A workplace accident has sidelined Charlie Zmozynski's bowling this season, but the organizer of the Greater Buffalo Bowlers Tour has plenty to keep him busy.
Zmozynski, a corrections officer at the Wende facility in Alden, is recovering from recent knee surgery but his pet project is doing well.
A year ago, the Greater Buffalo Tour was looking ahead to a seven-stop tour with a Tournament of Champions to wrap up its first season.
So far the 2016-17 local tour has already completed three events and looks ahead to a busy schedule starting with Jan. 8 at AMF Lancaster Lanes. It the first of 11 events over four months before the Tournament of Champions in May.
Interest from bowlers and local establishment was so great that Zmozynski was able to grow the Tour from eight tournaments to 15 this season.
"We rely on feedback from our bowlers, and there are some who think that we have too many tournaments now," Zmozynski said Friday.
There has been little change in the Tour format from its first season, but Zmozynski says there could be changes for next season. One change allowed PBA Tour pro John Szczerbinski to compete in Greater Buffalo Tour events this season. Szczerbinski was a non-winner on the PBA Tour.
After Lancaster, the Tour will make stops at AMF Airport (Jan. 15), Voelker's Bowling Center (Jan. 22.), South Buffalo Bowling (Feb. 12), Kenmore Lanes (Feb. 19), Abbott Bowling Center (March 19), Brad Angelo Lanes in Lockport (April 2), Bowl O Drome Lanes in Niagara Falls (April 9), Island Lanes (April 23), Broadway Sports Center (April 30), and Spare Time Bowling (May 7), with the Tournament of Champions on May 14 at a venue to be announced.
Transit, Wimbledon, The Edge, Airport, Voelker's, Bowl O Drome and Spare Time are the new stops on the trail this season.
Greater Buffalo USBC Hall of Famer and two-time George A. Obenauer Masters champion Dave Guindon won the Tournament of Champions last spring at Brad Angelo Lanes. He defeated Ray Richards in the final after wins over Dan Melidona, Curtis Foxx, Kristin Szczerbinski and Sam Capizzi Jr.
Kevin Bienko leads the Greater Buffalo Tour points race with 22 heading into the AMF Lancaster stop. He's eight points in front of Carl Kinyon and Nate Johnson, who have 14 points each.
Bienko, of Kenmore, earned a Tournament of Champions slot by winning at Wimbledon Lanes in West Seneca, the second stop on this season's tour. The former St. Joe's star defeated Dan Melidona, 208-162, in the title match.
Twenty-year-old Andrew Herbert got the season started with a 244-237 victory over Szczerbinski at Transit Lanes.
The third stop was The Edge where Chris Weiler defeated Ryan Robe, 225-207, in the title match.
Winners of each tour stop and the top 10 bowlers on the season points list make up the Tournament of Champions field for the Tour finale next May.
X-With its victory at the Festival of Lights Tournament at Tonawanda Bowling Center, the Niagara Falls boys team looks like an early favorite when the Section VI tournament rolls around in February at AMF Airport Lanes. The Wolverines had a 339-pin margin over runner-up Tonawanda and they did it without Cortez Bradberry, who leads the Niagara Frontier League with a 211.47 average. Bradberry was sidelined by an injury in the team's first game on Tuesday.
Like the Maryvale Boosters Tournament, which was held earlier this month, the Festival is an early-season highlight of the Western New York high school bowling season. The annual Roy Sommer Memorial Tournament on Feb. 4 at Tonawanda will be a third major competition before the sectional tournament.
Webster Thomas won the girls title with 5,197 pins, 23 better than runner-up West Seneca West (5,174). Tonawanda was third (5,135).
Mike Weber of St. Joe's was the boys individual winner with 1,344. Dominic Germano of Kenmore East was second with 1,308. Adrianna Pencek of Dunkirk had the high four-game series among the girls, 1,172.
X-The ECC women's team finished 13th among 14 teams in the Roto Grip Keystone Quaker Collegiate Classic earlier this week in Allentown, Pa. Pikeville, Ky. won the team title. Schenectady County CC, which has become a bowling powerhouse, finished second. ECC teams bowled in the Lehigh Valley, which wound up Friday night in Allentown. The ECC men finished 16th among 45 teams in the Keystone Quaker.##