July 1st, 2013

Billy Reed: Holy Rollers vs. Gutterdogs a grudge match


Billy Reed

Executive Editor

Billy Reed: Holy Rollers vs. Gutterdogs a grudge match
PBA Hall of Famer Billy Hardwick would look good in a Holly Rollers shirt / photo from usbcongress.http.internapcdn.net

Many years ago I wrote a column about Billy Hardwick, a Louisvillian who was making a name for himself on the pro bowling tour. To show their appreciation, his equipment manufacturer sent me a bowling ball, a bag to carry it in and a pair of bowling shoes.

Through several household moves, these items remain in my possession. I’m not sure why because I’ve seldom used them, even though I’ve always enjoyed myself on those rare occasions when I had the chance to bowl.

The last time was about five years ago and, as I recall, the ball seemed about 20 pounds heavier than it was when I got it. I think that’s because my upper body strength, which was never high, has been diminished by age.

However, I’m dragging out my ball and shoes so I can participate in what will surely go down as the grandest bowling event ever held in Louisville. At 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at the Fern Valley Strike & Spare lanes, my team –– the Louisville Catholic Sports Network Holy Rollers –– will take on the WKRD-790 Afternoon Gutterdogs in what promises to be the Evel Knievel Grand Canyon Jump of bowling events.

The, ah, historic event will be carried live from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on the Afternoon Underdogs Show on WKRD-790. This is because the show’s co-host, Dave Jennings, is captain of the Gutterdogs and his sidekick Tony Vanetti is one of his keglers. (That’s a bowling, not a beer, term).

The idea is not so much to make fools of ourselves, which we do on an everyday basis, but to help feed some needy children through Blessings in a Backpack. To get involved, go to Blessingsinabackpack.org and choose either the Gutterdogs or the Holy Rollers. All proceeds will go to Blessings in a Backpack.

My teammates on the Holy Rollers will be –– drum roll, please ­–– Bellarmine men’s basketball coach Scott Davenport; Bellarmine recruit and Kentucky High School All-Star Rusty Troutman of Bullitt East High; Angie Fenton, managing editor of The Voice Tribune and WHAS-TV personality; Leon Middleton, sax player and an original member of The Monarchs; and Chris Ellison, a champion high school bowler.

Of this bunch, only Ellison is what you might call a serious bowler. I mean, this is just a fun event, right? Well, Jennings apparently didn’t get the memo. His team includes Bill Powers, a member of the Louisville Bowling Hall of Fame, and Mike Wolfe, a four-time winner on the Professional Bowlers Association tour.

This is sort of like putting the neighborhood softball team up against The Big Red Machine. I don’t know if bookmakers can make odds on a bowling match, but I’d have to guess that the Gutterdogs would have to be about a 1-9 favorite.

Of course, the Gutterdogs also have the aforementioned Vanetti, who will be lucky to keep his ball in the right lane, and Cindi Sullivan of WHAS-840, who may want to bowl with heads of lettuce if she can’t find a ball.

The Gutterdog squad will be rounded out by meteorologist Andy Weingarten of WAVE-3, who has already declared that he will have to leave early to turn on the sirens in case a gust of wind is felt in Okolona.

Now I need to find a few things for our team. Such as cool bowling shirts. And I need a couple of ladies to dress up in Laverne & Shirley outfits to be our cheerleaders. Wasn’t The Fonz a bowler? I need a guy strutting around in a ducktail haircut and a white T-shirt with his cigarettes rolled up in the sleeves.

The event is open to the public and admission is considerably less than what you would pay at the KFC Yum! Center. In fact, it’s free, although donations to Blessings in a Backpack would be greatly appreciated. This is a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to engage in wholesome, All-American activities such as, oh, jeering Vanetti or falling down laughing when I drop my personal ball on my personal foot.

And by the way, please don’t get the wrong idea about my team’s nickname. At Louisville Catholic Sports Network, we do not speak in tongues or writhe around on the floor -– unless, of course, we are celebrating a Bellarmine basketball victory.

One more thing: Anybody know whatever happened to Billy Hardwick? He was voted one of the 50 greatest PBA members of all time. He would look good in a Holy Rollers shirt on July 11.



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