King Kretzer rules Delphos

Jack Hammill - Guest Columnist

He is a humble king but he is a king none the less.

Brian Kretzer has rolled in four tournaments at Delphos Bowling and Recreation and the result has been four victories. “This building just seems to love my bowling balls,” was a knee-jerk reaction following his victory.

“Maybe next year you should bring some different ones – was the response of one of the PBA50 rollers that he had vanquished over the weekend.

Kretzer was the headliner in what was a great weekend in Delphos for some of Bruce and Lisa Vanmetre’s greatest friends.

Bruce was very open about his love for the men who make it back to his lanes for this event each season.

“It is really great spending time with these guys. I am actually closer to some of them than the people that I see around home. I guess it is because when I am with them I get the chance to be one of the guys.”

We shared a moment or two about how we miss Guppy Troup who helped him draw the first Mel Westrich event together 13 years ago. “We do miss him. He really has not made many trips since his stroke three years ago. We appreciate all that he did to help in the earlier days. We miss him now.”

Vanmetre did not miss the chance to further honor his great friend Troup. With microphone in hand following the presentation of the championship eagle to Kretzer, he announced that next week the highest ranked PBA50 member of the Friday night Sweeper that kicks off the event would win the “Guppy Cup” to honor the tournament founder. There was something that was said about a shot of Crown Royal Reserve as well. I could almost feel Guppy getting into his car.

Where Troup is the past of the event – Kretzer is certainly the present and the immediate future. It was not only his fourth Delphos title – it was his 15th regional PBA50 championship, and his sixth in the last calendar year. He also holds one PBA50 national nod.

I was always a fan of Kretzer when he was an exempt member in the good old days of the PBA tour. He not only loved the game but he just seemed to have the knack of having fun with others. He is one of the reasons that I contend that in so many ways bowlers are just normal guys. On Saturday we were talking Buckeyes and on Sunday the Browns. In between he won a title.

He also did a great deal to assist in the jump start of added funding for the West Ohio High School Bowling conference and the Coldwater Pro events as well as professional bowler appearances at conference banquets. He is a good man.

On Sunday he was also very humble. He was quick to praise Bruce, Lisa and the staff of Delphos Recreation. Vanmetre shared that the lanes are for sale at the right price if Kretzer wants to buy it – easier to store those balls that the building likes!

It was an interesting conversation we had as well as he pointed to his age as being a key factory to his recent surge up the PBA50 ranks. Granted their

were several PBA50 super-seniors in the group but they were extremely talented individuals.

Kretzer wins because he is good, very good.

Vanmetre also referenced the super-seniors present as we spoke. “When you consider that the tournament is now 13 years old, it stands to reason that we would have a few. A lot of these guys have been with me since the tournament started.”

That statement broadened the impact that the Friday night events had on me. Steve Perry could be heard in the background and even on the lanes with some of the bowlers doing their best Steve Perry imitations. There was money to be won, yet the evening had a strong vibe of fellowship. In so many ways it was like the crew being together again.

It was like the family reunion that we all would love to have. I shared with Bruce that it was one of my favorite tournament memories perhaps ever. It was fun to sit back, enjoy a mushroom and swiss burger and take it all in.

Vanmetre agreed, “We are family.”, a conversation that drifted off to our mutual love for Guppy – simply cannot wait until next year.

While Kretzer again dominated, the tournament officially ended when he marked in the first frame of the position round – there were four local representatives in the event who battle the 41 foot Marshall Holman pattern.

Bob Edwards finished back in the back but closed strong. Vanmetre was a spot or so ahead of him. James Thorbin cashed in the tournament and just missed the final round of twelve with two unfortunate misses in his final game on Saturday evening.

Randy Schroeder of Ottawa finished in seventh place – finishing with a 6-5-1 record on Sunday’s 12 match games. It was a great finish for a great guy.

As I close today we have two members of the local bowling community who are going to be facing critical medical procedures in the weeks to come. Many of you are already in the know as to who they may be. I really do not feel it would be right to share names at this time. What I do know is that if you give it to God for them that God will hear your prayers.

Jack Hammill

Guest Columnist

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