Pros give local bowlers chance to rub elbows, compete in tournament

Bowlers from five different states and all over Oregon competed in the third annual PBA 50 Dick’s Pro Shop Northwest/West Open at Linn Lanes the weekend of Nov. 4.

Three years ago, local bowler Larry (Butch) Jordan asked Linn Lanes proprietor Gary Heintzman if he was open to hosting a PBA regional tournament. The two have been friends since childhood.

“Gary saw this as a good thing to bring to show off our little town,” Jordan said.

There were some benefits in the age restriction as well; the event is only for seniors.

“It was the first 50 event ever in the Northwest,” Jordan said. “We always have to bowl with what we call ‘the kids.’”

That first year, they had 36 participants, the second year went up to 54 bowlers and this year they had 40.

Jordan started bowling when he was about 10 years old and has been bowling professionally for about 20 years.

This event and the sponsors’ support means a lot to Jordan and it showed Friday morning. He got choked up a few times as he spoke about each one and their contributions.

Linn Lanes also raised $1,893 for its youth bowlers through fund-raising and donations, said Penny Fentiman, league and event manager, after the event.

There was prize money for the winning bowlers, but one of the big draws to the Pro-Am event is that the amateurs get to mingle with the pros.

Chris Warren, of Grants Pass, defeated Hugh Miller, of Mercer Island, Wash. to win the PBA 50 Dick’s Pro Shop Northwest/West Open for the third time to win $2,500. Miller collected $1,300 for second and  Parker Bohn finished third, earning an $800 prize. Eric Parker, of Lebanon, finished fourth and also earned $800.

Peggy Dunn, of Long Beach, Wash., came prepared for the event.

She already had professional bowler Bohn’s autograph, along with many others, on one of her T-shirts. She brought her league shirt for Bohn to sign. Which he did, before taking time to pose with groups before the warm ups.

“He is a nice guy, and he does trick shots,” Dunn said.

This was Bohn’s second visit to Linn Lanes.

“People want to see me and shake hands,” said Bohn, of New Jersey, who won the PBA championship in 2013 at age 49.

He likes to take time to talk with people, pose for photos, and give autographs.

“I treat them exactly the way I want to be treated,” Bohn said.

Bohn has been bowling for most of his life, he said, and professionally for 35 years.

“The best events are when we go to Small Town USA,” Bohn said. “Linn Lanes not only welcomes me but the entire PBA.”

He enjoys meeting people from the towns he visits – the kids, and the best bowlers from that area.

“At the end of the day, we’re all trying to to do the same thing, knock over 10 pins,” Bohn said.