Vigars’ move to Florida ends an era

Skip Vigars Jr.’s departure to Florida earlier this week signals the end of an era.
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Skip Vigars Jr.’s departure to Florida earlier this week signals the end of an era.

Vigars, son of the late Skip Vigars Sr., has been a snowbird for quite a few years, spending a good portion of his winters down south. But now, he’s decided that he will be spending more time in Florida next year, and that means he will finally stop bowling in the Capital Region.

“It wouldn’t be fair for me to try to bowl up there next year,” Vigars said from his winter home. “We will probably leave for Florida in October or early November next year, and it wouldn’t be fair to the league to even start the season.”

Vigars has been a member of the Vitalo Classic league, which competes Saturday nights at Sportsman’s Bowl, for 34 years, and he owns many of that league’s all-time records. Longtime secretary Dave Mennillo keeps track of all the numbers, but they are far too many to recount here.

Suffice it to say that Vigars, 63, put together a career that is comparable to his dad’s. His fluid style was competitive regardless of where he bowled.

“The biggest thing for me was that I felt I could bowl on all types of lanes and conditions,” he said. “I grew up on the lanes, and I was bowling about 20 games a day when I was a kid. I developed quite a muscle memory for the sport.”

Vigars, who helped his father run the old Redwood Lanes when he was a kid, said his best performance locally was his 300 game on television during the old “TV Tournament Time” show at the WRGB Studio lanes in 1988.

“I actually bowled 21 consecutive strikes that night,” he said.

He bowled on the PBA Tour in both 1975 and 1976, and was third in the rookie of the year voting in 1975. He also produced an average in the top 50 at the old ABC tournaments, now the USBC.

“I tried to be consistent,” he said. “I had one of those careers where there weren’t many specific things, but just a lot of consistent performances. I’ll miss all the guys up in the Capital Region, but I’ve had a long run. Heck, I bowled up there for almost 60 years.”

Both Skip Vigars Sr. and Skip Vigars Jr. bowled on the PBA Tour and are members of the New York State Bowling Hall of Fame. Skip Vigars Sr. is the only bowler in area history to win a regular PBA Tour event (the 1962 Cleveland Coca Cola Open). Brian LeClair won a PBA50 tournament over the summer.

DYNAMIC DUO

Just before the holidays, local bowling standout Mark Ray recorded his 72nd 300 game while bowling in the City League at Towne Bowling Academy. Ray has long been one of the area’s premier bowlers, so this particular feat could easily go unnoticed.

But the special thing about that night was that about 40 minutes after Ray got his perfect game, his wife, Sharon, called him from Westlawn Lanes on Western Avenue in Guilderland. She had just posted her first-ever 300 game, as well.

That’s a pretty unusual husband-wife feat. Mark said he recently purchased a Storm Hy-Road Pearl for his wife, and she is averaging about 220 with that ball after a slow start. Her average now is 199, down from her usual 203 or 204.

STRIKES & SPARES

The Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York’s “Huck Finn Capital Region Bowling Show” schedule continues this weekend with the popular Joe Donato Seniors Scratch Classic. Named after one of the greatest bowlers in area history, the Donato Seniors Scratch Classic will have two qualifying squads Sunday — 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.— at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy. The finals follow at about 1:30 p.m. The show will be taped Jan. 24 at 4:15 p.m. at Spare Time Latham, and it will air Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. on MY4. Those bowlers interested in competing should contact Jeff Segel at 439-7628.

In other Huck Finn tournament news, the next combined handicap/scratch show will be held Jan. 17. Qualifying for that show is ongoing through your own league scores for a $10 fee. The handicap division finals will be held Jan. 17 at noon at Playdium Bowling Center in Albany, while the scratch division will conduct additional qualifying at Spare Time Latham at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

New Era Senior Tour director Jim Burton has announced his winter/spring schedule. Green Island Bowl hosts the first NEST event of the new year Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. Others on his tentative schedule include Feb. 13 at Sunset Recreation at noon; March 5 or March 12 at a bowling center to be determined; the CZR Century Doubles March 26 at Town ‘N Country Lanes; April 9 at 9:30 a.m. at Spare Time Latham and May 14 at 11 a.m. at Towne Bowling Academy.

There are still spots open for the $4,000 Team Handicap Tournament at Towne Bowling Academy. Towne BA will only hold spots for the final weekend until Jan. 20 without payment. Payment can be made by credit card or stopping in at the bowling center. For reservations, call 355-3939 or send an email to [email protected]

Schenectady’s Zack Terry defeated Jonathan Bowman of Peru 190-186 to win the Cap­ital District Youth Scholarship Tour event Jan. 2 at Uncle Sam Lanes. Terry won the nine-game tournament wire-to-wire and beat a field of 63 bowlers, the second-highest turnout ever.

It was the first CDYST win for Terry, who earned a $250 scholarship. Bowman ($175), Brendan Ind­ovina of Albany ($100), Andrew Marotta of Ballston Spa ($75), Corey Hommel of Clifton Park ($60), Brendon Wolf of Schenectady ($50), Chris Rad­liff of Schenectady ($45) and Jordan West of Cohoes ($40) also won scholarships in the boys’ division.

Girls’ scholarship winners were Jordan Byrnes of Kinderhook ($175), Amanda Chrzanowski of Schen­ectady ($125), Kasey Kosler of East Greenbush ($80), Jenna Lemke of Delmar ($50) and Tiera Gulum of Schenectady ($40). The next CDYST tournament will be Jan. 23 at noon at Alpha Lanes in Troy.

Mike Drexel of Duanesburg beat Ryan Sickler 446-358 to capture the New Year’s Day tournament at Kingpin’s Alley Family Fun Center.

Congratulations to Don Baker of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, who recently rolled a 300 game in a Colonial Council victory over Maple Hill.

Kim Adler of Melbourne, Fla., and Mike Durbin of Hollywood, Calif., have been elected to the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in the superior performance category. Adler, 48, won 16 times on the Professional Women’s Bowling Association tour and captured the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open. She was the USBC Women’s Championship all-events champ in 2004. Durbin, 74, won 14 PBA titles including three PBA Tournament of Champions crowns. He was also known as the color analyst on the PBA Tour telecasts.

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