Perhaps Schlegel bowled poorly because of his bland raiment. Pro bowling officials no longer permit him to wear really bizarre stuff—like his red, white and blue bicentennial special, or his silver lam�
jumpsuit. During the Grand Prix he had to be content with such garb as pants with a zipper on the knee and shoes sprayed silver. "They won't let him be different," complained his wife, Catherine. "Ernie's a vibe person."
Some people might feel that Schlegel is exactly what pro bowling needs these days. Too often the tour plays dowdy shopping centers with burned-out neon. For the Grand Prix presentation ceremonies, the MGM Grand supplied two show girls—Elizabeth Larkin and Tracy Hatcher. Asked to name a famous bowler, they couldn't. "We're not glamorous," admitted Burton.
Now 36, Burton is a physical-conditioning enthusiast and has appeared in ABC-TV's Superstars competition. He sees himself as an athlete, not just a bowler. "I bowl now for the self-satisfaction," he says. "I don't have the egotism I used to have." This mellow attitude helped Burton through what could have been a frustrating year. Twice this season Burton lost all of his equipment—once when a bowling center burned down in Kirksville, Mo., and once to thieves.
There was a bit of thief in Burton at Reno. On the tour, if you catch fire on the final day, you can steal the tournament. In the women's finals, Coburn, still nervous after all these years, lost to Donna (The Brat) Adamek, who at 20 is about 35 years younger than her opponent. Doris had three splits and only got a 154, taking home fourth-place money of $3,000. In the next round, Adamek got nasty with a 223 that sidelined Vesma Grinfelds, the tour's No. 2 money-winner, but in the finals—with $10,000 to the winner and $7,000 to the runner-up—youth wasn't so well served. Robinson threw a 186 against Adamek's 156.
The men's final was full of surprises. "Nelson threw one good game and won $10,000," said Pappas. After Burton beat Pappas in his first match, Anthony and Roth beat themselves.
Anthony began with four straight strikes against Burton, causing some consternation in the executive offices of the MGM Grand. The hotel had put up an $11,000 prize for a 300 game on television, and Anthony, the tour leader in career wins with 30, had the style, experience and grit to do it. On June 20 he suffered a severe heart attack, but two months later he was back bowling and winning. In his fifth frame Saturday, he left the 7 pin standing on his first ball, and missed it with his second. Amazingly, he missed the 7 once again in the ninth frame. "I can go an entire week and not miss a spare," sighed Anthony. 'Today I missed two of them when it counted."
Through all of this, Roth was fidgeting on the sidelines, waiting to see who would face him in the finals. Roth's aggressive bowling style matches his personality. He is best when he can go after it, and the waiting had left him edgy. He had led Burton by 454 pins in the qualifying, but now would have to roll against him in one game for first place.
When Roth missed his spare attempt in the fifth frame, he was shaken. And when he did the same thing in the next frame, the match was over.
For Burton, it was his second victory of the year. On each cheek he wore bright smudges of lipstick, victory kisses from the show girls, who now know at least one bowler's name. And sticking out of his hip pocket was a red feather that had fallen off one of the girls' costumes. Burton had found it. In another pocket was the $10,000 winner's check. In a sense, he had found that, too.