 to 191 adults last season. Even worse, Royal Lanes’ youth program only included 18 kids. Markiewicz talked to the owner and offered to lend a hand.
“I helped organize a $1-a-game promotion a couple of weeks ago, had 120 people including the first waiting list the center had seen in years. It goes to show what you can do in a small town if you promote things,” he said. “In small towns, everyone knows everyone, so word gets around if you know how to do it.”
Taking on a challenge like trying to help save a failing bowling center is something Markiewicz understands. He was the lead programmer for a software company in San Diego, but got laid off. So using his skills and his passions for bowling, he started his own company – InteGreat Software.
“One door closed, another opened,” he said. And in his newly re-discovered role as a PBA member, he is trying to use that status to rebuild the grassroots league bowling base in Devil’s Lake.
“Every once in a while, as a professional, you’re given an opportunity others don’t have to influence people,” he added, “but you have to have the desire to step forward. Other people can say the same thing I say, but because they aren’t professionals, people don’t listen the same way. It’s an opportunity some people don’t know how to handle, but it’s something they can use if they choose to use it in a constructive way. I can honestly say the work I’ve done in Devil’s Lake has made me feel better than anything else I’ve ever done in bowling.”
INTERNATIONAL FIELD FOR WORLD SERIES GROWS TO 19 COUNTRIES
With new entries from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, a field of 46 international players from a record 19 countries will compete in the PBA World Series of Bowling V when its gets underway Oct. 25 at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.
With roughly six weeks to go, there were fewer than 50 spots available for the 240-player World Series field. PBA members will compete for five titles in Las Vegas: the Cheetah, Chameleon, Scorpion and Viper Championships plus the PBA World Championship.
For entry information, visit pba.com. The World Series is open only to PBA members.
BARNES WINS WTBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ALL-EVENTS GOLD MEDAL
PBA Tour star Chris Barnes and former PBA Women’s Series competitor Shannon O'Keefe earned the all-events gold medals for Team USA as team qualifying concluded at the 2013 World Tenpin Bowling Association World Championships at Sunset Station’s Strike Zone in Henderson, Nev.
Barnes, who also won gold in doubles with partner John Szczerbinski earlier in the two-week event, averaged 233.71 over 24 games to dominate all-events by 210 pins over Korea’s Cho Young-Seon. Fellow PBA Tour champion Bill O'Neill, who kicked off the World Championships with a gold-medal performance in singles, earned all-events bronze with 5,370.
O'Keefe jumped from eighth to first thanks to a 269 final game in team qualifying.
Team USA won silver medals in men’s and women’s team events; the U.S. men lost to Finland (led by PBA Tour champion Osku Palermaa) in the title match, 1,183-1,126, while the women lost to Korea, 1,159-992. In the final event of the World Championships, Cho defeated Barnes in the men’s Masters gold-medal match, 254-195.
PBA REGIONAL ROUNDUP: PBA SOUTHWEST REGIONAL PLAYERS INVITATIONAL IS NEXT
● The PBA Southwest Region’s top players will gather at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., Sept. 6-8, for the third in a series of six PBA Regional Players Invitational tournaments. PBA RPIs will be webcast live, from start to finish, Saturday and Sunday on PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel. To subscribe to Xtra Frame, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo for more information.
● Marty Deh of San Jose, Calif. and Carlie Medina III of Bakersfield, Calif., defeated the team of Michael Villarreal of Lakewood, Calif., and Keith Laing of Los Angeles by 19 pins Sunday to win the PBA Tony Reyes Memorial West/Northwest Member/Non-Member Doubles presented by Brunswick at 4th Street Bowl, San Jose, Calif.
Deh and Medina, who shared a $4,000 first prize, combined for a 9-3 match play record and a 20-game total of 8,478 pins, including match play bonus pins, to defeat Villarreal and Laing, who had a 10-2 match play record and 8,459 pins.
The tournament raised more than $4,000 to benefit the family of the late PBA West Region star Tony Reyes, who died as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident in September of 2012.
● Connor Pickford of Charlotte, N.C., defeated PBA Tour titlist Scott Newell of Deland, Fla., 201-185, to win his third PBA South Region title in a Budweiser South Open doubleheader weekend at Victory Lanes in Mooresville, N.C., on Monday.
In the PBA50 portion of the dual event, Jeff Schrum of Cherryville, N.C., won his fourth South Region title with a 229-219 victory over PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker of King, N.C., 229-219, to claim the Budweiser Senior Open title.
● Jeff Zaffino of Warren, Pa., defeated John Conroy of Mahopac, N.Y., 203-176, to win the PBA50 Strike Zone Hammer Eastern Open at Strike Zone Alleys in Pottsville, Pa., on Sunday.
Zaffino, who was undefeated on Sunday, continued his streak of advancing to the finals in each of the 10 PBA50 East Regionals he has entered since turning 50 in 2009. The win was Zaffino’s 22nd overall regional title. He earned $1,500.
● A heavy schedule of regional activity continues throughout September. In addition to the PBA Southwest Regional Players Invitational, the Sept. 6-8 calendar includes the PBA50 Howell Lanes Eastern Open presented by Brunswick in Howell, N.J.; the PBA and PBA50 Thunderbowl Midwest Open doubleheader in Council Bluffs, Iowa; and the Wapakoneta Central Open presented by Roto Grip at Astro Lanes in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
The Sept. 13-15 weekend includes the PBA Central Regional Players Invitational at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., and a pair of joint West/Northwest Region events sponsored by Sands Regency Casino at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno – one for non-champions, and one for PBA members.
The Sept. 20-22 schedule features the PBA East Regional Players Invitational presented by Maple City Dodge at Maple City Bowl in Hornell, N.Y.; the Ten Down Lanes West/Northwest Open presented by Motiv in Roseburg, Ore.; the Odessa (Texas) Southwest Open at Astro Bowl, and the PBA50 Sport Lanes South Open in Martinsville, Va.
Closing out the month over the Sept. 27-29 weekend will be the PBA50 Mel Westrich Memorial Central/Midwest Open presented by Storm at Delphos Recreation Center in Delphos, Ohio; the Albuquerque Hammer Southwest Open at Silva Lanes in Albuquerque, N.M., and the Tyler Cacioppo Crohns and Colitis Eastern Open at South Levittown Lanes in Levittown, N.Y.
For complete PBA regional schedule and entry information, visit pba.com and click on “Regional Tours” under the Schedules tab.
● PBA Commissioner Tom Clark and BPAA CEO Steve Johnson were guests on the 400th “Let’s Go Bowling” radio show that aired on Wednesday, Aug. 28, from Clearwater, Fla. Ken Van Baber launched the bowling program in 2006 with PBA Hall of Famer Mark Roth. Bill Zuben followed Roth as co-host. The show, including an archive of nearly 1,000 interviews, can be heard and watched on www.gobowlingshow.com.