You never know where that next great idea is coming from.
For Mike Faliero, it was actually an old one and as simple as redrilling a conventional grip. The result was a $25,000 payoff in one of the High Roller Sweepers in Las Vegas on July 4.
Faliero had games of 288 and 255 for a two-game 543 and his best result in his five trips to the megadollar tournament at Showboat Lanes. "It may have been the highest Sweeper score of the (week-long) tournament," Faliero said.
After 10 strikes in a row, the former TEAM USA player and member of the Brunswick Rhino Pro team that won the first World Team Challenge tournament left a last frame 10-pin in his 288, one of three 10-pins he faced in the two games.
"Someone else had a 234 and was working on a 300 for 534. I needed to make a 10-pin in the 10th (in the second game) to win it," Faliero recalled.
In the 288, "I had the front seven and I felt good," Faliero said. "The eighth shot was the worst shot of the two games. I got it wide but got a strike. It loosened me up and reassured me. It was definitely the key shot."
Faliero said he completed the change in his grip at the start of the season, when he was struggling with his game.
"I did it out of necessity," he said. "I found an old drilling manual and started going back to some of the older grips. I was talking about it with Jim Martino (proprietor of Bowl-O-Drome in Niagara Falls) and he said he was doing the same thing (due to a tendon injury on his ring finger).
"I tried it and it was like instant success," he said.
"My game's in the best shape it's been in in the last seven years."
Sweeping up cash
Pat Healey Jr. won a Sweeper for $17,500, Brad Angelo won nearly $10,000 for two third-place finishes and Fran Bax made $5,000 for a second place in a VIP tournament during the High Roller week. But the best local finish in the High Roller main tournament was by Buffalo's Tom Mangione, who made the top 32 for $5,000.
To make it even better, Mangione was married during his Las Vegas visit.
"It was planned about a half-year ago," Mangione said. "I knew I had to go there (to bowl) and we saw a couple places (wedding chapels) before."
It was Mangione's first High Roller, his fifth trip to Las Vegas and his wife Erica's third trip there.
In the few Sweepers he entered, Mangione barely bowled better than the low 400s but he opened the main event with a 254 and five matches with a bye to reach the round of 32. He won in the sixth round with a 199 but was eliminated with a 174.
"The biggest game was the 199 to get me to the seventh round," Mangione said. "It was worth the most money and pulled me up from two grand to five grand.
"The most dramatic game was the 223 (against a 221). I needed just nine pins and got eight and one. I left the 3-6 and chopped and got the 6. I wanted to make sure I had the pocket and got some pins. I just pulled (the first shot). I thought I had both covered (on the spare)."
The owner and manager of Mil-Sher Floor Hockey, Mangione was captain of the ice hockey team at Lafayette High School in the Explorer League. He plays hockey four to five days a week and has more than 100 goals and 50 assists in 14 games in his floor hockey league.
A hockey player for 17 years and bowler for 22 years, the 26-year-old Mangione averaged 216 and 218 in two bowling leagues the past season.
His best major tournament finish before the High Roller was reaching the fourth round of an International Eliminator at Sam's Town in Las Vegas, and locally, he won a Cascio's tournament this year at Abbott Lanes.
Mangione wasn't the only local bowler to wed during the High Roller week. John Masiello, who cashed for about $3,500 in the tournaments, was married June 30 in Las Vegas and lives in Kenmore with his wife, Kelly.
TBC hosting Regional
Tonawanda Bowling Center will host its third annual PBA Eastern Regional Tournament Aug. 1-3. A companion seniors event has been added this year.
The weekend opens with a pro-am on Friday with adult and junior (18 and under) amateur divisions with squads at 7 and 9 p.m. The amateurs bowl three games, each with a different pro.
The fee is $40 for adults and $20 for juniors with cash prizes (one per eight entries) for adults and trophies for juniors. All amateurs will receive an "I bowled with the pros at Tonawanda Bowing Center" T-shirt.
The pros will qualify on Saturday with finals on Sunday with squad times to be announced.
Amateurs or seniors interested in the regional should register through proprietor Len Pimm at 694-4120. Call the same number to enter the pro-am.
BWBA meeting Aug. 7
The Buffalo Women's Bowling Association will hold its annual open meeting and workshop at 7 p.m. on Aug. 7 at the Radisson Hotel-Airport.
The league officers workshop provides information on rule changes and reviews responsibilities of league officers. To have supplies for the new season available at this meeting, officers should call the BWBA at 897-5470.
Around the lanes
The Amateur Bowlers Association will hold a one-day handicap tournament Sunday at Kenmore Lanes with squads at 10 and 11:30 a.m., 1 and 2:30 p.m., finals at 4:30. . . . The BPAWNY A League will hold an organizatonal meeting Aug. 2 at 1 p.m at Airport Lanes. . . . Conbow Recreation Centers has a web site with information on its 18 locations (seven locally) in the United States and Canada. The site details special features at the centers and an on-line pro shop. The internet site is at www.conbow.com.