The date was June 21, 1997 at the St. Clair Bowl in Fairview Heights, IL for the finals of the $110,000 St. Clair Classic.  The was the final broadcast of the PBA on ABC Sports after 36 consecutive years.  It was a memorable, emotional show, as the championship match featured the #1 ranked bowler, Walter Ray Williams, Jr. vs. #2, Pete Weber.  The match went down to the final frame, when WRW defeated PDW.  For me, it was the end of an era for the PBA.  The TV coverage has never been the same since.  Even through new ownership that has pumped some great ideas, I still believe currently, it's regressing...the 2006-07 season prize funds vs. the last few years demonstrate this....but this is a discussion for another time.  I hope you enjoy the final match between WRW and PDW, as well as Chris Schenkel's emotional goodbye, and signoff.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Chris Schenkel's tribute and goodbye:

St. Clair Bowl, Fairview Heights, IL, Jun 17-21, 1997

Williams Jr. Reaches New Heights With Third Win Of Year

The title match of the St. Clair Classic in Fairview Heights, III., pitted the PBA's No. 1 ranked bowler and alltime earning leader, Walter Ray Williams Jr., against hometown favorite Pete Weber, ranked second by the PBA rankings and entered the championship round less than $5,000 behind Williams on the all-time earnings list.

In a match that went down to the final frame, Williams defeated Weber, 206-196, to earn his third win of the year, the 24th of his career and $18,000.

"This was a match that everyone wanted to see," said Williams. "I'm just glad I was able to throw the shots when I needed them to come out on top."

Both Will! ms and Weber waited in the wings as Ricky Ward started the ABC-TV telecast by winning his second consecutive Showboat "King of the Hill" match. Ward, N. Fort Myers, Fla., defeated Brian Voss, Atlanta, 194-167, to earn $10,000.

A title match that was nip-and-tuck throughout, Williams, who finished the match first, put the pressure on Weber by striking in frame nine and on his first two shots in the 10th before getting a nine-count on his "fill ball" in the 10th.

Weber needed to double and get at least eight pins on his final shot in the 10th frame to win the title. His first shot went high, leaving the 3-6-10 and Weber had to settle for the second-place check for $9,500.

Williams, just shy of the $2 million mark atter winning, competed in a regional event a day later to eclipse the mark. The St. Clair Classic was the final stop of a 14-event Spring Tour.



Pos. Name, City/State Total Amount
1 Walter Ray Williams Jr., Stockton, CA 206 (1 game) $18,000
2 Pete Weber, St. Ann, MO 427 (2 games) 9,500
3 Doug Kent, Canandaigua, NY 358 (2 games) 7,000
4 Steve Jaros, Bolingbrook, IL 199 (1 game) 5,000

PLAYOFF RESULTS-Kent defeated Jaros, 200-199: Weber defeated Kent, 231-158; and in the championship game, Williams defeated Weber, 206-196. SHOWBOAT "KING OF THE HILL"-Ricky Ward defeated Brian Voss, 194-167. Ward earned $10,000.