No shortage of fun at O'Connor Challenge
|Anna Maria Island Community Center Executive Director Pierrette Kelly shows off a check for $1,500 with George O'Connor, Chris and Tammy Woodward and Bill O'Connor.
A bevy of bowlers showed up to participate in the 14th Annual O'Connor Bowling Challenge, which took place Saturday, Aug. 28, at AMF Bradenton Lanes on Cortez Road.
The charity bowling event drew 215 bowlers to the fun-filled evening, which was down some from the 280 who bowled last year. Despite the lower number of participants, the event was again an unparalleled success, raising $8,075, which will be used to purchase sports equipment for the Anna Maria Island Community Center.
It brings to $115,000 the total raised by the tournament in 14 years, all of it to the Center's sports programs.
Numbers may have been even lower had it not been for the efforts of Tammy and Chris Woodward of SS-20 Building Systems (a Mike Carter company and George O'Connor's employer), who cajoled 20-some people into bowling and provided a check for $1,500 to the cause.
Peggy Davenport of Duffy's Tavern fame also played a big role in the financial success of the tourney by selling raffle tickets. Peggy doesn't let too many people get away without purchasing "beaucoup" raffle tickets. If she went about the business of selling beer at Duffy's with the same fervor, there would be a lot of people departing Duffy's in a cab!
Once again George and Billy O'Connor, their respective spouses Sue and Sharon, Bill and Jennifer Lowman and Sandy Pruett of the Center did a great job putting the tournament together, while a big thanks goes out to Chris McNamara, who helped bring in donations for the prize raffle - as did the staff at The Islander, the event's sponsor.
As the exclusive event sponsor, The Islander provides advertising, flyers, posters and the top prize in its package every year for a virtual no-cost event. Many thanks for the generosity of the merchants and businesses that donated gift certificates and raffle prizes to the tourney, even if it was to make the beggars go away!
Billy O'Connor was amazed at how much money they raised this year. "We had 90-some less bowlers, but thanks to the generosity of those that did show up, we were only about $1,000 short of the amount we raised last year."
The big distraction? Possibly Hurricane Charley, as lots of Island folks are helping in the relief effort - or stressed by the sight of more hurricanes in the Atlantic.
One bright spot in the lower numbers was the fact that for the first time in four or five years, this writer actually wore a pair of bowling shoes that weren't three sizes too big. My scores didn't show any improvement from previous tournaments, but a 6-7-10 spare was definitely a highlight, along with the usual fun that goes on at the lanes.
Though the O'Connor Bowling Challenge is the only time during the year that most people in the field bowl, there were some outstanding performances to go along with the mostly mediocre-at-best results turned in by the rest of the field.
On the men's side, Rich Gompton had a 245 game to go along with a three-game total of 646 to win men's high game and series. Women's high game was turned in by Jackie Cate with 212, while Sue Delosh had a three-game series score of 533 to take top honors among the women bowlers.
Husband Ed Delosh earned some distinction as well when he managed a 65 to win low score of the tournament for the men and the title "Gutter King." His female counterpart for low score was Tricia Jonker with a low of 30.
The big winner of the evening turned out to be Sean Waters of Solo's Pizza in Holmes Beach, who won the raffle for the super-big flat-screen TV donated by The Islander. His excitement was evident when he ran up to claim his prize during the awards ceremony at the Cortez Kitchen.
"I really needed that TV," Sean said, along with lots of big hugs.
Congratulations to everyone who participated.
Locals claim prizes in Ski-A-Ree wakeboard contest
Logan Bystrom, 17, and Nick Taylor, 15, both of Holmes Beach, both brought home trophies from the Ski-A-Ree's wakeboarding and wakeskating contests held Aug. 28 at the ski club's home on City Island next to Mote Marine in Sarasota.
Taylor claimed first place in the Division 1 wakeskating competition, while compatriot Tommy Rudek of northwest Bradenton took second place. Bystrom brought home a second-place trophy in the Division A wakeskating competition.
Wakeskating is pretty much like wakeboarding except for the fact that there are no straps to hold the board to the feet of the rider.
Other locals to fare well in the competition were Stuart Shinn, 15, who claimed top honors in the advanced wakeboarding division, while Ryan Bergeron, 18, brought home a second-place trophy.
Many thanks to Elizabeth and Mitch Bergeron and the Ski-A-Rees for use of their great facility, which made this contest possible.
Spirit Week started Tuesday and continues through Sept. 3. Teams in all soccer divisions will play scrimmage games to warm up for the season. Fans will also have a chance to get warmed up with a fan spirit challenge. During the first 15 minutes of each game, a tally will be taken of how many fans wear their team's colors. Top-spirited teams will be announced during the awards ceremony.