When Jack Jurek won his first PBA50 Tour title in August, he gave an assist to Hall of Fame pro Mark Roth.
Even Jurek’s best friends will tell you that if the talented Lackawanna bowler has a fault, it’s that at times he lacks a killer instinct.
“I’ve won a couple of Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Awards because I’ve lost a lot of times in title matches and people think I’m a nice guy,” Jurek said after his August win in the South Shore Open in Hammond, Ind.
In the final, Jurek defeated his travel roommate, Randy Pedersen, 242-205, to capture the $7,500 top prize, not a bad payout these days in pro bowling circles.
It was pep talk from Pedersen and Roth that helped Jurek’s breakthrough.
“I’ve got a lot of guys who have been trying to help,” Jurek said at the time. “Mark Roth has been telling me, ‘Stop being so nice. Go beat people.’ So tonight I just decided to go for it. I was a lot more aggressive than I have been.”
When you’re getting lessons on dogged determination from Roth, you are getting them from the master. Roth never lacked for a tiger’s instincts when he was in his prime in the late 1970s and the ’80s.
With his cranking, power game, the Brooklyn native won 34 Tour titles, including a record eight in 1978 (seven more the next year), became the second million-dollar earner on the PBA Tour and was a four-time Player of the Year winner. One of his titles came in the 1987 Greater Buffalo Open at Thruway Lanes in Cheektowaga, when he shot a 299 game during the television finals. That’s one of many reasons that even though he’s a downstater, Roth is a popular figure in Western New York with many bowling friends here.
And somebody does circle the wagons like the Buffalo Bills: It’s the Western New York bowling community when a friend can use a hand.
Roth, who now lives in Fulton, north of Syracuse, was partially incapacitated by a stroke six years ago. Some rehabilitation procedures are thought to be of possible help for Roth’s condition, but are not covered by his insurance. Roth dreams of the day he can get back on the lanes and pass along his knowledge of the sport to future bowling stars.
That’s where his Western New York friends come into the picture.
John Pasco and others, including Tim Glaz, Ed Segar, Jim Santarini, Eric Laschinger and Rich Tomaka, have organized a bowling event to give Roth a hand. It will be from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2 (the Bills’ bye week) at the Broadway Sports Center.
Along with the good times will be the Mark Roth Plastic Bowl Tournament. Admission to the event is $20. Entry into the Plastic Ball Tournament will be $30, with $10 going to the prize fund, the rest to the benefit fund.
Bowling ball manufacturers have donated numerous prizes to be auctioned or raffled. Also there will be bowling shirts autographed by some of the PBA greats, a Ryan Miller game-worn framed hockey sweater, a special Bills bowling ball autographed by Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, basket prizes donated by area merchants and hourly 50/50 pools.
Music will be provided by DJ Energy. There will be free pizza and drink specials.
The event has gotten the attention of the Bowlers Journal, a national publication, and an edition of the national radio broadcast, “The Bowling Show,” will originate from the event.
With the conclusion of the World Series of Bowling the previous week, some PBA Tour celebrities are expected to stop by.
Locals hit World Series
Regarding the World Series of Bowling, Western New York will be well represented in the event at the South Point Hotel complex in Las Vegas. Brad Angelo of Lockport, Buffalo native Tom Baker, Ryan Ciminelli of Cheektowaga, Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga and John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda (now bowling out of Columbus, Ohio) are entered in the four animal pattern championships – the Cheetah, Viper, Chameleon and Scorpion. The leaders in combined points in the pattern events will qualify for the PBA World Championships.
Ciminelli is the defending Chameleon champion.
Other World Series events will include the PBA Challenge and the World Bowling Tour Men’s and Women’s Finals.
Most of the finals will be taped for later showing on ESPN. The wrap-up of the PBA World Championship will be shown live on Jan. 11, when the finalists return to South Point for the finale. Total prizes for the World Series will be $650,000.
Tourney on tap
The 29th annual Tonawandas USBC Senior Masters Scratch Tournament will be hosted by Manor Lanes at 1 p.m. Nov. 16. Sanctioned bowlers ages 50 and over from Western New York are eligible to enter. There will be Super Senior and Women’s spots. A new format will be Eliminator-style finals. Entry is $40 and due by Nov. 15. Walk-ins will be accepted based on lane availability. Applications are available at all local bowling centers or visit the association website at tonusbc.com.