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Petraglias mingle at Riverside: Johnny Petraglia Sr., Jr. made themselves at home in Laughlin

June 2, 2017 GMT

LAUGHLIN — Professional Bowlers Association Hame of Famer Johnny Petraglia Sr. and his son Johnny Petraglia Jr. bowled two exhibition matches with four bowlers at the Riverside Lanes on Tuesday afternoon.

Then the Petraglias spoke at the inaugural Colorado River Bowling Association Hall of Fame Banquet at the Riverside Resort & Casino’s Starview Room later that evening.

Colorado River Bowling Association competitors Jim Surette, Ellen Stafford, Mike Myers and Kathy Valentine participated in the exhibition with the Petraglias.

Surette said he used to watch Johnny Sr. bowl on the Professional Bowler Tour, which appeared on ABC from the 1960s until the 1980s.

“I came here for the River Run two years ago,” Junior said. “I came here one other time, and it is a nice little escape from Vegas.”

Junior, who was born and raised in New Jersey, knows the area well, as he is the general manager at BowlersMart Pro Shop Inside Sunset Station Strike Zone in Henderson, Nev.

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“You still have your night life,” he added, “the casinos, but you also have the water, which being from Jersey, I do miss once in a while.”

Senior, being a professional bowler for six decades, is well traveled, but he said Tuesday was the first time he visited Laughlin.

He said he drove through the area, but never stopped.

“As much as I’ve been in Vegas and down to Kingman; I just never, it’s a nice little town, I love the Colorado River Valley going through it.

“It was really great.”

Senior, growing up in Brooklyn and settling in New Jersey, and Junior, growing up in New Jersey before settling in Las Vegas, do love their Italian food.

“It is hard finding Italian food like they have in Brooklyn and like my wife (Pat) makes,” Senior said. “That’s the thing that is: tricky.”

Junior complimented Laughlin: “Every time I come to this city everybody treats me with 100 percent class, and it is pleasure to come back.”

“I remember watching him back in the ’70s I think,” Surette said. “I subbed in a league in Chicago that had a lot of pro bowlers in it.”

“He added: “So, I’ve bowled with a bunch of guys who can bowl like this.

“It was very inspiring to watch them bowl and watch how easy their approach is and their delivery; it’s nice watching them.”

Valentine said she was more proud of her first game than the second one.

“It was an honor,” said Valentine about bowling with the Petraglias. “It was a lot of fun.

“My new nickname is 214.”

Valentine said Johnny Jr. called her 214 because her name is Valentine.

“It was incredible,” Valentine said. “You just feel like you’re one of them. They don’t think they’re the god and you’re the little peon.”

Valentine said she watched the PBA on Saturday when Johnny was in his prime, but she does not know any of the bowlers on tour now.

“It was fantastic,” Myers said. “I grew up watching them.

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“I dreamed of bowling with them for a long time.”

Ellen Stafford said it was “a lot of fun.”

When asked what was her reaction when she was informed she would be bowling with the Petraglias, Stafford said, “I don’t want to do this.”

After getting on the lanes, Stafford said she felt at ease.

The banquet went off as well as the exhibition did.

“Everyone said it was great,” said director of the CRUSBC Board of Directors and chairman of the upcoming banquet Guy Findley. “All liked the food; both Johnnys spoke briefly.”

Senior said his son is a “terriffic” bowler. “Just the way things are set up now, there is no way for him to go on the tour,” he added. “But if he wanted to put in the 100 games per week and try to do that for a living, he’d do just fine.”

As impressed with the Riverside bowling community was with the Petraglias, the two visitors gave Laughlin excellent reviews.