Bruce Smallacombe, who has been serving as the mayor of Jermyn for the past 12 years, got to perform his bowling skills at the PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) Masters tournament in New Brunswick, New Jersey on February 18. He played against many professional bowlers, such as Jason Couch and Walter Ray Williams.
“It truly is an honor to be considered good enough to bowl with the likes of Norm Duke, Pete Weber, and Parker Bohn,” said Smallacombe.
Smallacombe was eliminated in the third round of the qualifying match, but he found the tournament to be a learning experience. He said that he learned that every lane has a different oil pattern, which results in the way the ball hooks down the lane. He also mentioned that the pro bowlers have coaches to tell them how the balls hook in each lane.
“I learned that I need better equipment, and I need somebody there that can help tell you how the lanes change,” he said.
Smallacombe played against 468 bowlers, and the top 64 advanced to the finals. He bowled a 700 series with the scores: 243 in Game 1; 221 in Game 2; 236 in Game 3.
“It’s a learning experience and it’s tough to advance,” he said. “Now I know I can advance,” he said.
Smallacombe said that he will try the tournament again next year. He also mentioned that during the tournament, he met new people, made new friends, and received autographs, which were signed in his PBA yearbook by PBA bowlers.
“I took a brand new bowling pin with me, and got it autographed with all the names that I think is a memento to hand down to my grandson,” he said. “I’m looking forward to doing it again, and going to the senior tour.”
Smallacombe was invited to the PBA Masters tournament because he scored an average of 220 or higher for the past five years in the Carbondale commercial leagues and the Archbald commercial leagues, which were held in Valley Lanes in Childs. He bowled two nights a week in these leagues since 1982. He wore the same bowling shirt from 1982 during the tournament. T & D Power, where he works during the day, sponsored him to go to the tournament.
Smallacombe bowled with his father when he was a kid. He bowled in Valley Lanes, Idle Hour Lanes, and Wallenpaupack Lanes.
As a bowler, Smallacombe bowled six perfect games, and won awards in bowling, such as high game, high series, and sportsmanship of the year. He also won a lot of league championships. He also bowled in the national team tournament in Syracuse in 1999 and in 2001, Knoxville, with PBA bowler D.J. Archer.
Smallacombe was a league secretary/treasurer of Carbondale and Archbald commercial leagues. He was the vice-president of the Northeast PA Bowling Association about a few years ago. He was in the board of directors of the Northeast PA Bowling Association.
Smallacombe has a wife Patty, two sons, Mark and Bruce, Jr, and a grandson Hunter Smallacombe (son of Bruce Smallacombe, Jr.). He passes his love of bowling to his sons, who are currently in youth leagues. He hopes to someday teach his grandson bowling.
Smallacombe will be running for a 4th term as mayor of Jermyn in the May primary. He is involved in many clubs and organizations.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “I like doing a lot for the community. I started in the public events committee, the business association, and the historical society.”
Smallacombe is a member of the Lions Club, and a member of Masonic Lodge in Jermyn Aurora Lodge 523. He sometimes attends crime watch meetings, and helps with the National Night Out. He also started the annual Christmas concert. He also sings in the variety show at the Jermyn Community Center in May. He sang with the Jeffrey James Band last year. He also helps coordinate the Concert in the Park in July. He also speaks at the Jermyn Cub Scouts Blue Gold Dinner and the Jermyn Awards Dinner.
Aside from bowling, Smallacombe enjoys other sports as well. In fact, he coaches baseball, basketball, and football. He hopes to someday coach bowling.
“59 (age 59), and I still keep playing,” he quipped. “They are going to have to drag me off the field and off the bowling alley. I’m going to bowl until I can’t bowl.”