Gulliver, Utter claim average titles

Dan Gulliver funished the season with a high average of 236. His composite average of three leagues at Coloma Lanes was 232.6 Gulliver also tossed six 300 games this year.
Melissa Utter finished with an average of 223.78, winning the Women's Pinbuster title for the fifth consecutive year.

Gulliver, Utter claim average titles

By Tom O’Neill

            Dan Gulliver and Melissa Utter claimed the 2017-2018 bowling average titles in their respective associations. It was Gulliver’s second title in the past three years and Utter’s fifth consecutive title, setting a new average record for the Women’s Bowling Association.

            Gulliver finished with a 236 average in the Thursday Industrial League at Coloma Lanes, just ahead of Mark Pullins who averaged 234.73. The son of former Sister Lakes Bowl owner, Rocky Gulliver, led all but three weeks of the winter season. Kelley’s Bowl owner and 2017 champion Bill Froberg finished third with 234.03 in the Wildlife Seniors League at Kelley’s.

            The Coloma Lanes bowler finished second in 2017 with a 232.54 average behind Froberg and first in 2016 with 233.09 ahead of Dennis Weatherman at 228.67.

            If you try to find Gulliver Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday at Coloma Lanes, just look for the bowler in shorts, even in the middle of winter. “My dad wore shorts all year long. It’s just more comfortable” explained the left-hander.  Considering he averaged an all-time best this year, supported by 233 in the Saturday Swingers and 229 in the George Huffman Memorial, maybe he’ll start a trend. He’s lost count of 300 games but says he had six this season.

            Asked what drives him week after week the Frito-Lay salesman says “I’ve always been competitive. I want to be the best in whatever I do.” His advice to younger bowlers, “practice and make adjustments. Everybody is different. I have to move side to side.”

            Utter, who cracked the 225 average mark with two weeks left in the season at Lakeshore Lanes, finished at 223.78. Arica Angelo, bowling in Coloma’s Saturday Swingers, was second at 204.01.  Association president Sharon Paul said it appears Utter is the new title holder as they couldn’t find anyone higher in their record books. Utter averaged 202 in 2017, 210 in 2016, 218 in 2015 and 214 in 2014. She has three 300’s and is tied for the house record at Lakeshore Lanes with an 802 series (278, 300 and 224).

            “I’m really excited about this,” Utter said. “I was hoping to finish at 225 but I had a 550 series my final week.”

            The right-hander, who works for Hartwell and Wolf, bowls in two leagues at Lakeshore Lanes. Her high average was in the Friday Starlighters League. In the Wednesday Lakeshore Ladies League she averaged 218.34. “I think it’s about tempo,” Utter said explaining the difference between the two leagues. “Friday we bowl doubles and we’re in and out in about 1 ½ hours. On Wednesday it’s about 2 ½ hours. It’s hard to sit and wait.”

            She also brings an arsenal of five Motiv bowling balls ranging from the Jackal Ghost to the Tag Cannon for light oil conditions. Utter said her husband, Jason, switched her to Motiv. “It’s more reactive and he changed how I hold the ball.” Jason finished fifth in average among the male bowlers, averaging 231.69.

            Her advice to younger bowlers is “practice, practice, practice and never give up. Each frame is its own next opportunity and always make adjustments.”

            B & L Rentals won the team title, averaging 1097 scratch at Lakeshore Lanes. It’s their fifth consecutive team title. They averaged 1097 in 2017, 1096 in 2016, and 1098 in 2015. Team members include Bill Hendrixson (227), Paul Bender (225), Weatherman (223), Dave Matheny (214), Neil Vitale (214) and Bill Rath (211).  Finishing second was T’s Tap at 1074.

Lakeshore Lanes update

            As rumors continue to swirl about the possible sale of Lakeshore Lanes, owner Kirk Wutzke has assured bowlers he will continue operations at the Stevensville facility.

            Wutke’s parents, Ray and Helen, started the business in March, 1969.