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Up Your Alley: Bowling Hall of Famer Cardoza dies

Don Surdich

Merced County bowling lost another good friend recently.

Mary Cardoza, a bowling pioneer in the area for more than 40 years, passed away at her home in Atwater last Tuesday afternoon. Cardoza was 80.

Cardoza, along with her husband Manuel, opened Bellevue Bowl in the 1960s and it has been in the family ever since. They then purchased Century Bowl, eventually turning the operation over to sons Congressman Dennis Cardoza and Bobby Cardoza.

Cardoza was a member of the Merced/Atwater Women's Bowling Association for years, and was active member of the board of directors for several years.

She was inducted into the Merced/Atwater Bowling Hall of Fame in 1998 under the "ability" category. A longtime scratch bowler, she was a member of the women's Classic league at Bellevue -- the top scratch women's league in the area.

She also bowled in the scratch trio league at Century Bowl in the 70s, and several city, state and national tournaments. Her league average ran around the 180s.

In the early years at Bellevue, you would always see Mary sitting at a table by lanes 9 and 10 talking to her friends.

Services will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony's Catholic Church on Winton Way in Atwater.

The jackpot at Bellevue's no-tap doubles events did hit over $1,000 on Saturday night -- $1,027 to be exact.

While no one came close to breaking the bank, the top money winner was the duo of Bob and Kristin Weimer of Atwater.

The Weimers took home first-place money of $127, with a score of 1,557.

Coming in second were D.J. Valpey and Josh Grey with a 1,515 -- good for $76. The third-place finish went to Kendy Bernales and Alex Shibata with a 1,493 ($50).

Placing in the women's high games were Gudi Ross, Frances Smith and Judy Wescott. In the men's high games, it was Dennis Gray, Josh Gray and Bob Heller.

The scoring was low last Saturday, probably because ringers Jay Sargent and Richard Snell weren't there to set the pace and grab the cash. The next event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 17.

Some scores have started to trickle in from the Thursday Twilighters senior league at Castle Lanes. High games were rolled by: Vill Novel, 246; Ed Rowen, 231; Don Sweet, 217; Marge Casaletto, 213; Sachiko Howard, 201; Betty Brown, 228; Mary Penfield, 213; Joe Flores, 255; Art Vasquez, 255; Paul Merrill, 248; and Alice Koehn, 192.

In the Little Swiss trio tournament held at Yosemite Lanes last Sunday, a local team made off with $450 -- $150 each -- after finishing in third. The team was comprised of Ronnie Gonzales, Chris Kraft and Larry Valenti Jr. Every game was a position round; the team had four wins with a total scores of 3,722.

They were the only local team to place. Thirteen teams from around the Valley entered.

Just in case you were wondering, first-place team members received $375 each.

Don't forget you still have time to enter the 44th annual Livermore Valley Tournament (LVT) -- Northern California's premier bowling classic. The tourney is held at Granada Bowl in Livermore. It started last weekend and runs through Feb. 1.

Entry fee is $25 per event, plus $5 for all-events. The LVT has a ton of popular individual options that are available on site. For more information, e-mail Tom Crane at TC9erfan$ or ring him at (925) 447-5600.

Larry Valenti Jr. will be in the field of 24 rolling for the $1,000 first-place prize in the Tournament of Champions at Yosemite Lanes tomorrow at noon.

Six games will be rolled across six pairs of lanes, and five PBA patterns will be used as well.

Checks are in the mail. Pete Melton promises.

I recently received word from Melton, director of the Cal-State Senior Association, that we should have our checks by the first of the year.

Last but not least, I hope that all of our bowlers had a great Christmas and found several bowling items under their tree.

I know that 2009 will bring plenty of 200s, 600s and 700s. Who knows, maybe will get a couple of perfect games added to the mix as well. Happy New Year from your bowling buddy.

Don Surdich is the Sun-Star's bowling columnist. Want to report a score, update or tip? Contact Surdich at 777-1111 or