Mike Guidarelli has played some terrific tunes both on and off the lanes for almost half a century. Despite his age, the 66-year-old part-owner of Sportsman’s Bowl remains one of the Capital Region’s top bowlers, and he’s just as sharp as a businessman and a musician.
Remarkably, Guidarelli still has that magic touch knocking down pins, even though he’s old-school with just one strike ball. You won’t see him with a pair of three- or four-ball roller bags. In fact, until recently adding a urethane ball to his arsenal, Guidarelli used the same ball for both strikes and spares. He simply flattens out his hand when shooting 10-pins.
He’s averaging 238 in the Capital District All Star league Thursday nights, and 233 in the Sportsman’s Majors on Mondays. He once averaged an impressive 242, and that was 20 years ago (1999-2000) when scoring conditions were much lower overall. Guidarelli owns 90 perfect games and more than 30 800 triples. His high triple is 843, and his top four-game series is in the 1,060 range. He might not impress you with a huge hook or mega revs, but he gets the job done night after night.
Consistency, accuracy and experience help Guidarelli stay at an elite level.
“It’s amazing to me that I’m 66 and can still compete with guys like Matt Fazzone,” Guidarelli said. “The younger guys can crank the ball and roll it so well. I’m still a down-and-in type bowler. I sometimes leave 8-10s and 5-pins. People laugh at me, but it’s all in good fun. The guys in the bowling world are a lot of fun. We have a bunch of good guys, and it’s a night out for me. Some of the guys laugh at my style. I’ve always been a down-and-in bowler. Sometimes I dread getting in the car to go bowling, because of all of my aches and pains these days. But once I go through the door, I’m always glad I’m here. I’ve got my knee brace and back brace on, and I put on plenty of Biofreeze, but it’s worth it.”
Guidarelli believes his current success can be traced to the tougher conditions he and his colleagues used to bowl on.
“The bowlers my age, guys like Andy Smith, Chris Fedden and John Leone, we all bowled on tougher conditions back in the 1970s. Back then you couldn’t miss your mark by more than a board. Now, you can go two or three boards left or right and still strike. The guys who bowled on tougher conditions now see the benefit because the house shot is so much easier for us.”
The Mohonasen High School graduate and Schenectady native learned the game from his sister, Carol, and from Dick Peckham. “She was a top-notch bowler when I was just a kid, and I became fascinated with the game by just watching her,” Guidarelli recalled. “She was one of the best female bowlers of her era. We weren’t really rivals though. She always said she could never beat me, but she was really good.”
Guidarelli bowled and played baseball during his high school days. He was a two-year varsity performer as a pitcher and shortstop. After high school, his first scratch league was the Schenectady Majors at Sportsman’s bowl. Then he joined the Capital District All Star league. At one time, he bowled in four leagues, adding the Rolling Greens Classic on Tuesday nights and the Vitalo Classic on Saturday nights.
During his prime, Guidarelli was also a strong tournament bowler. He was the Northern Bowlers Association’s leading money winner in 1996, claiming three tournament victories. Overall, he estimates he won 6-8 NBA titles.
“I used to cash a lot in the old NBAs,” Guidarelli said. “I also remember bowling in the Vermont [Rutland] tournament with Dale Bird, Al Sears and Fred McMahon. I shot a 299 game there.”
Guidarelli began working directly out of high school at the old Flavorland fast-food franchise.
“I loved it there. I worked there maybe 3-4 years and really learned a lot about the fast-food business,” he said. “From there, I worked at the Navy Commissary for a couple of years before going to work for my father at Guidarelli’s Liquor Store. My family ran the store, and I helped him out when I was 19 years old. I ended up working at the liquor store for 46 years.”
Guidarelli, who only sold his liquor store recently, branched out his business career by purchasing a piece of Sportsman’s Bowl 26 years ago, but his other business venture is also a life-long hobby.
“When I was either 18 or 19 years old, I was at a Christmas party with my brother-in-law,” Guidarelli explained. “He was playing the piano, and I grabbed the guitar. We started singing Christmas songs. He asked me if I wanted to join a band, and I did.”
Guidarelli and his band have continued to work together with mostly weekend gigs for about 45 years.
“I play the guitar and the piano, and I also sing,” Guidarelli noted. “Originally, the name of the band was High Notes. When my brother-in-law passed away, we replaced the keyboard player and renamed the band Harmony. We mostly play Classic Rock from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the music we grew up with.”
Guidarelli credits at least part of his tremendous longevity and consistency to fellow co-owner Bob Tedesco Jr.
“He’s been drilling my bowling ball for more than 30 years,” Guidarelli said. “He’s very consistent and he always picks the right ball for me. I take his word for what I should use, and he fits it perfectly for me all the time.”
