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City hosting senior bowlers for 9th time

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Pam and Larry Frame drove all the way from northern Indiana to participate in this year’s tournament at the Rose Bowl in New Castle.
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By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

For senior bowlers across Indiana and even beyond state lines, all “lanes” lead to New Castle this month.

The Rose Bowl is once again host for the Indiana State Senior Tournament, which began April 7 and continues through April 22. This year, approximately 1,160 bowlers will compete in singles competition with another 102 four-person teams engaged in doubles play.

The high rollers will be back here in May for three more games to determine champions. Clearly, however, New Castle and Henry County are big winners in the event, even before all the scores are tallied.

“It’s very good for Henry County business and good for the bowling alley also,” said Brenda Ziglar, who was busy Monday checking people in as well as coordinating various prize drawings.

Bowlers from not only all parts of Indiana but also Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky are among the participants. “As long as they bowl in an Indiana bowling alley, they are eligible to compete in the tournament,” Ziglar said.

Reviews for the host bowling alley – and community – have been positive, according to Ziglar.

“I’ve had a lot of compliments on the bowling alley,” Ziglar said.

“This is a very nice facility,” said Pam Frame, who made the three-hour trip here with her husband, Larry.

“This is a clean bowling alley,” Larry Frame added.

This is the ninth time New Castle has hosted the event and Gene Neal has played a role – or make that “roll” – in them all.

“In 1976 we had the tournament here for the first time,” Neal said. “I was a lane monitor then.”

Neal would become Henry County’s bowling association manager and secretary, a role he had for 38 years. He has been the state tournament manager for the last 22 years.

Naturally, Neal was a walking history book when it came to senior bowling tournaments.

“The oldest bowler who has ever bowled in this tournament was 102,” Neal said. “He was from Richmond and has been gone now about four years. I remember he was mad when he couldn’t bowl in the tournament at age 103. He had hurt his hand.”

Neal said the oldest bowler this is year is 95.

Two other interesting facts about the tournament, according to Neal, are:

• A record 2,500 singles players competed in the second state tournament held at New Castle; and

• There have been as many as 18 perfect “300” games in tournament play.

One bowler in town this week also had a keen interest in another popular sport around here.

Fishers resident Andy Carr said he played high school basketball for Indianapolis Shortridge from 1956 to 1960 and two of his teammates – Mo Crane and Muffy Williams – are enshrined in the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame located just down the highway from the Rose Bowl.

“I’d like to come back to New Castle and visit that museum with my 17-year-old grandson sometime,” Carr said.

Carr also had praise for the local efforts behind this year’s state tournament.

“I sure liked the shot we had today,” said Carr, who finished with a 702 handicap series score. “The ball had a little grip to it. Sometimes in these tournaments, they make them glass slick and you can’t have any fun at all.”