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The Bowling Report (03/16/2008)

For five decades, bowling has played a huge part in Jerry Bublitz's life.

He's witnessed the sport from a part-owner of Winona Bowl, to a pinsetter mechanic at both Westgate Bowl and Winona State's Kryzsko Commons, to one of the most consistent bowlers Winona's ever seen.

Saturday night, Bublitz was the 2008 inductee into the Winona Bowling Association Hall of Fame at the WBA Bowling Banquet at Westfield Golf Club.

His bowling career started in the early 1960s at Hal-Rod Lanes. Hal Biltgen, another WBA Hall of Famer, drilled Bublitz's first ball and showed him the proper way to throw it.

He bowled in his first league in Lewiston before entering the military. At the completion of his military service, Bublitz came back to Winona and bowled five times a week at Hal-Rod Lanes. He later joined leagues at Westgate and found his average hovering around 190 in the late 1960s.

Paul Gardner asked Bublitz to be his lane mechanic at Westgate Bowl in the early 1970s. After three years there, he took over as pinsetter mechanic at Kryzsko Commons, where he worked until he retired in 2000.

In May of 1988, Bublitz and a few of his bowling friends purchased Winona Bowl. He sold his interest in the alleys in 2005.

Bublitz has enjoyed his share of success on the lanes as well. Twice in his career he was the doubles scratch champion in the WBA City Tournament, once with Al Smith and once with Glen Kooken. He's also been on many team championships in the city tournament.

He rolled his first career honor count in 1975 with a 703. His highest series is a 770 and his top game is a 289, which he's had six times. Bublitz's best average was a 210. He still maintains an average over 200.

Over the years, he's bowled in 33 national tournaments as well as several Peterson Classics in Chicago. One year at the Peterson, he started his series out with back-to-back 278 games. That turned out to be the top game of the year at the event and earned Bublitz a $500 check.

More recently, Bublitz has competed in four of the first seven Winona-La Crosse Bowling Challenges as a senior member for Winona. He still bowls Monday and Tuesday nights at Winona Bowl.

Who's hot?

It's been a record-breaking year for Keri Prigge, and her final record appears well within range.

In early January, Prigge broke the city record with an 812 series in the Sunsetters League at Westgate Bowl. Wednesday night, she rolled her sixth 700 series in the league (to go along with the 812) with a 712 score.

Prigge went into the evening with a 218 average. With only a few weeks left in the year, it's a sure bet she'll break the previous high-average record of 211 that was set by Krystal Dorman in the 2002-03 season.

And just to prove she can light up the scoreboard at either house in town, Prigge knocked down a 664 series Monday in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl.

Big scores were again common for the women last week. Keri Wegman rifled a 683 honor count in the Alley Gaters League at Westgate, and Mandi Steffes turned in a 672 Wednesday in the Mixers League at Westgate.

At Winona Bowl, Diane Marley nailed a 670 series Wednesday in the Lamplighter League, and Nancy Theis rolled her first 600 of the season with a 665 Monday in the Spinners League.

Also rolling 600 for the gals were Sue Yeoman (658), Dorman (657), Sue Buermann (655), Laurie Wiseman (651), Angie Booher (642, 600), Maggie Glenn (637), Rose Schultz (640), Tina Wenzel (624), Carol Ellings (614), Marley (610) and Tammy Bigelow (602).

The top men's score in the past week came last Thursday in the Knights of Columbus League at Westgate Bowl as Joe Heer tossed a 762 series. Chris Gardner added a 756 series Tuesday in the American League at Westgate.

Other men's 700s came from Scott Schultz (744), Bob Prenot (737), Brad Bartelson (730), Brian Fakler (720, 705), Tod Walters (719), Jack Nelsestuen (719), Larry Walters (718), Erik Kanz (710), Adam Stockhausen (707), Matt Wise (706), Geoff Schewe (705) and Tom Bambenek (700).



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