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Bowler Williams finds new inspiration

Category: RV, Bowling, Spokesperson, PBA, Go RVing
Source: Los Angeles Times
Publish Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Summary: PBA Star Walter Ray Williams is having a memorable season, touring the circuit with his wife and daughter in an RV.

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Page 8

Jaime Cardenas

Being a father is not as easy as bowling a strike, but it certainly has been more fun for Walter Ray Williams Jr.

Williams, 48, has won more bowling titles than the legendary Earl Anthony, has matched Anthony with six Professional Bowlers Assn. player-of-the-year awards, and has won more than $4 million in prize money throughout his career.

Williams, who is off to one of his best starts in years, is competing this week in the PBA's Motel 6 Dick Weber Open in Fountain Valley. The tournament ends Sunday.

But what has made this such a memorable season is that Williams became a father for the first time and his wife, Paige Pennington, and their 4-month-old adopted daughter, Rebecca Lynn, are traveling with him in his RV for most of the PBA tour stops.

Becoming a father "has given me a new look at life. It's not that I didn't like kids, but I didn't realize what being a parent meant," Williams said. "I don't know if that's why I'm bowling better, but it's just so much more pleasant."

Fountain Valley is the 12th stop on the tour and Williams is in first place in the player-of-the-year points standings and is second on the money list.

This season Williams added another record when he became the first PBA bowler to win at least one tournament for 15 consecutive seasons.

The Fountain Valley stop is a special one for Williams, who graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 1984 with a degree in physics. The Fountain Bowl alley is where he made his professional debut in 1980 and where he won the U.S. Open in 2003.

In attendance this week will be his mother and brother, who are coming from Sacramento; his sister, who lives in Orange County, and his wife and daughter, who rejoined him on the tour last weekend in Sacramento.

"Even though I don't get as much sleep, I would much rather have them with me," said Williams, who resides with his family in Ocala, Fla.

Despite his long success on the PBA tour, as a child Williams had another sport in mind.

He is a six-time national horseshoe pitching champion and was given the nickname "dead-eye" when he was 10 during the junior world championships. He's a member of the PBA Hall of Fame and the Horseshoe Pitching Hall of Fame.

"When I was about 9 years old, I got introduced to horseshoe and I just started to practice and practice and practice and got really good really fast," he said. Williams won the horseshoe junior championships at ages 11, 12 and 15. "When I started bowling that carried over."

Williams thought he would grow up to become the best horseshoe player ever, but instead became one of the best bowlers. But even that doesn't compare to being a father.

"Even though she only interacts a little bit, still, it's just unbelievable," he said. "I told my wife, we should've done this 20 years ago."

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jaime.cardenas@latimes.com


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