About a year from now – Thanksgiving weekend is the traditional time – the Greater Buffalo USBC Association will induct its Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Deliberations over the nominations will begin early next year. This reporter is a media member of the committee that elects the male honorees. Female candidates are elected by a separate process, a holdover from when there was a Buffalo Women’s Bowling Association and the Erie County Suburban Women’s Bowling Association, both of which were folded into the merged GBUSBCA in 2005.
The local Hall of Fame is an exclusive group. One reason is that inductions are held every other year and by rule the classes are limited in each of the four categories – outstanding ability, veterans section and meritorious service and youth meritorious service.
There are 90 bowlers, including 51 men, who have been enshrined for Outstanding Ability, the category that produces the most lively deliberation before the final election sometime in March.
Just who is worthy of Hall of Fame consideration is the question that is pondered each time the election process begins. Achievements such as championships in the City Tournament or the Obenauer Masters are important. So is excellence over a period of time in association events.
What about accomplishments in state or national events? How much weight should they carry when determining a Greater Buffalo Hall of Famer? What about achievements in other areas, the Tonawandas, Niagara Falls and Rochester? How important are number of 300 games, 800 series or career averages?
Certainly success in the City Tournament and Obenauer is a barometer. However, of the 35 individuals who have won the Obenauer, only 11 are in the Hall of Fame. The ratio is about the same with Obenauer runners-up and top qualifiers.
Only five of the City scratch singles champions since 1964 are in the Hall. Ten City scratch all-events champions have been enshrined.
It all means that there are still a lot of worthy Hall of Fame candidates out there.
Hall of Fame nomination forms for bowling performance, meritorious service and youth meritorious services are available on the Greater Buffalo USBC Association website. The association will be accepting nominations up to the end of January.
Ciminelli on the air
It was old news, but the taped showing last Sunday of Ryan Ciminelli’s heart-breaking loss to Chris Barnes in the championship match of the PBA Viper championship in the World Series of Bowling still made dramatic entertainment. Ciminelli led the entire game, until he left the 7-10 split on his first ball in the 10th frame. Barnes struck on his first two balls in the 10th to come away with the title.
“It was an awful shot,” Ciminelli said of his 10th-frame split. “I guess I could have gotten lucky and got nine or something, but you can’t rely on that. You have to throw it good when you’re in that position. I made all of my good frames irrelevant with one bad shot.”
Barnes predicted Ciminelli would return to the winner’s circle soon. Ciminelli “keeps getting better and better,” Barnes said
“Ryan’s going to be one of the guys to beat and he’s trying to step in as the premier left-hander on tour. I’m not sure” 33-time PBA Tour winner and Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III “is ready to step aside right yet, but Ryan is certainly laying his claim to be that guy.”
Ciminelli will be featured on Sunday’s ESPN telecast (1 p.m.) of the PBA Chameleon Championship, which also was bowled in November. This time, Ciminelli left no doubt, winning all three of his stepladder matches handily for his second career title on the tour.
ECC Kats showing promise
Erie Community College men’s bowling coach Roy Decibus likes the potential of his team despite a fourth-place finish in last month’s Big Red Invitational in Cortland. Of the three teams that finished ahead of the Kats, one was a two-year school, Mohawk Valley CC. Mohawk looks like the early favorite to win the Region III championship, but a lot can happen between now and the regional tournament.
One reason Decibus is optimistic is the expected return to the team of Travis Ward (Pioneer) for the second semester.
Nate Casacci (Orchard Park) led ECC in the Big Red, finishing eighth. Others in the ECC lineup are Theodore Young, Garrett Gibson, Russell Wojciechowski, Chris Bitterman, Kyle Bliss and George Pierce Jr.
“We have a lot of potential,” Decibus said. “It’s just a question of how soon it comes out.”
The Kats will bowl in two tournaments in Allentown, Pa., the week between Christmas and New Years, against competition from mostly four-year colleges.
“It should be good experience for us and help us get ready for Region III and the national tournament,” Decibus said.
Shootout at Manor
The 22nd annual Tonawandas USBC Keith Kreger Memorial Singles Shootout Handicap Tournament will be hosted by Manor Lanes at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Sanctioned bowlers from Western New York with a 210 and under average are eligible to enter.
The entry fee is $30. Paid reservations are due today. Walk-ins will be accepted based on lane availability.
USBC members not sanctioned in the Tonawandas association may participate by paying the local association fee in addition to the tournament entry fee. Information is available at the association website, tonusbc.com.