In some respects, Doxie Damico would be classified as a groupie, but, in reality, the Austintown woman is just an enthusiastic fan of professional bowling.
For that reason, Damico wrote a letter — yes, a hard copy with a typewriter and not a text or e-mail or tweet — and mailed it in an envelope with a stamp.
“I really enjoy the sport of bowling and have been attending PBA national and regional tournaments since 1988,” she started. “This is my second year for the regional in Hubbard and have hopes it will continue for many years to come,” she said of the recent Panera Bread PBA Hubbard Open presented by the Trumbull County Visitors Bureau and DV8.
Damico said she enjoyed both the young pros and those who don’t make the televised finals consistently.
“I was really excited to see and speak with Ken Yokobosky, Ryan Shafer, Kurt Pilon and Brian Kretzer, to name a few,” she said of the event at Bell-Wick Bowl over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. “It was a privilege to watch these bowlers who competed on the national tour for decades. These are the guys who impress me most. They are on the lanes competing despite the fact that their opportunities to earn large paychecks aren’t numerous. They compete because they love the sport and to stay connected to fans.”
Delores Damico, Doxie’s mother, said that she and her daughter recall trips to the PBA Firestone Tournament of Champions in Fairlawn, where they remember meeting Mark Roth.
However, Parker Bohn III is Delores’ favorite and Brian Vross is the daughter’s favorite.
“Doxie has pictures of Brian with his wife, but she lost a lot of stuff since we had a house fire and the memorabilia in her room was lost,” Delores said. “She had autographs of just about everybody that we’d get from the tournament programs. I still have some tickets from there,” Delores said of the Akron tournament.
From 1965 until 1994, the Firestone tournament was contested at Riviera Lanes (now AMF Riviera Lanes) near the long-time Firestone World Headquarters in Akron. In a notable semifinal match at the 1967 Tournament of Champions, Jack Biondolillo rolled the first nationally-televised 300 game.
Since 1994, the Tournament of Champions (or “TOC”) has had a variety of sponsors, including General Tire, Brunswick, Dexter and most recently H&R Block. From 2002 to 2007, the Tournament of Champions was contested in an arena setting at Mohegan Sun Arena, in Uncasville, Connecticut. The event was moved to Las Vegas for the 2007-08 season, and has been contested there ever since.
Although only 22, one of the lesser-knowns at the Hubbard Open was Josh Conner of Columbus.
After losing to Stephen Dieter in the round of 16, the red-headed Conner stuck around Bell-Wick Bowl and gave his hand-held electronic device some attention.
Conner won $650, marking the second straight regional in which the young man cashed. The previous was a year ago in Wapakoneta.
“This is my first time bowling this style,” he said of the Hubbard Open’s elimination format as opposed to a round-robin format.
Conner said he felt obligated to bowl in Hubbard because of his DV8 affiliation.
“I just signed as a full regional staff member this year,” he said of DV8.
“It [DV8] is to Brunswick what Roto Grip is to Storm,” he said of the ball brands and their manufacturers.
Following the qualifying rounds, Conner was seeded fifth.
“I have no complaints. I just wish I could still be bowling.”
Fuller has 300-804
Jeff Fuller bowled a 300 his first game, then 267 and 237 for an 804 in Wedgewood’s Thursday Night Sportsman on March 29.