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Jason Miller, Published September 09 2012

Bowling Hall of Famer Weber visits Fargo

FARGO – Professional bowler Pete Weber is one of the most successful bowlers of all time. Last year, at the age of 49, he won his fifth U.S. Open, the most by any bowler in history.

On Sunday, he stopped by West Acres Bowl to help kick off the first event of the new FM Bowling Tour, chatting with fans and bowlers and even doing his well-known “chop” move for some.

For Weber, the chop – a move he often does after throwing a big strike during a match – is just a part of his bad boy image, one he doesn’t mind maintaining. If it gets people watching his sport, he’s happy to do it. He’s also known for wearing sunglasses when he bowls on television and being fiery during competition.

“It just adds to the bad boy image I’ve been labeled with,” Weber said. “I don’t mind … I try to do whatever I can to get fans to watch.”

Weber followed in the footsteps of his father, Dick Weber, one of the best bowlers of all time. But Pete Weber didn’t see his situation as being that different or more pressure-packed than other bowlers trying to make it in the Professional Bowlers Association.

“I didn’t look at it that way,” Weber said. “I was another bowler trying to make a living.”

The Sunday appearance was coordinated by Travis Hersrud, owner of Travel’s Pro Shop at West Acres. Hersrud, one of the top bowlers in the Fargo-Moorhead area, said the strike Weber threw to win his fifth U.S. Open last year, was one of the “best shots you’ll ever see.”

“When you get a guy like Pete in here, it’s good for bowling in general,” said Hersrud, who wanted to bring a PBA bowler to town to help kick off and generate excitement for the new FM Bowling Tour.

Weber became a professional bowler right out of high school and has won 36 PBA events – including nine major titles – in his career. Through 2011, he had rolled 64 perfect 300 games in PBA events. Weber joined his father in the PBA Hall of Fame in 1998.

Weber sat down with The Forum during Sunday’s event and talked about a variety of bowling topics:

On how long he’ll bowl: “Dad was 75, and he was still going strong. At least until then.”

On his chop move: “It just comes out. I don’t plan it.”

On his most memorable win (his fifth U.S. Open victory last year): “Just to win it once is a feat in itself.”

On his biggest rival: “Walter Ray (Williams, Jr.). Always has been. … We always seem to have a good match on TV. On TV, for some reason, I can’t beat him.”

On the difference between good league bowlers and PBA bowlers: “I take these same 230-average bowlers, take them out on tour, and they average 180.”

On two-handed bowlers, like fellow PBA pro Jason Belmonte: “However you knock down 10 pins. I’ve never read a rule saying you have to put a thumb in the ball.”

On his longevity (more than 30-plus years on tour): “They always said that I’d never last.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jason Miller at (701) 241-5549