Girard’s Barta looks to strike against leukemia


By Greg Gulas

sports@vindy.com

STRUTHERS

Perfect games, 700 sets, 800 sets and even house records have become the norm for Adam Barta during a stellar four-decade bowling career.

So, too, have Guinness World Records.

On Saturday at Holiday Bowl in Struthers, the 37-year old Girard native hopes to etch his name into the Guinness Book of World Records for the second time in as many years when he attempts to shatter the existing mark of 176 strikes in an hour.

The author of 193 perfect games, Barta already holds the record for pins knocked down in an hour with 2,708 — the old mark was 2,132, set by George Frilingos of Australia in 2014 — established at the Game in Wickliffe on Feb. 15, 2015.

He also has 149, 800 sets, more than 1,500, 700 sets and 48,299 games to his credit.

A 1997 Girard High School graduate, this record-setting try is also of a very personal nature in that his attempt will serve as a fund-raiser for Paige Lejeune and her family, and his foundation, Barta Nation Families Foundation for which he personally delivers gifts on Christmas Eve — in honor of his late father — to families that are affected by cancer.

Lejeune is a 16-year old girl who courageously battled T-Cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia for nearly three years before passing away Oct. 24.

“Social media is big for me and also for our foundation, which is how I originally got to know Paige,” he said. “She’s from Houston, Texas and I have known her father Boyce, and mother, Amy for several years. Paige followed my career, always had words of encouragement for me and we’ve just kept in touch. When she got sick and was hospitalized in Texas Children’s Hospital, I happened to be bowling in the Houston area and had an opportunity to spend four quality hours with her. Talk about someone with a super-positive outlook on life despite the hand that she was dealt.”

The goal of the Barta Nation Families Foundation is to deliver a true power of hope message to families affected by cancer, especially during the holiday season.

The foundation was formed in honor of Barta’s father, Pete, who passed away on Christmas Eve 2012 after his own personal cancer battle.

“During my visit you couldn’t help but notice that the walls in Paige’s room were adorned by posters of superheroes, yet the entire time she never talked about her struggles and what she was going through,” Barta added. “When counselors told her parents that they were basically down to limited options in their fight, both parents collapsed and fell to the floor, to which Paige kindly told her mom to get up, that she had beaten this twice before and was determined to beat it once again. To me, she’s the superhero and just an awesome little girl who has left such a positive legacy while being taken way too early.”

Rolling a strike wasn’t as critical as it was to remain in constant motion during his initial record attempt, so this time around Barta’s goal is to have quality rolls each time as opposed to quantity with rest merely an afterthought over the allotted time frame.

The current record-holder is Jason Hicks of Clio, Michigan, who amassed 176 strikes on Feb. 27, 2015 in his hometown, a record that Barta has been eyeing since his record-setting hour pin count nearly 21 months ago.

“I know that I can do it because I’ve already done it during each practice session I’ve had over the past few months or so at Holiday Bowl,” he stated. “I needed to know that mentally I could last the hour, so having beaten it five times already tells me that I know I can do it and should be ready to go come Saturday night.”

Those wishing to attend can do so free of charge with a large Chinese auction, 50-50 raffles, jersey sales and bowling ball raffles also scheduled to take place.

A stream of the record-setting attempt will also be available that night on Bowl Stream TV at www.bowlstreamtv.com .

Anyone wishing to donate can do so on-site, or by accessing the link during the telecast.

Donations will also be accepted by the Barta Nation Families Foundation at 330-502-8976.

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