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The Journal Gazette

August 09, 2016 1:01 AM

City native bowls out of passion, and for paycheck

Cody Thompson | For The Journal Gazette

The sounds are unmistakable. A 15-pound ball slamming into the pins, knocking them onto their sides.

When Pro Bowl West opened the lanes up to 15 minutes of practice Sunday for the PBA50 DeHayes Insurance Group Championship, those noises echoed through the building.

Contributing to that noise was Ron Mohr, 60, a Fort Wayne native. Even in practice, every bowl followed the same technique.

He would step over the ledge, onto the waxed wood, line up his feet and raise his head.

He took a deep breath, his shoulders raising.

Five steps, leading and ending with his left foot. His right foot rising and falling behind his left with grace.

The ball looked dead set on the gutter, but just before plummeting, it would curve back and strike the pins head on.

After practice the bowlers played eight qualifying games Sunday and another eight Monday before deciding who advances – the top 24.

His first official bowl of the day. Mohr looked at the lane. He wiped his ball, lined up his feet.

Strike.

Cheering erupted from a table behind him from his sister, Amy Gerardot, his brother, Jim Mohr and his son, Jon and Jon’s cousins from his mother’s side. Also present was Ron Mohr’s fiancée, Lita Lewis.

“He’s good,” she said, smiling widely while watching her betrothed. “He’s really good.”

After living in Fort Wayne until he was 23, Mohr moved to Alaska for 34 years, where he was an air traffic controller. He has lived in Las Vegas for the past three years.

On Sunday, Mohr was playing against names such as Walter Ray Williams Jr., Amleto Monacelli and Brian Voss.

“Bowling isn’t as much about the money as it is the passion,” Lewis said.

When it was time for Game 8, the final game of the day, Mohr was in fifth place.

His fiancée gave him another water, and he gave a thumbs up to the gathered crowd.

He lined his feet, took his five steps, ball curved left.

Nine pins.

He scored 193 in game eight, ending the day in sixth place.

After his second day of qualifying matches Monday, he was in fifth place. He bowls at 3 p.m. today.

Mohr has only been bowling professionally since he was 50, but he was bowling long before that.

“I bowl because there are so many good guys out here,” Mohr said. “I get to travel the world, it’s what this sport has given me. As long as I can compete with world class guys, I’ll keep going. I love it.”