Keri Prigge isn't one who likes to brag about her bowling game. But when she puts up numbers like she has ever since joining the Winona Bowling Association in the 1999-2000 season, it's hard not to take notice.
Prigge is the only woman bowler in Winona to roll more than one 300 game. She has two.
Heading into the season, she had three scores (769, 767, 762) in the all-time top 10. She's also captured the city average title three times, including last season with a 208.
But her performance Wednesday night in the Sunsetters League topped them all. Prigge had Westgate Bowl buzzing after recording the first women's 800 in the city with an 812 series. She strung together games of 269, 254 and 289 for the historic score.
That series topped the old city record of 787 held by Mandi Steffes by 25 pins.
"This was a goal I had set for myself," said Prigge, who are averaging 216 heading into the evening. "I didn't know if I'd ever make it, but it was something I wanted to accomplish in my career."
Considering she hadn't pick up a bowling ball in two weeks because of holiday breaks in her Monday and Wednesday leagues made the feat even more impressive. Wednesday, her Herff Jones team had to make up from last week, so Prigge was at the alleys at 4:30 p.m. She rolled a 661 series on lanes 1-2 in her first set.
Then she switched to the other end of the house, lanes 15-16, for her record-breaking series.
"I usually don't like outside lanes," Prigge confessed. "I was locked in on the first set. Then we moved to the other end and I was locked in just like on 1 and 2."
Prigge at one time held the city record with a 769 series. That came on Feb. 16, 2005. But less than two weeks later, Steffes broke that record with her 787.
"It's going to be tough, but I know she'll go for it," Prigge said. "I hope she lets me have it for a few weeks.
"It was an unbelievable night. Words can't describe it. The strikes just kept coming. It was awesome."
Prigge's previous high series was a 782, which she bowled in Lewiston.
The Geoff Gardner Memorial Bowling Tournament will take place on Saturday, March 1, at 1 p.m. at Westgate Bowl. It is open to all Winona bowlers who are sanctioned.
The event, which will be a Bakers doubles tournament (bowlers alternate frames), is being held in honor of Geoff Gardner, Westgate's manager who passed away last month. All proceeds from the tournament will go to the Gardner family, who plan to put this year's money towards the Winona's junior bowling programs.
Teams can consist of two men, two women or mixed. The combined average of the doubles team cannot exceed 400, based on 2006-07 averages. If an average is 15 pins higher this year, the bowler must use that average. Hopefully, this will allow bowlers of all levels to participate. Junior bowlers can take part, but must sign a USBC waiver.
There will be eight qualifying games, and the top 16 teams (based on 64 entries) will advance into single-elimination match games, which will be best-of-3. There will also be a $200 jackpot split between any teams shooting a 300 game. Other optional jackpot events will also be available.
The entry fee is $40 per team, of which $8 goes for bowling and $32 goes into the prize fund. This is a scratch tournament and is limited to the first 64 teams that sign up. Entry forms will be at Westgate Bowl and Winona Bowl early next week.
This not a tournament about winning a lot of money; it's a tournament to honor Geoff Gardner and thank him and his family for their contributions to Winona bowling.
The tournament committee is looking for sponsors for the event. If anyone knows of a business that would like to help out and honor Geoff, contact Dale Bartelson, Nancy Theis, Tim Pozanc or myself.
With no bowling on Mondays and Tuesdays the last two weeks, big scores haven't been flowing in as fast as in week's past.
Angie Booher led the way last week with a 660 national honor count in the Mixed Nuts League at Winona Bowl. Joining her with 600s were Kim Kubis (641), Diane Marley (635), Keri Wegman (628), Lisa Peterson (607) and Lisa Piatkauskis (602).
Ross Harrison's 727 series last Friday in the Legion League paced the men. Jeff Besek added a 707 score and Brian Fakler nailed a 704.