If you have been a competitive bowler over the years, you probably know the name Don Scudder. He is a USBC Hall of Famer from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is one of the most decorated amateur bowlers you will find. Don’s national championships span across several decades. In fact, Don Scudder has won the two oldest tourneys in the US having won the Petersen Classic in 2014 (at age 62) and the ABC Singles title in 1996.

Don’s ties to Storm and the brands of Storm are significant, too. He used the Pacific Storm while earning two eagles and shooting 823 at the ABC National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah. And at the famed Petersen Classic outside of Chicago, Illinois, Don used the Roto Grip Uproar and Storm Mix while earning the coveted Petersen Classic title just seven years ago. Interesting to note, too, is that Don has shot 1600 four different times throughout his career there. And what’s even more impressive is that, for more than 40 years now, he has a lifetime average of 185, at what is known as one of the toughest and most demanding events in the country.

Did you ever turn pro? Or consider it, at least?

DS: Yes I did. I turned pro in 1985, because I wanted to bowl a few Regional tournaments. I had won a Pro Regional tournament in Taylor Michigan in 1982, as an amateur. Pro Tour rules stated that I was unable to bowl any more Pro tournaments until I joined and picked up a card.

At the time I was working full time for the State of Ohio. I was a weekend warrior. I did this for about 6 months, and dropped my card so I could bowl in the new Megabuck bowling tournaments that had just started in Las Vegas.

I had a chance of touring full time on the PBA in 1978.  A restaurant owner across the street from Western Bowl wanted to back me for a year so I could give it a try.

Eddie Jackson, Team USA Captain and eventual ABC Hall of Famer, elected 1989, sat down with me in 1978, and filled me in on the pitfalls of touring. Eddie knew I worked for the state. Eddie explained the money bowling on the tour verses working for the state was not worth the risk. In the end it was his common sense thinking that stopped me from getting a card and I stayed amateur until 1985 . To this day I thank Eddie as I retired at age 55, from the state with pension and health insurance in hand.

In 1996, you won $100,000 in the Mini-Eliminator, defeating Purvis Granger in an exciting finish….throwing a strike to win. How nervous were you stepping up in the tenth there with that kind of money on the line?

DS: When it got to the 10th frame in the title match needing a strike to win $100,000, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t nervous.

However, going back to the start of the week I was hardly able to walk much less bowl. Everything hard to believe happened that week, from starting my 1st two eliminator matches standing at the foul line, no approach, throwing each 1st ball in the middle of the lane at turtle speed and making the cut in both matches with clean games. In fact, prior to the show, I had bowled 11 clean games in making the telecast. In the title match games in the second frames I had splits that I failed to convert leaving me with two open frames for the entire week.  Still – unbelievable I had bowled and won this tournament with a bum knee that was caused by falling on ice in front of Western Bowl the Wednesday prior to the tournament beginning.

Back to the 10th frame the final game needing a strike, I remember telling myself this one is for the title. My mind did not think about the money. I wanted the title. In the 10th I did strike, along with a nine spare to finish the game. It was the happiest moment in my bowling life to win that title and that much money on TV with a bum knee.

On the show I remember striking in the 10th frame and yelling in celebration to my friends who were in the stands “Get me a Bud Light”. I wanted to start a party. Denny the show’s commentator had heard earlier I was on the ABC HOF Ballot for the past several years.  After striking to win $100,000, Denny celebrating with me commented “HOF fame committee take notice”, and at the same time I yelled, “Get me a Bud Light”. It was very funny indeed. HOF must not have taken notice, as I did not get elected into the HOF until 1999.

Winning the Eliminator tournament, there was more. I also received a full expense paid entry fee with airplane fare and hotel to bowl in a tournament in the Netherlands to be held in March 1996. I bowled and finished 4th in the singles, and was second with Ron Pollard in the doubles.

It’s been 25 years now since you set the record Team All Events score in Salt Lake City in 1996…and won the singles there too…. What do you remember from that event and what did it mean to you to win two Eagles?

