Earlier this month, and quite to his surprise, Allen Payne collected his fourth Topeka USBC Bowling Association Bowler of the Year award at the inaugural Bowlers Banquet.
Less than two weeks later, Payne set the early pace for this year’s bowler of the year chase by rolling an 804 series while substituting in the Big 10 League at West Ridge Lanes.
“I left a solid 7-(pin) and a solid 8 in the first game, and in the very first frame of the second game I threw a ringing 10-pin, so I could have had a really good streak (of strikes) going,” said Payne, who had games of 269, 290 and 245.
“It all flowed that night. I threw the ball really well. I had great tempo, good focus, good speed and balance. That’s one of those nights when everything felt good.”
The 804 matched Payne’s high series during the 2015-16 season, in which he compiled a 225.534 composite average and wound up claiming his fourth TUSBCBA award in the past six years and his second in a row for the second time.
The 54-year-old Payne, however, wasn’t expecting to find himself holding the award at the Aug. 7 bowling celebration at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center downtown.
“I knew I hadn’t bowled really, really well, and there were a lot of people that had an 800 and some people had 300s,” Payne said. “I never really thought about it much because I didn’t think I had a good enough year to do it.
“There are a lot of really good bowlers in the city of Topeka, so I feel fortunate or lucky. Some of them who just bowl one house and didn’t qualify are really, really good bowlers. Overall, I’m really pleased.”
Bowler of the Year honors also went to Craig Trapp and Rick Schauff, who each won for the second time in the TUSBCBA senior and super senior categories, respectively, and to Chelsie Bahr, who took home her second consecutive Topeka USBC Women’s Bowling Association award.
The banquet also included the following women’s and men’s Hall of Fame inductions:
■ Karen Akerstrom, posthumously. Akerstrom was a long-time bowler and youth league director who went from working the control desk to becoming bookkeeper and manager at Meadow Lanes, where she started the Wayne Sanders Scholarship Tournament for youth, the Topeka Youth Top Ten and the Pepsi Challenge. She died in 2010.
■ James Murray. Murray, 78, started bowling in the Ebonite League in 1968 and has bowled in it continuously for 48 years. He was a member of the National Negro Bowling Association (now The National Bowling Association), helped form the Topeka Travelers Senate of the TNBA and has organized countless teams and leagues. He has been a TUSBCBA board member since 2004 and currently serves as vice president.
■ Bobbie Lane. Lane, 79, didn’t become a league bowler until 1987, when he was 50 years of age. He bowled in four or five leagues a week before being slowed by health issues, and has won numerous awards while competing in local, state and national tournaments. He became a TUSBCBA director in 2001 and vice president in 2013.
■ Anthony Judd. Judd, 37, is a six-time TUSBCBA Bowler of the Year, winning back-to-back awards three separate times. A bowler since age 3, Judd has rolled 50-plus 300 games and 36 800 series, with a high of 856 at West Ridge Lanes, where he served as head mechanic for six years and lane manager for seven years.
■ Other top scores from the first couple weeks of the 2016-17 league season: Steve Harrison, 299 game at Gage Center Bowl; Chelsie Bahr, 265 – 672 and 246 – 658 at West Ridge and 253 – 668 at Center; Michelle Springer, 239 – 661 at West Ridge; seniors Jim Charity, 257 – 698 and 245 – 692, Mark Gingrich, 246 – 692, Mark Grim, 299 game, and Kay Johnson, 205 – 591, at West Ridge; and youth bowler Blake Massey, 184-257-263 – 704 at West Ridge.
■ The top-seeded duo of Francois Lavoie and Devin Bidwell defeated Rick Miller and David Schilke 2-0 in the best-of-three championship match to win the Red, White & Blue Challenge on Sunday at Royal Crest Lanes in Lawrence. Lavoie and Bidwell reached the finals with a 2-0 victory over Dylan Burns and Jessy Bauer, while Miller and Schilke advanced with a 2-1 win over Kamron Doyle and A.J. Chapman.
The first-time Baker doubles event started with six games of qualifying at West Ridge Lanes before moving to Royal Crest for six more games of qualifying and single-elimination match play for the top 16 teams.
