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Local pro bowler bowls

East Brady’s Jim Kelly, Ford Cliff’s Gus Frerotte and Leechburg’s Mickey Morandini all took the step from amateur to professional sports.

Now, it’s Ed Totos’ turn.

Totos, of Ford City, has been bowling for 38 years. He finally achieved his fantasy by joining the Professional Bowlers Association Tour.

“It was a dream of mine from childhood,” Totos said. “I watched them on television for years. My buddies coaxed me for years and I put it off and put if off.

“It is something I always wanted to do, so I did it.”

His home already is full of amateur trophies.

Now, he’s ready to begin bringing home some professional ones, and, more importantly, the checks that come with the hardware.

Totos took some advice from a friend and qualified to join the professional ranks. He then paid the $99 one-time membership fee plus the $8.95 for the first year — all for the chance to earm up to $100,000 for winning a major PBA event or about $40,000 for a non-major.

“Last spring, a buddy said he could do it and he made it,” Totos said. “I went to the same tournament in Lebanon. I finished 52nd out of 131. I think I did pretty good for my first time.

“I missed cashing out by 14 pins,” he said.

Totos said his next professional tournament will be in October in Sandusky, Ohio.

Until that time, he said he will sharpen his game by participating in three leagues. However, those three leagues aren’t as demanding as the pro tournaments, Totos said.

“You don’t know out of shape you are until you do something like that,” he said. “You have to be accurate. Keep your ball speed the same. There are a lot more games in a day than in league. I was burned out my first time. You learn from that.”

When Totos isn’t at the bowling lanes, he is working out to keep his stamina and strength up.

Working out has another benefit for Totos. He feels his game has improved.

Totos said he probably won’t make enough money to quit his full-time job working for Howard Hanna Real Estate. However, that doesn’t prevent him from chasing his dream.

“There isn’t a whole lot of money,” Totos said. “The top pros make money but they are also sponsored.”

Totos can enter three major tournaments per year, including the U.S. Open or Masters. He is required to enter two PBA regional tournaments to keep his standard membership.

In order to enter a regional tourney, Totos must maintain a 195 average. For the PBA television tour, he must have a 400 to enter and a 500 average for the majors. If he cashes in during two tourneys, he must upgrade to a full membership which is $19.95 a year.

Totos’ father started him on his lifelong love for the game. He began his passion in the late 1960s when he bowled in junior leagues. Over the next 40 years, Totos has had five perfect games and eight 800 series. He also was crowned state champion. He and Dave Tarr won the state doubles title in 1998.

“I ain’t going to quit until I croak. I am going to bowl as long as I can,” he said.

Totos can’t get enough of the game. He is also a bowling coach for children in the area. And now that he has seen life on the pro tour, it’s a lot easier to give them advice.

“You have to pick your spares up,” he said. “That is where your money is at. That is what I tell the kids.”

And that is what he will try to do on the pro tour.

Wes Cedar is a sports writer for the Leader Times in Kittanning.


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