Gary Davis, 61, of Bend was recently inducted into the Oregon State Bowling Hall of Fame. He is the first man from Central Oregon to be inducted since 1992. Davis has been bowling for some 50 years in Oregon and working with youth bowling programs for approximately 40 years.
, 61, of Bend was recently inducted into the Oregon State Bowling Hall of Fame
is the first man from Central Oregon to be inducted since 1992.Davis
has been bowling for some 50 years in Oregon and working with youth bowling programs for approximately 40 years.
comes from a town that no longer exists, and he
is most passionate about a sport that many would suggest is similarly off the map.
But that hardly matters to Davis
first job was as a pinsetter at a two-lane bowling alley within a nameless recreation center in the Polk County town of Valsetz in western Oregon.It was a town that ran out when the mill business did, as Davis
Now 61, the longtime Bend resident has been bowling for nearly 50 years.
And if you call him on an ordinary weekday afternoon, he
just might be watching bowling on ESPN Classic.
"It's a sport, but if you can't make fun of yourself, well, what sport haven't they made fun of?"says Davis
was one of only two bowlers inducted into the state hall of fame this year.
Although there is no actual hall, inductees are listed in the Oregon State USBC record books.
According to Davis
, one must apply to be inducted.The USBC then looks not only at a bowler's accomplishments, but also at the nominee's involvement with the sport.
has the latter criterion in the bag, so to speak.The new inductee has been working with youth bowling programs for some 40 years as well as teaching adults bowling technique on an individual basis."Youth programs, to me, are something that is very important," notes Davis, chairman of the Youth Committee of the Oregon State USBC and the father of three accomplished female bowlers.
"I've seen kids that didn't have anything else and bowling was the thing that kept them going."
On some level, Davis
"I liked the people I met bowling.The older bowlers were always real nice to us kids," he
says, recalling his
younger years."I tried to play football and baseball, but it was so political.It was about who you were and who your folks were.The bowling center just welcomed you.It was like, 'Come on in.' What a novel idea."Davis
work with bowling in the fourth grade, when he
first job as a pinsetter.He
and a friend used to race to the rec center in Valsetz on their bikes, and the first one there had the privilege of setting up the pins.
"You might get tipped a quarter if you did a good job," remembers Davis
Then, in 1958, his
family moved to Salem, where Davis
began bowling at Cherry City Bowl, which has since been shut down.
Through high school, Davis
played on all-star teams during the summer and on regular and junior leagues through the winter.
tells it, beginning a full-time job at the local grocery store and entering Salem Technical Vocational Community College
(now Chemeketa Community College) in Salem were not reasons to give up his
favorite activity after high school graduation.While studying mechanical drafting and surveying, Davis
bowled on his
father's team - Halton Tractor - at Cherry City and North Gate Bowl in Salem.After moving to Bend in 1978 to work as a draftsman for Century West Engineering and then for the city as an assistant street supervisor, he began bowling at Greenwood Bowl (since closed down) near Fifth Street and Greenwood Avenue and Cascade Bowl, which is now Dilusso Coffee Bakery Cafe at Bond Street and Franklin Avenue.Davis
has now been bowling for 10 years with team Pine View Building and Landscaping at Lava Lanes in Bend.
regularly competes in state and national tournaments, although he
finished last year with an average of 211 for 2005, and although he
owns more bowling balls than he
can count, Davis
insists there are more significant aspects of his
bowling career."Any bowling average is good when you're having fun," says Davis, who is president of the Bend USBC Association.
"I've also loved coaching.It's fun to see people smile when you help out.You're not going to make everyone a 200-average bowler, but if you make people good within their own ability, you've accomplished something."Davis
is particularly proud of having helped make the club sport of bowling a reality at all three Bend high schools.He
continues to coach each of the three teams.
"We've had a hard time getting people to recognize bowling as a sport, though they recognize other things as sports that we might not consider," notes Davis