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Veteran Ryan Shafer faces youthful challenge in title defense


A year ago, the PBA Tour Xtra Frame Gene Carter’s Pro Shop East Classic was billed as a match between some of the Professional Bowlers Association’s most successful veterans vs. the next generation of stars.

In 2015, victory went to the older-and-wiser portion of the field when 30-year PBA veteran Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., ended a 12-year title slump, winning his fifth career PBA Tour title with a 254-144 romp past 22-year-old Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.

2016WBTThailandAnthonySimonsen2015PBAWSOBEJTackettThe story remains pretty much the same in 2016 when Shafer – who turns 50 on Thursday, the day before activity gets underway at Mid-County Bowling and Entertainment in Middletown, Delaware – and a strong field of PBA veterans will again take on a potent field of rising stars Saturday and Sunday, including 19-year-old PBA Player of the Year contender Anthony Simonsen (left) of Austin, Texas, and 2013 PBA Rookie of the Year EJ Tackett (right) of Huntington, Ind.

All of Saturday and Sunday’s action will be covered live, exclusively by PBA’s Xtra Frame online bowling channel.

At stake in the PBA East Region’s largest and most prestigious tournament of the year will be a $15,000 first prize and, for PBA members, a PBA Tour title. In addition, the tournament is part of an eight-event Xtra Frame PBA Tour Series which will reward the overall points leader with a $10,000 bonus at the conclusion of the series.

Tackett is the points leader heading into Middletown with 53 points. Other points contenders who are entered include Tommy Jones, 46; Cheektowaga’s Ryan Ciminelli, 44; Simonsen, 31; Kyle Troup, 23, and Gary Faulkner Jr., 21.

In Xtra Frame Series events, the winner earns 25 points, second place earns 19 and points decline by one for each place through 20th.

2016BHRPatrickAllen2016PBA5009ParkerBohn2Veteran PBA Tour champions among the capacity-field of 180 entries include Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C.; Patrick Allen (left) of Mount Kisco, N.Y.; Parker Bohn III (right) of Jackson, N.J.; Ciminelli; 2014 champion Jason Couch of Clermont, Fla.; Tom Daugherty of Tampa, Fla.; Mike Fagan of Benicia, Calif.; Michael Haugen Jr. of Phoenix, Ariz.; Jones of Simpsonville, S.C.; Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa.; Anthony Pepe of Elmhurst, N.Y.; Ronnie Russell of Marion, Ind.; Jason Sterner of Cocoa, Fla.; two-hander Troup of Taylorsville, N.C.; Danny Wiseman of Baltimore, and Dave Wodka of Beavercreek, Ohio.

Challenging the established PBA stars will be a number of next-generation stars including Tackett, Simonsen, BJ Moore of Greensburg, Pa.; John Szczerbinski of N. Tonawanda, N.Y., and AJ Johnson of Oswego, Ill., among others.

The tournament also is a PBA-PWBA Women’s Regional points event, and will include a handful of women including recently-crowned PWBA Tour champions Rocio Restropo of Louisville, Ohio.

The Gene Carter Pro Shop East Classic gets underway on Friday with a practice session for tournament players from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., followed by pro-am squads at 3, 5:15 and 8 p.m. when grassroots league bowlers – men, women, kids, seniors – can bowl with PBA stars for their own prizes.

Competition begins with three seven-game qualifying squads on Saturday at 8 a.m., 1:30 and 7 p.m., with the top 24 players advancing to the modified 16-game round-robin match play finals on Sunday starting at 9 a.m. Based upon combined 23-game pinfall totals (including 30 bonus pins for matches won), the top four will compete in a stepladder finale at approximately 6:45 p.m.

For pro-am information, call Mid-County Bowling and Entertainment at (302) 378-0677.

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Mid-County Bowling & Entertainment Center in Middletown, Del., USA (Aug. 19-21, 2016)

(all times Eastern)

Friday, Aug. 19, 2016
11 a.m. – Practice Session
3 p.m. – AB Sports Junior Scholarship pro-am
5:15, 8 p.m. – Williams Family Auto Mall adult pro-am squads

Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016
8 a.m. – A Squad, 7 qualifying games
1:30 p.m. – B Squad, 7 qualifying games
7 p.m. – C Squad, 7 qualifying games
Top 24 after 7 games advance to match play

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016
9 a.m. – Top 24, 16 games modified round robin match play
6:45 p.m. – Top four based on 23-game composite pinfall advance to a stepladder finals.

Herbert Bickel

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