Guidarelli was asked what he enjoys the most about being part-owner of Sportsman’s Bowl.
“I just love the people at the bowling alley,” he said. “Most of the people are really nice people, and we all get along. We have our laughs. It’s a nice feeling to walk in here every night. I have a lot of friends who bowl here.”
NYS USBC OPEN UPDATE
The 96th annual New York State USBC Open Championships are idle this weekend, but the tournament wraps up its month-long run May 14-16 at Boulevard Bowl with two squads May 14 (3 p.m. and 7 p.m.), three on May 15 (10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.) and two more on May 16 (9 a.m. and 1 p.m.).
The highlight of last weekend’s action was lefty Jessica Aiezza teaming up with Ronald Broege to move into first place in both the Division 1 handicap doubles and the scratch doubles divisions with a 1,440.
Following are the updated standings for the leaders through last Sunday’s early squad.
Division 2 team handicap — JR Logging No. 2 (Rhinebeck) 3,329, Coonrad Four (Waterford) 2,898, Crooked Pines (Pittsford) 2,871.
Division 1 team handicap — FPI Mechanic (Ravena) 3,430, Lighthouse Lanes No. 1 (Oswego) 3,331, Lighthouse Lanes No. 3 (Oswego) 3,286.
Team scratch — Hooks Pro Shop (Cicero) 3,285, Burnst Books II (Cicero) 3,274, Lighthouse Lanes No. 1 (3,250).
Division 2 handicap doubles — Tamber Shepard-Travis Shepard (Plattsburgh) 1,060, Liz Criscuolo-Sarah Krager (Endwell) 1,408, John Sickles-Tony Cacckello (Ravena) 1,233.
Division 1 handicap doubles — Jessica Aiezza-Ron Broege (Commack) 1,440, Tony Cacckello-Matt Sherman (Ravena) 1432, Rick Bogholtz-Ray Tennant (Glens Falls) 1,431.
Doubles scratch — Jessica Aiezza-Ron Broege (Commack) 1,440, Patrick Kohanski-Scott Stachnik (Cicero) 1,413, Zac Gentile-David Meyer (Staatsburg) 1,387.
Division 2 singles handicap — Mike Vincenzo (Shrub Oak) 688, Shawn Davis (Rochester) 673, Ron DeVoe (Cohoes) 666.
Division 1 singles handicap — Matt Cleary (Webster) 781, Dave Jecko (Rome) 773, Steven O’Dell (Rochester) 765.
Singles scratch — Dave Jecko (Rome) 773, Eddie Torres (Stone Ridge) 751, Nicholas Perrone (Mahopac) 748.
STRIKES & SPARES
Liz Kuhlkin had another strong showing in her second PWBA event of the season, finishing ninth with a pinfall of 5,128 and earning $1,500 at the PWBA Lincoln Open. USBC Hall of Famer Liz Johnson won the event for her 25th PWBA title.
Revolutions Pro Shop operator Brian LeClair continues to shine on the PBA50 Tour. He finished 11th at the Florida Blue Medicare PBA50 National Championship last week at Spanish Springs Lanes in The Villages, Florida. He averaged 225.62 and cashed for $1,600. Then this week, in the PBA50 Granville Financial Open at Sandhills Bowling Center in Aberdeen, North Carolina, he finished seventh, averaging 219.14 and earning another $1,600.
R.J. Martinez won the Kentucky Derby Day Tournament at Towne Bowling Academy last weekend and picked up $600. Mike Colby ($325), Debbie Capullo ($225), Don Herrington ($62.50) and Jake Rivers ($62.50) rounded out the leaders.
Ron Williams recorded his 11th career perfect game, and Ryan Karabin picked up his 29th 300 game in the high-powered NFL spring league Monday at Boulevard Bowl.
The Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour wraps up its season May 15-16 at 11 a.m. both days at East Greenbush Bowling Center. It’s an optional Junior Gold qualifier.
East Greenbush Bowling Center hosts the final day of the Albany USBC Trio Tournament Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Cost is $90 per team, plus an association crossover fee of $8 if not an Albany USBC member. Handicap is 100% of the difference between a team’s average and 675. First place is 41,500, based on 60 entries. Contact Bill Neumann (518-477-8967) for more information.
Uncle Sam Lanes is hosting its inaugural Season Ending Singles Tournament May 16 at noon. Entry fee is $50, and the top prize is $500, based on 70 entries. There will be scratch and handicap brackets. Contact Will Cunningham (518-400-0836) or Uncle Sam Lanes (518-271-7800) for more information.
