Bowler Spotlight is a new NDBowling.com Series designed to increase bowler recognition and to help others get to know the faces of bowling in North Dakota. This multi-part series will run every other Tuesday and will include bowlers from around the state, as well as bowling centers, pro shops, and tournament event staffs. This week, we sat down with a Fargo legend who has recently been making bowling headlines in our area.
If you grew up in the Fargo-Moorhead area and paid any attention to the bowling community, you would know who Mike Morris is. However, if you were a guy like me who grew up in the western half of the state, you probably have no idea who the guy is. This was the case for me many years ago. I moved to Fargo in 2005 and was aware of only a handful of top tier bowlers in the area. Upon getting to know the bowling community a little bit better, I was quickly made aware of Mike Morris as being one of the most respected bowlers in the area.
Hometown: Fargo, ND
Home Bowling Center: Sunset Lanes
Occupation: Owns a Marketing & Advertising Company
1 -800 Series
1991 Manitoba Open Champion
2008 WDAY/WDAZ Bowling Classic Champion
2009 WDAY/WDAZ Bowling Classic Champion
2011 WDAY/WDAZ Bowling Classic Champion
Morris is the only bowler to have won both the Manitoba Open and Bowling Classic and is tied for 3rd on the list of NDBowling.com Major Championship titles with 4. Trailing only Dave Schick and Jeff Smith at 5.
Complete List of Major Champions
FMBT Year End Event – April 2013 @ Sunset Lanes
“Competing on the PBA Tour was a highlight for me bowling against the best! My best finish was placing 6th in the 1984 PBA Denver Open missing the TV show by 50 pins (averaging 218 for 42 games). At the age of 22 this was a big accomplishment for me being the alternate for the TV show. I also got the chance to meet legendary sportscaster, Chris Schenkel.
( http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=MnC2qUIr2Dw) You can see me underneath Gerry Keslar’s left elbow on the first shot about 2:18 into it with the dark blue shirt and big glasses …haha. I bowled match play against PBA greats like Norm Duke, Walter Ray Williams, Brian Voss and Pete Weber. I remember the match against Pete Weber where he needed to just fill the 10th to beat me and he left a 4 pin and got upset and proceeded to miss it to lose the match. He let his temper get the best of him.
Another highlight was being inducted into the ND Hall of Fame. It’s great to be recognized by your peers for all of the hard work you put in.”
I also asked Mike why he started bowling:
“Early on my parents brought me along to their mixed league at Red River Lanes. But it wasn’t until my older sister took me bowling at the age of 8 that my passion for bowling grew. I started out bowling with 2 hands like Jason Belmonte and actually did pretty good but eventually changed.”
“I’d like to give a little plug for our 1st Annual Sunset Lanes Summer Skills Bowling Camp coming up for anyone 12 years of age and older including adults that would like to improve their game. There will be 3 sessions (dates to be determined) one in June, one in July and one in August. All sessions will be held on Sundays from 3-6pm at Sunset Lanes with a cost of $20 for each session and you can do one or all 3 sessions whatever you would like.
We’re inviting the only Silver Level coach in North Dakota Monte Lebeau, Bronze Level coach Carl Gorman, I will be there along with other local talented bowlers to help out.
We’ve all been impacted by coaching in our lives no matter what sport it is and so we wanted to provide an opportunity to do the same and make it affordable and allow people to learn more about this great game of ours and in turn have more fun themselves competing in leagues and tournaments. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.”
Through a simple approach to the game and many noteworthy performances, Morris has also become one of the most feared bowlers in the area. Mike proved this last weekend by taking down a very talented field at the FMBT year end event which was held at Sunset Lanes on the US Open pattern. Regardless of the event or lane condition, you can never count Mike Morris out of an event. As many bowlers out there know, when you see a bowler achieve great success, other bowlers try to replicate what they do or where they play on the lane. With Mike Morris, that’s not possible. Morris creates a roll that defies logic in bowling. I continue to be amazed at how Mike can create such a simple reaction off the end of the pattern while still generating consistent carry. I can assure you that Mike is one of the last guys I would want to run into in match play and many others would agree with me. I, like many others, have a great amount of respect for Mr. Morris and I encourage everyone to take a moment to get to know a pretty classy guy.
Do you know Mike or have good stories about him? Please leave a comment! Thank you for visiting NDBowling.com