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Fort Wayne’s Mr. Bowling Vic Sockrider has passed

Vic Sockrider

One of Fort Wayne’s bowling cornerstones has passed as Vic Sockrider died Tuesday night at age 67.

For 37 years Sockrider was the general manager and then owner of Georgetown Bowl from its opening in February 1976, and a was a long-time president of the Fort Wayne Bowling Council which he founded. He helped bring and run several Pro Bowlers Association tournaments to Fort Wayne, including the annual regional tournament at Georgetown that started in 1985 and continues today at Pro Bowl West. Partly due to its hospitality, including a pre-tournament dinner, the event regularly drew almost 200 bowlers and helped participants qualify for the PBA Tour.

“It became what a lot of players felt was the best regional in the whole country,” said long-time doubles partner Pat Alexander. “Nobody at that time treated those guys like he did. It ran first class for many years, and it took a lot of work to get all that together. A lot of the big-name pros bowled there, and they all said they’d never seen a regional that was better than that.”

Whenever there was a big event in town, Georgetown seemed to be hosting it and Sockrider was running it. Along with Jerry Rippe and Tina Weaver, in 1999 he started the Indiana High School Bowling Conference with six teams and now it has 16. He was always looking to try new things to help the sport and could convince almost anyone to give bowling a try.

“He was a go-getter,” said Weaver, the Fort Wayne Women’s Association manager. “He did not sit back and wait for business to come in the door. He did whatever he could to get people interested in bowling. He did whatever was necessary to improve the industry and help the bowlers.”

Sockrider became one of the owners of Crazy Pinz in 2007, started the New Haven Chamber of Commerce Networking Group in 2010 and recently joined Quibica AMF as a district sales representative. He loved reading self-improvement books and leadership books and quoting their wisdom at meetings.

He was inducted into the Fort Wayne Bowling Hall of Fame in 1995. He was not only a local influence on the sport, but also state-wide and nationally, and in 1999 received the Central Region’s Pat Patterson Award for his dedication to the sport. Individually, Sockrider who two Fort Wayne doubles titles with Pat Alexander and two team city titles.

Though he came close many times, Sockrider rolled only one 300 game during his career, but he was a traditionalist when it come to how to oil the lanes. When the United States Bowling Congress started the scoring wars in the 1980s by changing oiling patterns, Sockrider and Georgetown stuck to the tougher patterns.

“Vic always stuck to the long oil which made it a tougher shot,” said long-time friend Jeff Dreyfus. “I coined Georgetown as the `House of Pain.’ They were just a tougher house. The condition was not only tough but the pin carry at Georgetown was tougher because Vic wanted to place a premium on shot making. It was about your skill, and it made better bowlers of the guys who really wanted to become good players and understand the game and not have it given to them. Vic lost a lot of business from the recreational bowlers because of that, but it was an integrity issue for him.”

Services are pending.

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