Bowling Select Stories

Bowling in Dayton, Ohio


(by Dan Beemsterboer with information from Jim Zotkie Journal Herald)


Records on the infant Dayton bowling years are skimpy. It is known that the first bowling lane was located on the corner of Second and Main in 1866. There was a team from Dayton, sponsored by the Dayton Daily News, that bowled in the American Bowling Congress (ABC) Tournament in Indianapolis in 1903. (ABC was formed in 1895 and The Dayton Bowling Association (DBA) was chartered over 100 years ago.)

No one knows the exact date when the Dayton Bowling Association board was formed. Gaylord Marshall is credited with starting the DBA in the 1920s. He served as the first president from 1924 to 1930. He was followed by:

Arch Barrett 1930-1931

Charles Stonebarger 1932-1933

Harry Zack 1933-1938

Carl Copp 1938-1975*

Bob Hollencamp 1975-1977

Earl Mehaffie 1977-1979

Charles Brockman 1979-1982

Bud Orsi 1982 1985

Nolan Harlement 1985-1988

Jack Templin 1988-1991

John Purnhagen 1991-1994

Jim Douglas 1994-1997

Gary Badders 1997-1999

Del Kidwell 1999-2002

Ron Adams 2002-Present

*Carl Copp was elected president of the organization in 1937 even though he had never attended a single meeting and wasn’t present at the meeting in which the election took place! Charley Stonebarger nominated Copp for president and reassured the group that he would serve. Copp found out that he was the president when the Dayton Daily News called him to have his picture taken. Copp told the photographer that he had the wrong guy. The photographer asked, "Are you the Carl Copp of Frigidaire? Then you're the man." Copp was president for the next 37 years.

The Dayton Bowling Association has had only six secretaries of the organization since the 1920s.

George Klockson 1924-1941

Carl Herbert 1941-1976

Bill DeHaven 1976-1980

Don Smith 1980-1994

Don Reasoner 1994-1999

Maureen Hopkins 2000-Present

Numerous Daytonians have served on the DBA board, and a number have served nationally. Carl Copp and Bill DeHaven each served as national president. George Klockson would have been the third, but he passed away while he was vice president in 1940. The first secretary of the ABC from 1904 – 1907, Sam Karpf, was a DBA member. He also is the only male member of the ABC Hall of Fame from Dayton.

DBA has provided numerous services for bowlers, including running the Dayton City Tournament since 1915, hosting the State tournament on at least 12 different occasions, and donating money to various charities.

Dayton bowlers have won numerous tournaments over the years. One of the exempt bowlers, Brian Kretzer, is on the current Pro Bowling Tour. Two teams have won the prestigious ABC National Tournament. In 2006, three members from Dayton, Kenny Jessee, John Murph and George Gohagan III, won the title.

Perhaps the most famous local team was one sponsored by Jefferson Clothiers. Five remarkable men recorded Dayton’s finest hour in the bowling game. The date was April 1932, and the place was the Sate Fair Coliseum in Detroit, Michigan. On the final night of the ABC Tournament, these five: Tommy Zavakos, Harry Rosenkranz, Lou (Curly) Gaylor, Howard Sanders and Hal Stewart, won the Regular Division Championship. The games were 957, 1028, and a final 1123.

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