Junior Bowling Legends

Junior Bowling Legends
I wrote an article about the American Junior Bowling Congress (AJBC) several years ago and mentioned Milt Raymer, who is credited with starting the first junior bowling competition in Illinois in 1937. He later became the Executive Secretary of the AJBC when it was founded in 1947. A few weeks ago, I receive an email from Mr. Todd Shipman of Florida and he spoke of a "Milton Reymer," of St. Petersburg.

Is it the same person? With the spelling of the last name differing by one letter, I don't want to assume that it is without absolute, rock-solid proof that the "Milton Raymer" of the 1930's and 1940's Chicago and AJBC is the "Milton Reymer" of the 1960's and 1970's St. Petersburg junior bowing programs; BUT, it could very well be. Whether it's the same person or not, however, is not really a major concern.

What I find interesting is the follow-up information that Todd provided this past week Thanks, Todd, for your submission. There may be fellow bowling Floridians out there who remember Mr. Milton Reymer and will be happy to hear about him again.

Here's Todd's first email:

"To Clyde Higa: I hope I have the right person. Saw your article on history on youth bowling back in the early 1960s. I am Todd from St. Petersburg, Florida. At that time, Milton Reymer was working in St. Petersburg with Conbow Corp at Bowlarama Lanes. He was organizing and coordinating with many leagues at that time and had full bowling centers of young bowlers from Pee Wees to Seniors.

He Helped me to win City Champ in 1971 and State in 1971. I have many black and white pictures of him and many kids at that time. It was a prosperous times for junior leagues. High School Bowling Started in 1972 in Pinellas County and I bowled for Gibbs Senior High and was the Team Captain. I can tell you maybe many stories about Milton Reymer and others at that time frame. Thank you, Todd Shipman"

Here is Mr. Shipman's article submitted a few days ago (I've edited the article for clarity):

I ran across a few facts on Junior Leagues and Milton Raymer by Clyde "Choc" Higa, so I emailed him a couple of weeks ago that I knew Mr. Raymer when I was in Junior Leagues in 1969 in St. Petersburg, Florida at Bowlarama Lanes, I do not know if it is there anymore and I told him I will write a couple of articles about what I remember of him.

Milton Raymer ran a very good program in St. Petersburg, Florida when I started bowling in 1969 through 1975 in the programs. He was a "people person" for the kids and very involved in Pee Wees, Bantams, Juniors, and Seniors with a full house of 32 lanes and tournaments he had there at Bowlarama All-Star. Many of them became top bowlers in the entire state and a few went to the pros (PBA) in later years.

There was a "Challenge Board" after league with a step ladder at end of the month for .25 Cents a game, yes .25 Cents a game. Prices were cheap then, of course. He also set up trips to go to many Junior Tournaments around the state.

We had a practice sessions on Saturdays for $3.00 for two, two hour time slots, and bowl as much as you can, or work on your game. He was a very outstanding activist for all kids and parents that were there. Yes, there was no automatic scorers then, all manual scoring and ball returns on top in some centers.

I was in the Junior Leagues from 1969 to 1975 and bowled with Gibbs Senior High School from 1972 to 1975 in St. Petersburg, Florida. I started in ABC Leagues in Keflavik, Iceland in 1983 and then turned pro (PBA) in Great Lakes, Illinois, (Navy) in 1986 to 1997. Did alright.

Well that's it for now but there are many tales about Milton Raymer besides numbers and will write some more later. If you know him please make any good comments, and also, please write to his website, Thanks. Todd Shipman

Editor's note: I did web searches for Milton "Raymer" and Milton "Reymer" who were related to "bowling." I found Milton's with only the last name with an "a." One lived in Chicago and one lived in Seminole, Florida - could he have moved from Illinois and retired to Florida in his retirement years? Both were award winners and recognized for the support of the sport of bowling and in particular, their work with junior bowlers.

A Hui Hou! (See You Again!)

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