From staff reports
CENTRE HALL - Lou Varner Jr., of Burnham, was inducted into the Seven Mountains Bowling Hall of Fame Saturday during the Seven Mountains Bowling Association's annual awards dinner Saturday.
"At first I thought I'd never get picked," Varner said. "It was a surprise to me, but it wasn't a surprise to other people."
Sentinel photo by KIM?HAYES
Lou Varner Jr., right, holds his Seven Mountains Bowling Association Hall of Fame plaque after his induction Saturday in Centre Hall. Varner credits his friend and mentor, Bob Finkle, left, with helping him to become a better bowler.
Varner started bowling in 1972 at the age of 21 in the New Holland League. With more than 40 years as a sanctioned league bowler, he has spent his bowling career in leagues at the centers currently known as Lewistown Lanes in Lewistown and Ney's Bowling Center in Mifflintown. He currently bowls in the Bill Davis Memorial League, the Men's Merchant League and substitutes in the Church League.
He has served as president or vice president of a league numerous times, participating in the local Seven Mountains Championships for 30 years, Pennsylvania State Bowling Association state championships for 22 years, PSBA Senior Championships for five years and the United States Bowling Congress nationals three times. He sometimes competes in USBC regional tournaments on the East Coast and in other Central Pennsylvania scratch tournaments as well.
Varner's accomplishments include more than 370 700 series, eight 300 games - the first one in 1999 at the PSBA state championships - three 299 games, one 298 game and two 800 series with a high of 805. In 2012, Varner won the PSBA State Senior Championship All Events scratch and handicap events in Selinsgrove and Sunbury. He has been on two teams that won the Seven Mountains Team Championships and was the singles champion once. This season, Varner set a personal league high average of 226.
Varner thanks his friend and mentor Bob Finkle for helping him to improve his bowling skills, as well as Emmett Shutes for sharing his advice and knowledge of the game.
In addition to bowling himself, Varner helps friends learn the game and improve their skills. He assisted Finkle with junior bowler instruction at Victory Bowling Center. He is now learning how to set up and drill bowling balls and is proud of the friends he has made during his bowling career.
Varner offers his own advice to bowlers of all ages: "Keep it simple. Practice on physical and mental game ... and let the ball do the talking."
He also points out it doesn't matter how hard someone can throw a bowling ball - accuracy is the key to being a good bowler.
Varner lives in Burnham with his wife Frances, daughter Katrina and granddaughter Kirsten. He is retired from Case International Harvester (New Holland).
Sentinel reporter Kim Hayes contributed to this report.