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Mazur put up big numbers in '50s, '60s

Three-hundred games seem plentiful these days, even in beer league bowling. Even 800 series are not as rare as they used to be.

Old-timers might lament it, but it's a fact of life these days because of the improvement in equipment and conditions in the sport.

What brings this to mind is the passing this week of Buffalo Bowling Hall of Famer Charles "Chet" Mazur, who died of liver cancer at age 81.

Mazur was among the area's best-known bowlers in the 1950s and '60s. He bowled for championship powerhouse teams sponsored by Iroquois Brewery and M&T Bank in classic leagues. He also was a regular competitor on the popular "Beat The Champ" television show. Mazur appeared 58 times on the show that was hosted for so many years by the late Chuck Healy.

What was remarkable then, but probably not so much now, was that Mazur bowled 11 700 sets on television alone. He had more than 75 700s in his career.

Mazur averaged better than 200 for 25 years in classic leagues. What caught this observer's eye was that he had only one 300 game and his career high series was "only" 796.

As good as he was individually, it was in team bowling that Mazur really stood out. He liked to boast that one year in the '50s he bowled five nights a week in "A" leagues and his team was a champion in each one.

At the time of his induction into the Buffalo Hall in 2000, Mazur related some interesting highlights of his career to Buffalo News bowling columnist Norm Warner.

Before he became a classic league bowler himself, Mazur was a fan of the classics. He recalled a match one night between the powerful Lockport Felts with Allie Brandt and Jim Schroeder in the lineup against the Simon Pures with Joe DiFiglia and Steve Cerwinski.

Lockport needed for Brandt, the No. 4 man, and Schroeder, the anchor, to strike out in order to win the match. Brandt struck out but the pin-setting rack broke, causing a delay of about 20 minutes. Nevertheless, when bowling resumed, Schroeder stepped up and calmly struck out and gave his team the match by one pin.

"That was impressive," Mazur told Warner. The bowler then recalled competing in a national team tournament in St. Louis against the famous Budweiser team of Don Carter, Dick Weber, Tom Hennessy, Ray Bluth and Pat Patterson, bowling's equivalent of the 1927 Yankees.

"We were paired with them for six games," Mazur said. "We beat them the first game, then they crumbled us.

"Carter and I were the leadoffs and I was in awe. We all sat on the same bench and talked. Carter always ate Mars bars before a match, so I came home and bought a case of 'em."

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Hall to induct Hapeman

Due to an oversight or a communication lapse, the name of an additional inductee to the 2012 Greater Buffalo USBC Association Hall of Fame was not included in last week's column.

Richard G. Hapeman was selected for induction by the GBUSBC Youth Committee, the first time that an honoree was tapped from that segment of the association.

Hapeman serves on the association's youth committee along with his son, Richard C. The senior Hapeman has been youth coordinator at Abbott Bowling Center for 35 years. He won the Youth Committee's Service to Youth Award in '07.

"He is a great promoter of youth tournament bowling for our association and offers free entry into all of our tournaments as part of the Abbott youth program," GBUSBC manager Bill Palumbo said.

Hapeman and the six other inductees will be honored on Nov. 24 at Samuel's Grande Manor.

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Big money in Vegas

Two Buffalo-area bowlers have reached the finals of the third annual AMF National In-League Tournament, which will be held April 27-28 in Las Vegas.

David A. Burt of Buffalo will represent AMF Airport Lanes in the Open (200 average or better) Division and Anthony DiCenzo of Cheektowaga will compete in the B (160-179 average) Division. First prize in each division will be $50,000.

Burt led the local and district qualifying with a 112 pins-over average series. DiCenzo won the qualifying in his division with a 181 POA. More than 25,000 AMF League bowlers entered the tournament but only 27 qualified in each of four divisions for the finals.

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Ciminelli advances

Ryan Ciminelli did some torrid bowling Thursday to advance to Friday's match play round of 18 bowlers in the Tournament of Champions at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas.

Ciminelli totaled 2,089 (232.1 average) in Thursday's second block of nine games in the Elite Qualifying Round after 1,997 in the earlier block. His game scores ranged from 189 to 258 in the first session and 204 to 258 in the second.

Ciminelli bowled the second-highest block among the 36 bowlers in the Elite Qualifying round. Rhino Page led with 2,153.

Ciminelli stood in fourth place after 27 of 36 games on Friday. His pinfall was 6,463.

Friday's match play decided the four players who will compete for the $80,000 first prize in the ESPN stepladder finals Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Tournament of Champions is the final event of the PBA Tour's 2011-12 season.

email: mnorthrop@buffnews.com