Ryan Shafer Wins Second PBA Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award

by Bill Vint January 17, 2014 07:50

SEATTLE – Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., has been selected by his fellow Professional Bowlers Association members as winner of the 2012-13 Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award, PBA Commissioner Tom Clark announced today.

It was a bittersweet moment for Shafer, who also won the Nagy award in 2009, coming a day after the funeral services for his wife, Michelle, who died unexpectedly five days earlier.

Shafer, a 47-year-old who has won four titles in a 27-year PBA Tour career, has been a champion for underdogs on the PBA Tour for years, encouraging non-winners to continue their quests for a title, because he understands how difficult it is to win against the greatest players in the world. Shafer’s personal challenges have been complicated because he has bowled his entire career while combating diabetes. Recently he has served as a spokesman for Animas Corp., a company that makes the insulin pump that has made it easier for him to live a normal life.

“Winning the Steve Nagy Award has always been important to me because it shows the respect of your peers as a sportsman and someone who cares about them,” Shafer said via e-mail. “I have been through a lot this past week, so it’s hard for me to be happy today about winning.

“I know the other candidates were very deserving. In time, I hope I can reflect and enjoy the fact my fellow players think so highly of me. It’s just tough to do that at this moment.”

Eugene McCune of Munster, Ind., Shafer’s closest friend and a fellow PBA Tour competitor, accepted the award on Shafer’s behalf during ceremonies Friday at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., where the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions gets underway Saturday.

“I want to thank my roommate and one of my best friends in the world, Eugene McCune, for accepting on my behalf,” Shafer said. “My wife Michelle and Eugene were good friends. It’s only right he accept for me because she loved him as a friend as much as I do.”

Others who received votes in the Nagy balloting were: Patrick Allen, Dom Barrett, Kenneth Bland Jr., Parker Bohn III, Nathan Bohr, Ryan Ciminelli, Mike Edwards, Andres Gomez, Steve Jaros and Kelly Kulick.

Established in 1966, the Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award is named after the late PBA Hall of Famer and founding members of the PBA. A colorful and talented performer, Nagy made such an impact on his fellow pros that the award was established shortly after his death. Hall of Famer Johnny Guenther won the first “Nagy.”

2012-13 – Ryan Shafer
2011-12 – Martin Larsen
2010-11 – Jack Jurek
2009-10 – George Lambert IV
2008-09 - Ryan Shafer
2007-08 - Riga Kalfas
2006-07 - Richard Wolfe
2005-06 - Jack Jurek
2004-05 - Jason Queen
2003-04 - Tim Criss
2002-03 - Jason Queen
2001-02 - Justin Hromek
2000 - Justin Hromek
1999 - Justin Hromek
1998 - Tim Criss
1997 - Butch Soper and Rick Steelsmith
1996 - Curtis Odom
1995 - Mike Aulby
1994 - Mike Aulby
1993 - Parker Bohn III
1992 - Parker Bohn III
1991 - Parker Bohn III
1990 - Parker Bohn III
1989 - Dave Husted
1988 - Dave Husted
1987 - Steve Martin
1986 - Steve Martin
1985 - Steve Martin
1984 - Jim Pritts Jr.
1983 - Rich Gradley
1982 - Sam Zurich
1981 - Tom Baker
1980 - Tom Baker
1979 - Alvin Lou
1978 - Gil Sliker
1977 - Don Johnson
1976 - Tommy Hudson 
1975 - Jim Frazier, Les Schissler and Les Zikes
1974 - Gary Dickinson and Alex Seymore
1973 - Gary Dickinson and Dick Ritger
1972 - Gary Dickinson
1971 - Mike Orlovsky
1970 - Dick Ritger, Dave Soutar and Johnny Guenther
1969 - Ralph Engan
1968 - Ralph Engan
1967 - Johnny Guenther
1966 - Johnny Guenther

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