Fargo, ND – NDBowling.com traveled to the Fargo-Moorhead area this weekend for the annual Bowling Classic. This tournament has seen changes over the years, but the tradition and rich history of the event has remained instilled in the minds of local bowlers. With several new-comers and past champions in attendance, this years Classic would prove just as exciting as prior years.
The action started on Saturday where qualifying rounds were held at Liberty Lanes in East Grand Forks and Sunset Lanes in Moorhead. With 27 entering at Liberty, and 44 at Sunset, this meant that top 11 in Grand Forks and the top 13 in Moorhead after 8 games would advance to Sundays second round. Many competitors voiced their displeasure with the number of bowlers advancing from each house, but a misinterpretation of the rules on the poster left management with a tough decision and the 11 & 13 split was made final.
In East Grand Forks, the old wood lanes gave bowlers fits and the scoring pace remained realtively low. The cut to advance to Sundays second round was +40. In Moorhead, the scoring pace was extremely high. Bowling on Kegels’ Route 66, bowlers were able to navigate the pattern fairly easily and the race was on. Leading all qualifiers in Moorhead was Mike Harris of Jamestown finishing with an 8 game total well over +300. The cut to advance to Sundays action was +134.
On Sunday, all 24 bowlers gathered at Sunset Lanes in Moorhead for the second round. Bowlers were divided into two groups of 12. Each group would bowl round robin matches with the winners receiving 30 bonus points. After 12 games, the top 5 bowlers would advance to the stepladder finals where a champion would be crowned. Leading all bowlers on Sunday and claiming the #1 seed for the stepladder finals was Adam Peters. Making his first ever appearance in the Classic, the NDSU Bowling Team Member showed poise and determination as one of the youngest bowlers in the field. Joining Peters in the stepladder finals were Matt Smallin of Minot, ND and past Classic champions Mike Morris, Travis Hersrud, and Russ Meyer.
— Daren Seney | NDBowling.com
Reporting on the Stepladder Finals, Tim Berstch
EDIT: Travis Hersrud defeated Russ Meyer in match one.
For those of us born after the US beat the Russians at Lake Placid, the second match was more difficult to establish a rooting interest. After all, we’re the video game generation and we like the flashy and smooth personality that is Matt Smallin’s delivery talent, and antics. While many of us grew up knowing Travis and respecting his teaching and prowess and old-school carriage, Matt’s blue shirt and white pants make us think that we too might be welcome aboard his sailboat of strikes for an afternoon of sun-swept breezes and free lessons. Such was not the case for the second match. The average league bowler goes through a lane transition once or twice through the course of three games. The oil burns up and moves down and corner pins and splits are the short-term bane of their existence. These lanes already had 25 games on them and the oil pattern had more spots and streaks than a Jackson Pollock painting. Now that I think of it, the ball that Travis was throwing had coloring similar to a turtle. While I don’t believe Matt is in any way related to a rabbit, it turns out, slow and steady won the race in match number two.
The third match between Travis and The Superstar Mike Morris was as venerable and recognized as the smell of the bowling alley itself. Ancient cigarette smoke and food on the grill has a way of bringing back smiling memories of red-faced grandfathers with whiskey noses and favorite bowling stories. And while this match didn’t overflow with strikes, we all watched with a quiet reverence and wondered to ourselves, “how do these guys consistently make the finals at every tournament?” Further examination often brings to light the fact that they seem to always leave easy spares and pick them up. They also get strikes. Sometimes lots of them. They have, somehow, better pin action than the rest of us. Morris seems to never change equipment no matter the lanes—it’s as if he’s impervious to, and above of, all the variables that wear on the rest of us. When the smoke cleared and respects were paid, though, Travis continued on to the final to face Adam Peters.
After only a few shots into the final match, one thing was abundantly clear. The style and speed control of these two players showed that, like America, after the excesses of speed, spin, and rotation have moved on, the stripped-down fundamentals of the game remain. If defense wins championships, then these fundamentals were the defensive heroes that were going to help someone bring home a big check. It’s not necessary to have lots of flash—an occasional moment of excitement will do the trick. And in the meantime, make your spares and try to get a double. It’s as if, after 8 games of qualifying and 12 games of match play, we wake from a haze and realize that, after all these years, maybe those old men and their advice—reach, relax and roll; worry only about what you can control; making good shots will lead to good scores; not every pocket hit is a strike—might have been right the entire time. In the end, it was Adam Peters’ impressive performance all through match play that allowed him the confidence and ability to take home first place. When the two finalists shook hands and looked at each other, I like to think that one might have glimpsed a piece of his past, while another maybe saw a bit of the future.
— Tim Bertsch
Match 1: Hersrud def Meyer, 214-204
Match 2: Hersrud def Smallin, 243-188
Semifinals: Hersrud def Morris, 198-156
Finals: Peters def Hersrud, 226-215
Thank you to all bowlers who attended the event and thank you to Sunset Lanes and Liberty Lanes for hosting the event. I would also like to thank friend and past Classic competitor Tim Berstch for reporting on the Stepladder Finals for NDBowling.com. Please check out our upcoming events page for all of the exciting tournaments in the coming weeks. Congratulations to this years Bowling Classic Champion, Adam Peters. Nice Bowling Adam!