Weekly city leaders
(League scores through Aug. 28)
GAGE CENTER BOWL
Men’s series — Steve Harrison 727, Kelly Binkley 714, Steve Harrison 709, Brett Starbuck 685, Mike McBride 681, Brandon Benoit 677, Larry Prockish 674.
Men’s games — Steve Harrison 299, David Halseth 277, Larry Ford 276, Kelly Binkley 269, Omar Bennett 268, Layne Keller 268, Steve Harrison 268, Mike Fender 266, Troy Cross 266, Omar Bennett 260, Troy Cross 259, Craig Trapp 259, Steve Garrett 258, Larry Prockish 258, Kirby Cain 256, Mike McBride 256, Justin Rocha 255, Travis Wanna 254.
Women’s series — Chelsie Bahr 668, Rachel Barber 649, Angie Ross 620, Chelsie Bahr 615, Michelle Springer 614, Deb Lewis 601, Angie Ross 593, Debi Brown Tosh 581, Rachel Barber 580, Sheryl Drewis 576, Michelle Springer 576, Carri Nemechek 564, Bonnie Gauntt 553.
Women’s games — Chelsie Bahr 253, Yolanda Gay 243, Michelle Springer 239, Chelsie Bahr 234, Angie Ross 234, Debi Brown Tosh 233, Nadine Derr 230, Rachel Barber 228, Michelle Springer 225, Bonnie Gauntt 214, Vicki Williams 211, Holly Kemper 211, Angie Ross 211, Linda Eisenhut 210, Deb Lewis 209, Bonnie Boyd 207, RoxAnn Crowder 204, Kara Granger 204, Carri Nemechek 204.
Senior men — Robert Raye 239/655 & 219/581, Charlie Heideman 227/615, Virgil Coffman 253/614 & 253/583, Dennis Uhl 569, Ron Barber 243/565, Rex Haney 222.
Senior women — Barb Tidwell 180/490, Bev Raye 486, Lori Ford 200/483, Donna Cummings 181/479, Barb Schmidtlein 199, Carol Tyler 194, Sondra Kitzman 187, Stacey Croskey 179.
WEST RIDGE LANES
Men’s series — Allen Payne 804, Kyle Turner 752, Tim Pucek 747, Matt Turpin 740, Allen Payne 740, Keith Williamson 734, Brandon Clausing 730, Kirby Cain 726, Michael Colombo 725, Mike Parhomek 718.
Men’s games — Allen Payne 290, Matt Turpin 289, Allen Payne 289, David Halseth 289, Elvin Gilchrist 286, Mike Parhomek 279, Kirby Cain 279, Danny Long 279, Michael Colombo 276, Tim Pucek 269, Allen Payne 269, Kyle Turner 268, Kelly Binkley 268.
Women’s series — Chelsie Bahr 672, Michelle Springer 661, Chelsie Bahr 658, Brandy Turpin 640, Angel Rosdahl 636, Kelsey Lightell 626, Kimber Budden 614, Rachel Barber 595, Shelbie Epperson 595.
Women’s games — Angel Rosdahl 267, Chelsie Bahr 265, Brandy Turpin 255, Chelsie Bahr 246, Kelsey Lightell 246, Michelle Springer 239, Rachel Barber 237, Samantha Cummings 236, Kimber Budden 226, Stacey Croskey 226.
Senior men — Jim Charity 257/698 & 245/692, Mark Gingrich 246/692, Mike Granger 259/681 & 658, Mickey Smith 258/670, Mark Grimm 299/667, Chuck McLain 246/657, Rich Sears 653, Pat Mellott 269/647 & 247, Claude Coffman 645, Russ Connor 252.
Senior women — Kay Johnson 205/591 & 547 & 531, RoxAnn Crowder 214/583, Ann Dick 214/582 & 562, Dona Long 203/546, Cleora Cushinberry 231/542 & 211, Mary McLin 536, Bonita Robins 200/528, Marlene Flowers 222.
Youth boys — Blake Massey 184-257-263/704, Javier Lemmons 234/653, Braydon Prockish 225/633, Adam Wood 243/619, Noah Belt 236/617, Preston Millard 226/604, Dom Phillips 228, Aaron Nelson 220.
Youth girls — Gabi Millard 222/557, Chelsea Brown 214/557, Hannah Casto 214/557, Lauren Buchanan 205/509.