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Published on: Friday, March 02, 2007 by the Sauk Valley Newspaper
Sterling-Rock Falls bowling tourney turns 60
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Bowling stories tend to grow taller as the years go by. Some new ones will likely grow from this weekend's Sterling-Rock Falls City Tournament.

On Saturday, the 60th city tournament will kick off at 1:30 p.m. at Blackhawk Lanes. The team event will run into Sunday afternoon before giving way to the single and doubles action, which takes place at Rock River Bowling Center in Rock Falls on March 10-11.

"It's the city tournament, and to me it's always been around," said Anthony Walters, a member of the tournament's publicity committee. "There are a lot of guys who have done it every year its been around."

Walters and fellow publicity committee member TJ Paone, who owns Blackhawk Lanes, are both relatively new members to the City Tournament Field. Sterling-Rock Falls Bowling Hall of Famers such as Al Hunsberger, Al Randall and Leo Veracini have had long running tenors in the tournament along with local leagues.

"While I don't know if it's the longest running tournament in the state, it is probably one of the longest of its kind outside of the Chicago area," Paone said. "That sort of makes it a unique event for the area. It's survived by having a strong base of guys that keep coming back to go along with the newer faces that come along."

Blackhawk and Rock River share the event by alternating who hosts the team event and the singles and doubles each year. The event was bowled at the Coliseum in Sterling and Emerald Hill before both lanes closed.

There have been numerous highlights at the tournament. One that stands out for Walters was a game by Troy Smith in 2003. Smith bowled a 300 game in his last game to finish with a 803 series.

"That has always stood out for me," Walters said. "I guess it was one of the first years I was in the tournament, so that is why I remember it. I am sure there are guys that could tell a lot of stories like that."

In 1999, the team of Mike Devine, Al Randall, Skip Wolfe, Dennis Hay and Vern Myers set what was then the second highest team pin total in the state and the fourth highest nationally with 3,795 pins.

Reprinted from the March 2, 2007 issue of the Sauk Valley Sunday