LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Bowling had its heyday 30 to 40 years ago. It seemed like everyone enjoyed a few strings, maybe in a weekly league.
And while society has changed and bowling's popularity waned - THV 11's Rolly Hoyt introduces us to a tour right here in Arkansas where the region's best bowlers still get a chance to knock down some serious cash.
It's a sunny Memorial Day weekend, and yet some five dozen diverse athletes are in Maumelle to help out a friend. They're bowlers and they're regulars on a tour run by Greg O'Neal.
"We're here today for a fundraiser for my grandson, Connor Jackson. His father passed away in a motorcycle accident in April."
Chris O'Neal was a combat medic in Iraq and served on the state National Guard. His accident last month led to the postponing of his father's tournaments.
All these people quickly helped O'Neal and his family get back in the swing, putting together this tournament on short notice.
Greg leads the Arkansas Scratch Bowlers Tour, a series of events at bowling centers around the state. They are geared toward really good bowlers, but not necessarily pros.
"Bowling is a game that everybody can do, but don't just think you can show up when Greg O'Neal puts on one of these tournaments. They attract some of the best bowlers across the entire south," said Rachel Perez.
Perez is from Maumelle, but used to tour the country as part of the Ladies' PBA. She has a case full of rings from 300 games and 800 series strings. She sounds like any number of athletes when she describes that in-the-zone feeling.
"I just really try to concentrate on one thing. Sometimes I have a song in my head. Just get the same song in my head and then I go."
Getting the right playlist is a start. Perez and O'Neal have other tips that could take you from average to scratch at your local lanes.