Morenci bowler Jeff Shadbolt placed the highest among Lenawee Country participants last month in the third annual Adrian Open. The event marked Shadbolt’s first competition as a member of the Professional Bowler’s Association (PBA).
Lenawee Recreation was the host site for the annual event honoring national touring competitor Mike Koivuniemi.
Koivuniemi, ranked 49th in the PBA list of the 50 best bowlers of all time, competed in the Adrian event April 17-19 along with several other national touring players.
“It was pretty neat,” Shadbolt said, and it was also a little intimidating going up against Koivuniemi. “I had to compete against some of the guys you see on TV. I just wanted to be competitive.”
He accomplished that, placing 33rd among 82 entries with an eight-game total of 1,705 and a 213 average.
“I was just 20 pins out of the money,” Shadbolt said.
He’s had some help from other area PBA members he knows, and he ended up beating the one who has given him the most assistance.
Other county entries were Derek Hively, Matt Richard, Darrin Griewahn and Jim Hennessey.
Shadbolt recorded a 216 average in Morenci this year, good enough for the second best standing in 50 years of Mor-N-C Lanes history.
He submitted his statistics with an application to the PBA and was given membership. That gives him the opportunity to enter the qualifying round of PBA events, but he expects to mostly compete in the central region, where many of the events are in Ohio and southern Michigan.
Regional events are scheduled during the summer; national competition takes place in the winter.
Shadbolt figures he started bowling when he was a preschooler as he followed his father, Ken, to the bowling alley. He gave it up for a few years, then started in again when he was in middle school. He hasn’t stopped since.
Now he’s making PBA participation a family tradition, following his father as a qualifying member of the national organization.