DS: Our team, Pollard’s Bowl, won the ABC Team All events on the 25th and 26th of April 1996; I don’t think I will ever forget. Our team event in Salt Lake City, Utah on the 25th, found us shooting 3222.  I was low with 620.

Starting off in the doubles Ron and Rick Pollard bowled a pair of 290 games, totaling 580, a record. I believe it is still a record at USBC in the doubles. The Pollards finished 3rd, in the doubles that year.

My doubles partner, Bill Spigner bowled games of 244, 239, and 290, for a 775 total. I shot 654, only one open for a 1429 total.

I did not have a ball reaction like the rest of my team. Bill and I had started our doubles set on 7 and 8. The Pollard brothers, Paul Wolf and Jerry Kessler bowled doubles on 9 and 10. When the set ended, the Pollards moved to 11 and 12 to bowl their singles.

Out of all the equipment I had brought from home, I had one ball left that I had not tried to use until the 10th fill frame of our doubles set. It was a brand new out of the box Pacific Storm ball that had been mapped off by you, (Steve Kloempken). My 1st pitch was during the fill ball, last frame of the doubles and I left a 5-7, split. Bill, who was watching stated “I like that ball motion”. I laughed and said ok, what do I have to lose.

The rest is history. Moving to 5 and 6 to bowl singles, using a Pacific Storm I bowled 244, then 300,  finishing with 279 for a winning 823 series, along with my personal best 2,097 All Events total. The Pollard’s five all shot above 2040, winning and setting the new Team All Events record of 10,422, which stands today 25 years later. This is a dream that I am still living and forever thankful for.

Final thoughts on the 1999 ABC Hall of Fame Induction and more

DS: I was rooming with Ron Pollard in Las Vegas. We were there to bowl the High Roller. Somehow Steve James from the ABC had learned where I was and called me that night to congratulate me on being inducted into the HOF. What a special memory that is to this day. I was inducted in March 1999, in Syracuse, New York.

My fondest memory was of the HOF dinner night, getting to talk with Joe Norris. We sat at the bar and had a beer. His mind was still sharp. What fun it was to reminisce with him talking about his travels and fun he had bowling on his beer teams at the Nationals. He had bowled ABC’s 70 years at that point. What a history lesson I so enjoyed.

It’s the history that makes the ABC, now USBC so great. Tournaments that lose their history go down hill fast. Long live the USBC.

In closing, my final thoughts about HOF. There are two bowlers who I believe that have been passed over for HOF induction. The first is Mike Neumann. What can you say about this guy? The question is, what didn’t he win? 3 to 4 USBC titles, 2 to 3 Megabuck tournaments. (I watched Mike win the Hoinke Super Classic in Cincinnati, my hometown. He started with front 8 in the title match. It was something to see). He also won an overseas tournament in the Netherlands in 1995, (same one I bowled in 1996) and was on at least 3 or 4 National Team bowling challenge wins. There has to be a lot more that I’m missing because he was just that good.

USBC HOF committee, please review the merits of putting this guy into the HOF based on his tournament performance during his short career. He was a special talent that when he was on the lanes there were always people who wanted to watch him bowl. If his name comes up on a ballot that I am able to vote on, he has my “yes” check mark.

The second bowler is Ted Hannahs, from Zanesville Ohio. He has won a USBC title, the Petersen Classic, 4 national tour stops, countless Regional Pro tournaments, was 2nd at the 1982 ABC Masters in Baltimore, multiple National Team Challenges wins, along with countless other tournament wins since the 1970’s. He is a special talent who needs to be recognized as one of the best I got to see in my generation.

Thank you very much, Steve for spending time with me reminiscing about my past history. It was fun to think back about where I’ve been in this game. I did not bowl for the Hall of Fames or the money. I have truly loved our game since I was a young man. It’s great to think about the fun I had traveling, seeing different cities, and meeting people along the way. What a ride it’s been.