Town & Country Lanes will offer the TNC Summer Series every Thursday night from May 13 through July 15 at 6 p.m. Each night will be a separate tournament. Entry fee will be $20, plus a $5 membership fee. There will be four games of qualifying across four pairs, with the top four bowlers advancing to a seeded single-elimination bracket. Call 518-456-1113 for more information.
Sportsman’s Bowl’s Baker Trio league begins May 11 and runs for 10 weeks every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The cost is $20 per week. First place will be $1,800, based on 16 teams. Each team bowls six games on the same pair each night, and each bowler will bowl two of the six 10th frames. Call 518-355-4330 for more information.
Sportsman’s PBA Experience League begins May 20 and runs every Thursday for 10 weeks at 7 p.m. Cost is $12 a week. Three-person teams bowl four games per night and five different sport patterns will be used.
Kevin Palmer drilled a 266-768, and Jamie Diamond pounded a 258-742 to pace the Sportsman’s Majors Monday night at Sportsman’s Bowl.
Rich Ellis (269-732), Matt Swiatocha (269-717) and Cory Buckley (265-714) also excelled. There is one week remaining.
Universal Auto Parts 43-17, Next Level Detailing 40-20, Muny Grille 38-22, Bob’s Pro Shop 36-24, Café One-Eleven 35.5-24.5, Metroland Photo 33-27, Mike’s Hot Dogs 32.5-27.5, Rollin’ Smoke BBQ 32-28, The Appliance Specialist 31-29, G & Dz Pizza 16-44, Klonowski’s Pro Shop 13-47, I.D.I.D. 10-50.
Metroland Photo (3)
Lee Quivey 213-173-286 — 672, Cliff Ruth 265-181-234 — 680, Jayson Lott 185-216-189 — 590, Austin Zullo 267-150-201 — 618. Totals: 930-720-910 — 2,560.
The Appliance Specialist (1)
Melissa Bogholtz 205-189-185 — 579, Steve Fawcett 174-184-167 — 525, Jeremiah Lawyer 178-192-201 — 571, Chris Fawcett 199-249-215 — 663. Totals: 756-814-768 — 2,338.
Mike’s Hot Dogs (4)
Doug Semerad 242-173-205 — 620, Tammy Sader 180-227-194 — 601, Natasha Bidwell 229-259-192 — 680, Kevin Palmer 265-266-237 — 768. Totals: 916-925-828 — 2,669.
Klonowski’s Pro Shop (0)
Ted Klonowski III (absent) 211-211-211 — 633, Bob Mock (absent) 213-213-213 — 639, Jackielynn Noble 167-165-137 — 469, Jim Petronis 203-165-214 — 582. Totals: 794-754-775 — 2,323.
G & Dz Pizza (3)
Jason Deitz 188-155-193 — 536, Ernest Laduke J r. 167-213-234 — 611, Rich Ellis 236-269-232 — 737, Mike Piotrowski (absent) 226-226-226 — 678. Totals: 814-863-885 — 2,562.
Tony Fernandez 296-213-188 — 697, Joe Gordon 167-181-214 — 562, Jim Valentino 166-189-170 — 525, A.J. Perone 237-235-171 — 643. Totals: 866-818-743 — 2,427.
Universal Auto Parts (2)
Andy Smith 198-225-226 — 649, Bill Heaphy III 197-251-256 — 704, Chris Smith 193-211-246 — 650, Chris Fedden 213-227-218 — 658. Totals: 801-914-946 — 2,661.
Muny Grille (2)
Jay Diamond 179-161-246 — 586, Dave Bingham 259-238-198 — 695, John Musto Jr. 225-248-209 — 682, Jamie Diamond 226-258-258 — 742. Totals: 889-905-911 — 2,705.
Next Level Detailing (4)
Mike Guidarelli 200-217-236 — 653, Jim Bassotti 242-248-177 — 667, Jim Parker (absent) 224-224-224 — 672, Matt Swiatocha 267-269-181 — 717. Totals: 933-958-818 — 2,709.
Bob’s Pro Shop (0)
Fred McMahon 212-205-236 — 653, Earl Lawrence Jr. 229-173-222 — 624, Bob Tedesco Jr. 239-199-155 — 593, Mike Smith 223-203-163 — 589. Totals: 903-780-776 — 2,459.
Café One-Eleven (2)
Joe DiBiase 213-222-224 — 659, Rob Mengel 228-278-203 — 709, Cory Buckley 246-265-203 — 714, Tyler Mochrie 211-236-215 — 662. Totals: 898-1,001-845 — 2,744.
Rollin’ Smoke BBQ (2)
B.J. Rucinski Jr. 234-213-233 — 680, Bill Carl 213-210-237 — 660, Justin Carl (absent) 233-233-233 — 699, Kalynn Carl 257-257-176 — 690. Totals: 937-913-879 — 2,729.
Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected]
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