Managing his family's bowling center has allowed Steve Jakubowski to bowl about 60 games a week on every kind of oil pattern for decades.
The Temperance man parlayed that abundance of practice into a hall of fame career. Mr. Jakubowski, 47, has earned induction into the Ohio State Bowling Association Hall of Fame under the category of Superior Performance.
"Operating a bowling center, without a question, has helped," said Mr. Jakubowski, who manages Jug's Bowling Center on Jackman Road. "It was like a crutch along the way. But I did not know how my credentials would stack up because there are so many good bowlers in the state.
"At this point, this is as far as I can take it," he said.
Mr. Jakubowski has bowled 66 officially sanctioned 300 games, but he estimates his actual total to be more than 70. He also has rolled 43 sanctioned 800 series.
"I continually practice," Mr. Jakubowski said. "I'm fortunate to work in a center that my uncle
[Rich] owns. I can put out my own oil patterns. That is a bit of an advantage. I can make them tougher lane conditions that are different from the league-type conditions."
Mr. Jakubowski has won three City Tournament titles, which is the elite annual Toledo tournament. He also has won the Greater Toledo Bowling Association Masters Tournament title on four occasions.
He also captured four GTBA doubles titles.
He won the singles titles at tournaments at both Varsity Lanes and Westland Lanes twice.
Mr. Jakubowski said he received a letter informing him of his induction into the state hall of fame. The superior performance category is reserved for bowlers 40 or older with outstanding accomplishments in any United States Bowling Congress sanctioned leagues or tournaments. The induction ceremonies will be held Nov. 1 in Columbus.
"They told me they recognized me for my performances at the higher finishes I've had in some tournaments with tougher conditions," Mr. Jakubowski said.
"I've had numerous higher finishes on conditions that are not easy to score on."
Mr. Jakubowski said he prefers "sport bowling" which emphasizes difficult lane conditions over casual league bowling. He said his most satisfying recent accomplishment was tying for fifth at the Petersen Classic Bowling Tournament in Chicago. He bowled a total score of 1,599 for eight games.
"That's on almost-impossible lane conditions," he said. "It's eight-game scratch and I was just off a 200 average."
He said he also has done well at events in Cincinnati and has been steady at the annual national USBC Open championships.
Steve's grandfather Raymond built Jug's Bowling Center in August, 1956; Raymond's nickname was Jug. Steve's uncle Rich now owns the center. Steve and his brother Jay run the center.
"I've been really fortunate to have this place to do this," he said.
Mr. Jakubowski said he has been bowling since he was 8 years old and he still bowls about 60 games per week.
"I just love the people," he said. "I like being around different people from different areas. The bowling community has always been a group of friendly people.
"And I like the competition," he continued. "You're never going to get rich doing this. I'm not doing it for the money. I'm doing it for the competitiveness and being around good people."
Mr. Jakubowski estimates that he has won 25 tournaments. He is most proud of winning the Super Hoinke Tournament in Cincinnati in 1991.
His biggest financial windfall came in 1997, when made the cut to the final 16 in the High Roller tournament in Las Vegas. He won $13,500.
"That was my biggest check," he said.
Mr. Jakubowski said he still competes in six to 10 major tournaments each year. He tried to make a professional career out of the sport on the PBA Tour in the late 1980s and had some success at regional events.
"But nationally I found out there are a lot of excellent bowlers," he said. "I learned a lot by doing it."
Mr. Jakubowski said he is now concentrating on passing that knowledge on to high school-age bowlers.
Steve and his wife, Kathy, have two daughters, Kristi and Lindsay, both of whom attend Bedford High School.
"I like helping the kids figure out how to bowl on different types of patterns," he said. "I never charge. I love seeing them get great results. The sport has been good to me. I'm willing to give my time."
Mr. Jakubowski had already earned a spot in the GTBA Hall of Fame in 2001. He said Bill Wammes, the proprietor of Al-Mar Lanes in Bowling Green, nominated him for the state distinction.
"I guess this is as far as I can go in my bowling career," he said. "I will never make a national hall of fame. I'm hoping if I stay healthy, I'd like to try the PBA senior circuit."
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