Mexico’s Best Bowler May Live Right in our Midst

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Michael Curtis

Michael Curtis Will Bowl Against Mexico’s Best

IMPERIAL — Michael Curtis threw his first bowling ball at age ten. And then, his life began to change. He and his family had so much fun together that they took up the sport. At the time, no bowling alley existed in the Imperial Valley, so the family joined a league in Mexicali. That year, while still ten years old, Curtis won two Golds at his first Nationals in Mexico.

Curtis now works, or practices religiously, at Brunswick Zone XL on North Imperial Avenue where his father, Fred Curtis, owns the Pro Shop, and the one at the Inca Lanes on West 16th Street in Yuma, Arizona.

Curtis, 20, has bowled four perfect games in the ten years since he began. One just recently in the competition earning him the right to compete against the very best bowlers in all of Mexico. Curtis won the Mexicali City Tournament a couple of weeks ago. Next, he captured the Baja California Mexico State Tournament. Being the State Champion places him in the Mexico National Tournament in Sonora, Mexico.

The week-long event takes place from March 28 through April 4. Though his family has traveled often with him, he will be making the drive alone this time.

“I have enough experience now. I have competed in the tour for a year, taking me to places such as Michoacán, Monterrey, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Sinaloa, and Guadalajara. It feels almost normal,” the young man said. In the United States, Curtis has bowled at Las Vegas, Yuma, Anaheim, Sacramento, and Reno.

In each of the recent competitions that won him the spot for the Nationals, Curtis played a series of eight games to qualify. He is one of, if not the youngest, to qualify.

Fred Curtis is both his father and his head coach. Curtis is a certified coach himself, and works with local youth. When preparing for a big game, he listens to American dance music with a beat, but the earphones come off when he enters his “zone,” focusing on the lanes and the game.

“I concentrate,” he says with confidence. “Don’t touch me!” With these words the somewhat shy, soft-spoken twenty-year old offers of glimpse of the no-nonsense approach he has to his passion of bowling.

His father offered the analogy of a card game, working out strategies. “We video-tape and analyze his approach and timing,” says Fred Curtis. “There are a lot of factors involved when you attain this elite level, number one is being consistent.”

Both father and son offered beginners a few pointers, “Have fun. Enjoy the game. Learn the basic skills.” Good advice from two men who have a number of trophies, plaques and ribbons as proof they give sound advice.

Michael has one plaque reading 805. Few individuals reach scores above 800; 900 is the perfect score for a series of three games in a row. The following are local men who have joined this very elite “club”: Ted Turner 820; Mike Trull 805; James Gray 811; and Nolan Coyne 801. Michael is the youngest.

Curtis’s Pro shop has other plaques on their wall to honor several local Valley athletes who have thrown perfect games of 300. The following are the most recent bowlers locally who have thrown 300: 1/15 – Ryan Maring, 1/20 – Alex De Vera, 2/5 – David Granados, 2/11 – John Garcia Jr., 2/25 – Al Minor, and 3/11 – Donnie Pacheco.

Others are: James Gray, Warren Mott, Oscar Grijalva, German Castillo, Ted Turner, David Pacheco, Joey Gomez, Nolan Coyne, Gustavo Amador, Gordon Belt, and Derek Murray.

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