Every bowling venue in America has any number of extraordinary individuals who are truly passionate about the sport and with a story so unique and compelling it merits some serious ink.
Bob Robbins is currently a league bowler in Mesquite who is one of those exceptional individuals with a truly unique story.
How’s this for starters? For almost 30 years he bowled in a two-lane bowling center housed inside an Elks Lodge in Wrangell, Alaska where the only way in or out of town was either on an airplane or taking a ferry on the amazing Alaska Marine Highway.
His bowling at Wrangell was the easy part. The inspiring part is in all those years he volunteered his time keeping the pinsetters maintained and running, oiling the lanes and serving as league secretary for the 80-plus bowlers in the town’s three leagues who bowled in shifts five nights a week.
And because the bowling center wasn’t certified, Wrangell bowlers couldn’t get in the required 21 games to bowl in the National Bowling Tournament.
Well, Robbins orchestrated a solution when he visited Mesquite as part of a retirement planning tour. It was on that trip he with Doug Love and the pro shop manager Gary Higashi, and collectively they set up a mini Qualifiers League bowling 21 games over three or four days so that any interested bowler in Wrangell could join. And Robbins bowled in 12 National Bowling Tournaments after that.
So it’s not surprising he’d have Higashi fly to Wrangell once a year, take him fishing, but primarily to get measurements of Wrangell bowlers wanting new bowling balls, which Higashi would later drill and mail back.
Amazingly, along with his wife Bobbie, he also ran the only grocery store in Wrangell.
Now let’s fast forward to 2020 when both retired, moved to Mesquite and in his two recent league outings averaged a nifty 205 over six games with series scores of 630 and 604 while throwing 37 strikes.
His resume sports a career-high 696 series, multiple career-high 279 games with a personal-best 192 average, and he once threw 16 straight strikes spanning two games.
In other sizzling pin action, Mike Saldivar showcased his ability to throw strikes with 45 while averaging an eye-popping 246 over six games in a clean 749 set and a 733 series.
And Scott Mattingly (733-269) is another scoring juggernaut who punched out 25 strikes in a top-notch effort, Mike Rogers (678-269) had marks on 11-of-12 non-split spare shots, and for a guy who only brings a strike ball and a spare ball to bowling, Jim Lytle (661-258) is a terrific bowler.
Meanwhile, Josh Howland (694-246) finally brought along his strike ball to the party, Steve Serrano (660-233) is having a breakout season, Jan Kusy (635-235) put together a good night sparked by marks on14-of -15 spare shots, Jeff Branche (610-220-210-18) had a really good outing, and so did his teammate Steve Clutterham with season highs of a 587 series and 223 game.
In single game play, Wayne Donnafield’s 267 is his best game since a 300 last season, Don Smalley popped a terrific 246, Bob Morgan fired a 234 using a bowling ball drilled by both bowler and ball driller extraordinaire, Red Powell, and Jeff Powell smacked a season high 221.
Al Legan nabbed a 220, Wade Heileson had seven strikes in a 215, Dick Lonick also posted a 215, and Bill Finnegan is a really good guy who merits ink for a clean 214 that featured five strikes and five spares.
Finally, Juan Morgana rolled a 201, Bob Monson Sr. also hurled a 201, and after a 210 two weeks ago, Ken Safranek logged a 200 last week, and so did Tim Wellman.
In women’s action, MaryAnn Davis (590-214) had her best outing in a month, and Frances Harper is an avid Cincinnati Reds baseball fan who booked a 204 game en route to a season-high 539.
Mary Posey (530-204) delivered a solid performance, Carolyn Davis (531-210) captures her first ink for a nice effort in Ladies Trio League action, and Judy Connelly also snares her initial ink for a season-high 503.
In single game play, Toni Gans uncorked a 212, Sharon Reading tallied a 204, Gail Parison chucked a 202, and Shari Reynolds tied a season-high 197 with five total strikes including a clutch turkey in the 10th frame.
Lee Ann Harmes notched a 189, Rebecca Mathews registered a 187 and Judy Heileson had only two opens in a 180 effort.
Oh, bay bee!
Larry McCubbin who worked as a security guard at the NFC’s locker room entrance at Allegiant Stadium at the Pro Bowl played two Sunday’s ago picked up the 3-6-7-10 split … Rick Cabrera is happy his Los Angeles Ram won the Super Bowl and was also stoked after picking up the 3-6-7-10 … Bobbie Robbins spared the 4-7-9-10 … Ron Sheets tossed a season-high 190 game in TGIF League play … Paul LeVan’s 536 series eclipsed his previous season-high 531. He also deserves recognition for his outstanding work behind the scenes in bringing two posters to his Wednesday Merchant’s League. One displayed the bowling articles from all the bowlers from his league who were featured in the Desert Valley Times. And the second was a poster recognizing and expressing appreciation to all of the league’s team sponsors.
John Hollaway 705-264; Darren Simonds 691-234; Jeff Jacobson 666-237; James Hartley 651-247; Doug Love 648-269; Wayne Donnafield 643; Dean Sheppard 639-244; Mike Yoder 638-265; Bruce Hooley 626-244; Dylan Kesl 612-215; Steven Eckman 612-238; Frank Addamo 611-231; Rob Hartman 609-213; Mike Gentry 603-247; Darrell Moffatt Jr. 602-220; Larry Moultrie 602-223; Garth Turner 602-220; Red Powell 600-206; Dave Astley 247; Harvey Scow 246; Brian Collins 234; Ken Kaylor 227; Paul Parz 227; Doug Schaan 226; Rob Cormani 225; Mike Rosenlof 224; Jerry Holloway 222; Henry Clark 215; Jack Baker 215; Alan Jacobson 213; Larry Willis 213; Mike Carpenter 212; Jon Fjeld 212; Mark Brackelsberg 212; Ken Schloman 211; Bryan Pierce 210; Frank Ferreira 209; Ray Holtcamp 209; Bob Petersen 205; Jim Barrett 205; Mitch Fletcher 203; Dean Baum 201; Skip Hayzlett 201; Lori Jo Turner 624-247; Sandy Sheppard 592-236; Bev Cormani 561-234; Kim Finnegan 548-211; Sharon Reading 531; Gayle Parison 526; Cheryl Rogers 524; Reiko Schultz 503.
Willie Theis covers league bowling in Mesquite for the Desert Valley Times.