PBA Spare Shots: Ford Driving Skills for Life Signs Walter Ray Williams Jr. as Spokesman

by Bill Vint January 30, 2014 06:12

Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL), an initiative to promote safe driving, has teamed with the winningest player in Professional Bowlers Association history, Walter Ray Williams Jr., to help create awareness and hopefully reduce automobile crashes among newly licensed drivers.

Automobile accidents are the No. 1 killer of teenagers in America, and inexperience and distracted driving are major factors in many crashes. As such Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) was established in 2003 by the nonprofit Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts to teach newly-licensed teens the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs.

“Being familiar with bowling and always looking at innovative ways to reach teens and parents, I found that being a good bowler and a good driver have a lot in common,” said Jim Graham, manager Ford Driving Skills for Life Program. “Both concentration and focus are keys to championship bowling, and the same skill set is needed to avoid potentially deadly crashes on the highways. What better person displays these skills than one of the greatest bowlers of all time, Walter Ray Williams Jr.

“Through a series of public service announcements, talking to young people and their parents at events and clinics, and an upcoming promotion, Walter Ray can help educate and guide parents and teens to the award-winning curriculum offered by Ford Driving Skills for Life. For example, the PSA’s were shown for the first time to a group of 400 parents and young drivers who attended hands-on events in Phoenix and Tucson in November, and they received rave reviews. That is great for Ford DSFL and the PBA.”

Training is conducted in both hands-on and web-based curriculum. The entire program is available at no cost. Training conducted under the Ford Driving Skills for Life program addresses both the inexperience factor as well as issues surrounding distracted driving. The web-based training called The Academy and a list of hands-on events taking place across the country are available at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

“A lot of people might not know that the No. 1 killer of teens is car crashes, so I’m proud to be associated with Ford Driving Skills for Life to bring awareness to this serious issue,” Williams said. “One thing bowling has in common with Ford is that young people are a foundation for our future, so we need to do what we can from an awareness and education perspective to keep them safe.”

Williams will wear special “Ford Driving Skills for Life” jerseys when he bowls, and will be involved in additional activities in support of the project.

Graham said 10 to 15 hands-on Ford Driving Skills for Life events are planned for 2014, with additional programs being conducted around the world. Complete information on the program including valuable training tools can be seen at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

Ford DSFL also has created a PSA ad that can be found on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXkcugGad2c&feature=youtu.be


Thanks to the cooperative spirit of Luby Publishing president Keith Hamilton, the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions will be part of a special feature on CBS Sunday Morning on Super Bowl Sunday.

CBS Sunday Morning special correspondent Bill Geist and a CBS camera crew visited Bowlers Journal International’s headquarters in Chicago and Pinstripes, an upscale Chicago suburban bowling facility, before heading to Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich., to attend the Tournament of Champions. The special report is part of a celebration of Bowlers Journal’s recent 100th anniversary issue.

“One of our goals was to leverage the anniversary to generate as much publicity for the industry as we possibly could,” Hamilton said. “I think we accomplished our goal.”

Check your local listings for the CBS Sunday Morning air time in your area.


Mike Henry of Brunswick, Ohio and partner Patrick Dombrowski of Parma, Ohio, defeated Tom Baker of King, N.C. and Lee Vanderhoef of Greenville, S.C., 2-1, in a best-of-three-game match to win the PBA Don Vay Memorial Regular/Senior Doubles Central Classic presented by Ebonite at Legend Lanes in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, on Sunday, Jan. 26.

Teams in the event included one bowler age 50 or older, and one bowler under the age of 50. The titles were Henry’s fourth and Dombrowski’s sixth career regional titles. They also split a $4,000 first prize.

● PBA Regions have a limited schedule in February before activity heats up in March. The February schedule includes the PBA Break Point Alley South Challenge (a non-champions event) presented by Ebonite in Tavares, Fla., Feb. 7-9; the PBA Jackson Rancheria West Open at Gold Country Lanes in Sutter Creek, Calif., Feb. 14-16, and the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota South Open presented by Dexter at Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., Feb. 21-23.

The March 7-9 weekend includes the PBA Thunderbowl Over/Under 50 Midwest Doubles Classic in Council Bluffs, Iowa; the PBA50 Victory Lanes Central Open presented by Brunswick in Galion, Ohio, and the New Liberty Lanes South Open in Pensacola, Fla.

On the March 14-16 calendar are the PBA50 Franklin South Open at Franklin Bowling Center in Franklin, Va.; the Trumbull County Visitors Bureau Central/East Open presented by DV8 at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio, and the one-day (Saturday, March 15) PBA50 Allstate Insurance Midwest Open presented by Brunswick at Plamor Lanes in Muscatine, Iowa.

The March 21-23 PBA Regional calendar includes the San Angelo Southwest Open presented by Ebonite at Stadium Lanes in San Angelo, Texas; the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Eastern Open in Elmira, N.Y.; the PBA50 Fayetteville Lanes South Open in Fayetteville, N.C.; the Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open presented by DV8 in Grants Pass, Ore., and the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by Motiv in Virden, Ill.

Closing out the March schedule will be the PBA50 Boys and Girls Club Midwest/Central Open presented by Columbia 300 at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, Ill., and the Bowlers Discount Eastern Open at Brunswick Zone Normandy in Ellicott City, Md.

For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.


● In addition to his growing list of accomplishments, Australia’s Jason Belmonte now holds the PBA average record. Overlooked in the end-of-2012-13 season statistics report was the fact that Belmonte’s 228.81 average for 422 games bowled topped the previous record of 228.47 by Norm Duke during the 2006-07 season.

Jeanette Traber, mother of PBA Tour titlist David Traber of Hebron, Ill.; two-time USBC Senior Masters winner Dale Traber of Cedarburg, Wis., and PBA50 member Darryl Traber of Waterford, Wis., died Monday in Cedarburg at age 77.

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