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Bowling: 84-year-old qualifies for 2nd national tournament

Stuart Zell is proving age isn't a handicap when it comes to bowling. The 84-year-old Nisswa resident remains one of top bowlers in his age group in the country. He demonstrated that at the Minnesota United States Bowling Congress State Tournamen...

Stuart Zell of Nisswa won the Minnesota United States Bowling Congress State Tournament to qualify for the national event in Reno.
Stuart Zell of Nisswa won the Minnesota United States Bowling Congress State Tournament to qualify for the national event in Reno. Steve Kohls Brainerd Dispatch

 

Stuart Zell is proving age isn't a handicap when it comes to bowling.

The 84-year-old Nisswa resident remains one of top bowlers in his age group in the country. He demonstrated that at the Minnesota United States Bowling Congress State Tournament Oct. 21-Nov. 12, 2017, when he won the singles championship at Chucker's Bowl and Lounge in Rush City. He rolled a 658 series with handicap. His games were 186-180-168. With his 124-pin handicap, he edged runner-up Thomas O'Ryan of St. Paul by six pins.

Zell was bowling in the age 75-100 bracket, which included 60 competitors.

"I've been lobbying for three years to add another bracket for 80 and above," he said, "but they claim they don't have enough bowlers to justify having another bracket.

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"Because of my age I was bowling against people that were nine years younger than I was. There's quite (an age) spread when you get to be my age."

The state title qualified Zell for the USBC Senior Championships July 31-Aug. 3 in Reno. It will be his second trip to nationals. In 2004, competing in the 70-74 age bracket, he finished fourth.

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Stuart Zell

  • Age: 84
  • Residence: Nisswa
  • League: Senior Coffee Break
  • Lanes: Jack's House, Brainerd

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"I do not anticipate that kind of result again this time," said Zell, who was 70 in 2004.

He doesn't believe bowling in a previous national tournament gives him any kind of edge.

"Things change," Zell said, "but I will have some idea what's going on this time whereas last time I had no clue what was going on. They've changed the format a little bit for this tournament over the one they had back then.

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"I will be bowling three games two days in a row. Then the top six out of that will bowl three more games a day after that. So if you finish in the top six, you will bowl a total of nine games over three days."

Zell, who maintains a 164 average, said he continues to bowl because it remains enjoyable and he enjoys the company of fellow bowlers in the Senior Coffee Break League, which bowls every Wednesday afternoon at Jack's House in Brainerd.

"The nice thing I like about the league we bowl in-I'm not saying people don't want to win because of course people want to win, you don't do something to lose, but it's not the upper-most objective of the league," he said. "It's a social league, a chance for people to get out of their houses to socialize with other people, to have a good time. If you win, it's a plus.

"We've got some good bowlers in there. I'm not denying that. There are people in there who are a little bit intense, but for the most part it's a social league. People cheer for each other. They hold each other up. They're concerned for each other. It's not all about me. It just isn't that way. We just have a tremendous amount of very nice people."

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