By Al Pote

DECATUR - In the eyes of many, Johnny Petraglia and Mark Roth were the top tag-team in bowling for nearly two decades, and both players have excelled well into their fifties. But a recent tragedy has separated them on the lanes, and the effort of one friend to assist the other has brought the pair even closer.

"We grew up in Brooklyn about 10 minutes apart," Petraglia said in reference to Roth, who suffered a stroke in June and has started the long road to recovery. Though the two competed on opposite sides of the lanes, they often teamed in doubles competition, both earning Hall of Fame status and high positions on the all-time PBA Top-50.

Petraglia, 62, is relying on scores of helpers and donors to aid Roth with his living expenses and, in a perfect world, help return the legendary right-hander to the sport that made them household names.

With the help of Roth's former sponsor Brunswick, Petraglia is organizing 60 raffles across the country, where the prize is a commemorative PBA Anniversary bowling ball. One is being raffled at Spare Time Lanes during this week's Miller Lite PBA Decatur Senior Open.

"I was horrified when I heard about (Roth's stroke), because I was thinking he's so young (58) and he's such a close friend," Petraglia said. The 21-time tour champion southpaw, who bowls out of Manalapan, NJ, has also been a longtime Brunswick staffer, and John is effusive with praise for his employer's dedication.

"It's equivalent to an executive's salary," said Petraglia of the amount of money necessary to ship the bowling balls and coordinate the events. One of the deliveries was to Roth's home, where he was able to autograph the special balls, adding an even more special touch to a great cause.

Petraglia, who earned a national senior title earlier this spring in Florida, is also teaming with Parker Bohn III to hold benefits for the Roth family. They raised $2300 on a single day in July, and a new event is scheduled for October 4 in Howell, NJ.

"Mark has waited until the room was empty and then tried to get out of his chair on his own, falling twice," Petraglia said of Roth. "Even in recovery, he's still a fierce competitor."


Perhaps the most unheralded world-record holder in sports is in Decatur this weekend, working to add to his list of professional bowling titles.

"I kind of like being under-the-radar," said Dale Traber, currently in third place on the 2009 PBA Seniors point list. In his career, Traber has earned more regional championships than any other bowler, with 35 on the under-50 circuit, six Senior regional wins and two National Resident Pro titles.

Earlier this season, Traber captured two national crowns on the West Coast swing, winning in Brentwood, California, and then later in Las Vegas at the USBC Senior Masters.

"Vegas was really good to me this year, also winning the Team and Team All-Events in the USBC Open Championships," Traber said. "I like the grind-out conditions where I may be able to outsmart the others."

Like many seniors, Traber has a full-time job, and in Dale's case, he works a pair of occupations. Traber has been with JCPenney in Wisconsin for 32 years, and he is now working with a teammate to refurbish bowling centers.

Regarding Decatur, Traber's career has mirrored his current season. "I'm like Jekyll and Hyde; I finished second to Eugene McCune a few years ago, but I've put up zeroes too. I do enjoy coming here."

Traber denied local pro Bennie Holman of a title in Taylorville, a tournament Traber admitted "fell into my lap."

"My semifinal opponent made a mistake that got me into the title match, and Bennie missed a spare at the end, but he was tough. We went at it in sudden death for several frames until he went high."

Traber and Petraglia will be at Spare Time Lanes with 108 fellow competitors for the first round of qualifying Sunday [today] at 9am and 4pm.
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Final Results of the 2018-2019 Open Championships (City Tournament)

80th Annual Decatur USBC Open
Championship: Feb. 16-Mar. 10, 2019 - at Spare Time Lanes

Handicap Singles

  • Daniel Goebel - 793
  • Cory Hollis - 768
  • Michael Abel - 756

Scratch Singles

  • Phillip Barry - 747
  • Shawn Reed - 738
  • Jason Queen - 729

Handicap Doubles

  • Tom Adcock/Jason Queen - 1533
  • Garrett Strohl/Jarid Thompson - 1488
  • Bob Gray/Frank Bilyeu - 1458

Scratch Doubles

  • Tom Adcock/Jason Queen - 1533
  • Tim Frey/Phillip Barry - 1372
  • Patty Dodd/Bennie Holman - 1358

Handicap All Events

  • Cory Hollis - 2285
  • Bryson Poe - 2210
  • Jason Queen - 2168

Scratch All-Events

  • Jason Queen - 2168
  • Tim Frey - 2156
  • James Heckwine - 2113

Handicap Team

  • Nic Riley (Nic Riley, Ben McCoy, Michael Wilcox, Jon Alford, Phillip Barry) - 3634
  • Dad's Team - 3535
  • Bring Back Pla-Mor - 3406

Scratch Team

  • Nic Riley (Nic Riley, Ben McCoy, Michael Wilcox, Jon Alford, Phillip Barry) - 3567
  • Bring Back Pla-Mor - 3406
  • Balls Deep - 3187