No one in the Buffalo Bowling Association expected it would be easy to launch its new Tournament Bowlers Association without growing pains, and the entry list of 28 for Sunday's first event at Southside Recreation Center certainly proved the cautious approach to be correct.
Having established that success will be measured in small steps, there's no shortage of optimism in the BBA camp for future events in the scratch tournament series.
"That doesn't disappoint me at all," BBA executive director Ben Palumbo said of the initial turnout. "We had a good group and a good prize fund."
The prize list included $400 for winner Mike Faliero, $250 for runner-up Steve John Jr., and $150 for third place Michelle Frank. There were two $80 payouts and two future entry fees awarded for a ratio of one payout per four entries -- which should attract potential members.
The first-time entrants also included Jack Jurek, Mike Neumann, Brad Angelo, John Masiello, Sue Nawojski and Fran Bax, to give you an indication of the quality of competition.
With income of $1,120 from the $40 entry fees and prizes of $1,040 plus expenses, we can see this isn't a big money-maker, but obviously the bottom line won't stand a heavy dose of red ink.
"We're not out to make a lot of money," Palumbo said. "That's not our intention."
The intention is to build interest with a high-quality event and hope it eventually carries over to the city tournament, which can use an influx of new entries.
"We have about 50 memberships (it costs $25 to join the tournament association) and I can see it getting to 75 soon," Palumbo said.
One thing you can count on in bowling is complaints when things don't go right, so Palumbo was encouraged by recalling, "I didn't hear any negative reaction."
Faliero also saw some encouraging signs. "I'm looking for this to be huge," the inaugural winner said. "The skeptics will stay away but there were some hard to please guys who were there and there were some new faces.
"This is a step in the right direction. We need to encourage the younger players to be more active. When I was younger, I searched out tournaments as a way to improve. The way to improve is by competing against good players."
Special tournaments committee chairman Kevin Iwaniak said the committee will be doing some fine-tuning, including consideration of cutting squads from three to two until entries pick up. This would shorten the total on-site time from the start of the first squad until the conclusion of the tournament.
The next event with a three-game qualifier and one-game eliminations is Sept. 13 at Southtowns with the prize fund to be enhanced through a sponsorship by Red Dog and Buffalo Beverage distributors.
Membership applications are available from the BBA (842-6610) and on-site on tournament days. "We still need to get the word out," Palumbo said.
Terry Bennetti (superior performance), Joe Santini Sr. (veterans superior performance) and Ray Lamont (meritorious service) will be inducted into the Lockport association's Hall of Fame on Sept. 12 at the Lockport Elks Lodge.
Bennetti has a 21-year association composite average of 201.75 with an 826 topping four 800 sets. He has nine 300 games and earned bowler of the year awards with a 224 average in 1994-95 and 218 in 1995-96.
A resident of North Tonawanda, Bennetti has teamed to win four LBA city doubles titles and he has been a member of three city tournament championship scratch teams.
Santini, born in Italy in 1931, has lived in the Lockport area for 52 years and he has been a sanctioned bowler in Lockport for 40 years.
He was a city doubles champion in 1971 and 1973 and two-time winner on Allie Brandt Lanes city championship teams. Santini set a Brandt house record of 772 that lasted for 15 years. His high game and average are 299 and 190.
Lamont has spent all of his 80-plus years in the Lockport area. He has served on the association's board of directors, sponsored many teams and is a past president of the Friday Brandt Memorial League.
A sportsman of the year in two leagues, Lamont has a high game of 257 and several 700 series.
Reservations ($15) can be made through chairman Tim Incardona by Sept. 1 at 434-5657. Tickets will also be available at the door with a 6:30 cash bar, 7 p.m. dinner and inductions at 8.
All-stars start off hot
The BPA All-Stars made a record-setting season debut last week at Manor Lanes with Dennis Kempner rolling a league record 855 series with games of 300, 279 and 276.
With 39 members notching honor scores, the league set a 17-year high average of 223.78. The pre-Labor Day schedule concluded Friday at Allie Brandt's and resumes with Saturday matches Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. at Broadway Sports Center.
Around the lanes
The Amateur Bowlers Association has a $1,000 first place guaranteed tournament today and Sunday at Mil-Sher. Today's squads are at 1 and 2:30 p.m. with the first of four Sunday squads at 10 a.m. and finals at 4 p.m. . . . Jamestown Bowling Company will hold a Labor Day Marathon on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. It's 10 games across the house with total pins plus handicap (80 percent of 220 average). Entries ($45) are limited to 48 with $500 for first place based on a full field. For reservations, call 483-1818.