Earlier in his career, Jeff Hubbard’s name was in the spotlight quite often.
He bowled two or three nights a week and it showed in his average. He was consistently around the 225 mark and did average as high at 231 one year.
But Hubbard cut back bowling to one night a week the last couple of years and posted a 198 average last year in the Classic League at Westgate Bowl. That was one of the top averages in the league, which bowls on PBA patterns, not the normal house shot.
This year, it’s back to bowling twice a week for Hubbard, and he’s starting to see the benefits. He continues to bowl in the Classic League, and has taken up full-time residency in the Blue Ribbon League at Winona Bowl, where he’s been on fire lately.
Tuesday night he tossed his seventh national honor count in the league with a 733 series. Suddenly he’s one of the hottest bowlers in Winona, and his average has risen to 217.
“I think it’s as simple as a ball change,” the 29-year-old Hubbard said. “After the first six weeks on Tuesday, I was averaging 197 and wondering if I’d ever turn it around. Maybe there was some early-season rust from not bowling at all in the summer, but about the seventh week I switched balls and really got it going.
“I’m kind of kicking myself for those first six weeks because it would have been fun to compete for an average title again. We have a lot of fun bowling on Tuesdays. None of us (his Betty Jo’s teammates) take it too serious and are always joking around with each other. That relaxed atmosphere helps a done.”
Hubbard has bowled a majority of his career at Westgate Bowl, where he threw an 812 series back in 2000. His career-high series is an 836, which came at All-Star Lanes in La Crosse three years ago in the Winona/La Crosse Bowling Challenge.
“I don’t think the shot is all that different (between Winona Bowl and Westgate), but the carry definitely is,” Hubbard said. “It’s harder to carry the corner pins at Winona Bowl, which is why I believe most averages are higher at Westgate.
“Consistency is my main thing. It’s a house shot, so it’s the same from week to week. It’s just a matter of finding your rhythm and keeping it.”
Hubbard doesn’t have plans to bowl more than two nights a week, but he would like to see that average climb back in the 220s again.
“The main reason I’m bowling twice a week now is because I have more free time,” he said. “I’ve been self-employed since last June so I can make my own schedule now, where as before it was the 8-to-5 deal. Now I can do a lot more of the things I enjoy. I would like to be up over 220 again, and with a few more 700s I’ll be there on Tuesdays. Anytime you’re over 220 at Winona Bowl is a pretty impressive accomplishment, especially for a righty.
“I wouldn’t say (the average) doesn’t mean much any more, but it’s definitely not the most important thing. Bowling in competition is really where it all matters. The Winona/La Crosse Challenge, nationals, state and other local tournaments is where I really want to bowl my best. League is league, but those other events are where the competition really heats up.”
Bob Prenot and Geoff Schewe lit up the scoreboard last Friday night in the Legion League at Winona Bowl. Prenot fired a season-high 763 honor count, and Schewe was right on his heels with a 760. Schewe also carded a 731 last Thursday in the Action/K of C League at Westgate.
Bob Bigelow nailed a 300 game Tuesday night in the American League at Westgate. He finished with a 722 series.
Other men’s honor counts for the week came from Josh Wenzel (747), Ben Oldenburg (737), Brad Bartelson (731), Kyle Malewicki (727), Brian Fakler (714), John Glowczewski (713, 712), Steve Walters (705), Dave Bohn (703) and Jeff Weifenbach (702).
A pair of familiar names paced the gals this week. Keri Prigge blasted a 673 series in the Sunsetters League at Westgate and Diane Marley added a 669 in the Lamplighter League at Winona Bowl. Monday in the Spinners League at Winona Bowl, Prigge fired a 643 and Marley pitched in a 619.
Wendy Fakler also rolled a pair of 600s with a 635 and 629 at Winona Bowl. Dawn Bronk (625), Lynda Krall (614), Keri Wegman (611), Sue Yeoman (609), Angie Booher (605) and Lisa Pietkauskis (604) also tossed 600s.
Lindsay Jansoch recently turned in her first career 600 with a 602 in a makeup of the Mixed Nuts League at Winona Bowl. Monday in the Spinners League, Kelly Ellinghuysen tallied her first-ever 500 with a 546 series.
And did you see the score that Brandon Beech put up in a makeup of the Next Generation League at Winona Bowl. The junior bowler put together games of 266, 279 and 264 for an 809 series.