Local bowling: Annual tournament will honor memory of Rex Stelzer

The Urbana University women's bowling team bowled for a cause at the most recent Springfield Clark County USBC Strike out Cancer event - Contributed
Caption
The Urbana University women's bowling team bowled for a cause at the most recent Springfield Clark County USBC Strike out Cancer event - Contributed

Strike Out Cancer 18th Annual No-Tap Tournament will be held Oct. 9 in Springfield

Lora Stelzer’s diagnosis, subsequent open-heart surgery and 11-day hospital stay were incredibly difficult, but it was her husband’s cancer diagnosis — just as she was being released from the hospital — that was truly devastating.

“It all just set my mind whirling and twirling,” Stelzer said. “It was so much to deal with all at once.”

The longtime Springfield Clark County United States Bowling Congress tournament manager lost her husband shortly thereafter in July to lung cancer. He was 74.

“It was fast, but my mind is at ease that, at least, he didn’t suffer for long,” she said.

While this heartbreaking summer is one Stelzer would like to forget, she is touched that her husband is being remembered as the association’s annual Strike Out Cancer 18th Annual No-Tap Tournament will be dedicated to the memory of Rex Stelzer.

“My extended bowling family has been fantastic” she said. “They are always there if you need them.”

When the tournament was established almost two decades ago, it was a breast cancer event with proceeds benefitting Bowl for a Cure. The first event was dedicated to one of Stelzer’s friends, Mary Faulkner, a league secretary who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. In the years that followed, the focus of the event expanded a bit.

“We wanted to try to find organizations to help that would keep the funds local,” association manager Lynn Rowland said. “And help as many members of our community as possible.”

Now in its 18th year, tournament proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Endowment Fund of Clark County as well as the Springfield Regional Cancer Center Endowment Fund. More than $13,000 has been raised for charity since 2012 and organizers are hoping to add at least $2,000 this year. The tournament gets underway on Oct. 9 at Victory Lanes in Springfield.

While the event raises much-needed funds, it is about more than cash, it’s about camaraderie. Several teams across the state make this an annual event.

“We encourage families and friends to bowl and have fun for a good cause,” Rowland said.

For Rowland, the idea of dedicating this year’s event to Rex Stelzer didn’t take a second thought.

“Lora is one of the founders of this tournament, it’s an appropriate honor for her and her husband,” he said.

The 9-pin no-tap format makes it fun for bowlers regardless of average. There will, however, be four divisions, based on averages, to level the playing field.

The Urbana University women's bowling team bowled for a cause at the most recent Springfield Clark County USBC Strike out Cancer event - Contributed
Caption
The Urbana University women's bowling team bowled for a cause at the most recent Springfield Clark County USBC Strike out Cancer event - Contributed

Springfield Clark County USBC Strike Out Cancer 18th Annual No-Tap Tournament

What: No-tap tournament benefitting the Breast Cancer Endowment Fund of Clark County and the Springfield Regional Cancer Center Endowment Fund

When: Shifts on Oct. 9-10, 16-17

Where: Victory Lanes, 1906 Commerce Circle