Erie bowler Robert Montgomery Jr. recently passed the USBC Open milestone

Robert Montgomery Jr. had his seventh career perfect game last month.

This happened 43 years after bowler Erie’s first 300 years and 50 years after his first appearance at a United States Bowling Congress Open.

By 1971, Montgomery said, all tracks were timber and some facilities still employed pin seters.

Which shows how long the freelance house painter has been active in the sport.

Montgomery competed in the 1971 USBC Open, which was a year after graduating from McDowell.

Without last year, when the traditional three-month national competition was canceled due to COVID-19, he has since competed.

Montgomery played on May 2, day two of the 2021 tournament, at the South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas. He was accompanied by John Ferretti, the owner of Rolling Meadow Lanes off Zuck Road.

When that happened, USBC officials presented him with a trophy to honor his 50th consecutive appearance.

“I’m just happy that I’ve been able to stay pretty healthy all these years,” Montgomery said. “Traveling and meeting all of these different bowlers is fantastic. You can see different cities that I would probably never get the chance (to see). “

Montgomery has been married to his wife, Barbara, for 39 of his 50 years as a USBC bowler. He started the sport in the mid-1960s, shortly after his parents moved to Millcreek Township.

It was as a teenage employee of the old Lakewood Lanes, later known as Presque Isle Lanes, that bowling became more than a passing interest for Montgomery.

“The owner’s son was responsible (for the tracks) for the most part,” he said. “He let teenagers like us work there and sometimes stop to check on us and retrieve the registry. We were kids, but we were all like family, so he gave me and two friends the keys to the lane and said, “You’re running the place for the summer.

“We have to go bowling every night and, boy, we did. I think I increased my average by 50 pins. “

The debut of the 1971 USBC Open at Montgomery came when Kenny Trieber, who played for a league team sponsored by Ferraro Ford, was unable to attend that year’s tournament in Detroit. Trieber asked Montgomery if he was interested in taking his place among the local attendees.

Montgomery couldn’t say yes quickly enough.

Trieber, on behalf of Ferraro Ford, even allowed Erie’s contingent to travel to Motor City in a new Thunderbird.

“That part was pretty cool,” Montgomery said. “I don’t think it happens too often anymore.”

Once again, Trieber could not commit to the 1972 Open USBC.

Once again, Montgomery was more than happy to proxy.

Trieber gave him $ 600 to enjoy on his cross-country trip to Long Beach, California.

Since then, Montgomery has traveled the country to participate in the Open USBC. He has played over 440 games and knocked down over 82,000 pins in his May 2 appearance.

Montgomery is one of 25 bowlers the USBC will honor with 50-year-old participation prizes by the July 18 final of its 2021 tournament. Three more are in line to receive 60- or 65-year-old trophies.

Three other bowlers, including USBC Hall of Fame inductees Joe Norris and Bill Doehrman, share the record for most tournament appearances. Each competed 71 times.

Montgomery would be 90 years old or so if he eclipsed that standard.

Is this record still achievable for Montgomery?

“Let’s put it this way,” he says. “If I’m still here, I’ll go there.”

Fundraising Tournament: Greengarden Lanes will host the Memorial Day Weekend Charity Tournament to benefit one of its employees.

Philip Harris Jr., 24, was diagnosed with leukemia last month. Greengarden staff hosted their “Fight for Phil” tournament on May 29 to help with his medical bills.

Harris has worked in The Alleys, 1583 W. 38th St., since he was 16.

The tournament will be played in a nine-pin format, with no tap. Shifts will begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with 24 teams of five bowlers scheduled per shift.

As of Tuesday, there were seven team spots available for the 10 a.m. shift and one for the 2 p.m. shift. The cost of registration is $ 25 per person.

Call 814-864-2642 to enter or for more information.

Contact Mike Copper at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ETNcopper.

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