Bowling: Late bloomer Jeff Snuffer earns hall of fame induction
By Anthony Nasella Post-Tribune correspondent September 17, 2013 9:46PM
Outgoing Lakeshore Bowling Association president Jeff Snuffer will be inducted into the association's hall of fame in November. | Anthony Nasella\For the Post-Tribune
Updated: October 19, 2013 7:25PM
Jeff Snuffer’s start in bowling, at the age of 18, was significantly later in life than the average bowler.
But the Valparaiso native proved he was not your typical bowler when he rolled the first of his 26 300 games five years later. Almost 25 years after his debut in the sport, Snuffer has collected a plethora of achievements on the lanes as well as meritorious accolades.
It’s those accomplishments — 17 career 800 series, 232 average in the Magicians of Matchplay league at Cressmoor Lanes in 2006-07, association tournament titles and noteworthy service work — that led to him being elected into the 2013 class of the Lakeshore Bowling Association Hall of Fame. He’ll be formally inducted at the awards banquet on Nov. 10.
“I’m very proud, but I’m also very humbled,” Snuffer said. “I always thought that someday I’d get in the Hall, but I never knew when. It was pretty emotional when it happened in our board meeting. I always worked hard to become a better bowler, but I was also always listening to those who could help me become even better.”
Best friend Larry Hedge first approached Snuffer, now 42, in 1989 about bowling in a league at Inman’s in Valparaiso. A year later, Snuffer began competing in a league at Camelot Bowl in Portage — the second of eight centers he’s now competed at locally in league play. He has since, bowled in countless houses for many state, masters and PBA tourneys.
“Larry and I still bowl together with Bobby Hileman on Monday,” Snuffer said. “I started at the beginning of the urethane-reactive era. The first ball I purchased was a red Pearl Hammer, and I don’t even remember the ball I used for my first 300.
“But I owe a lot of my success to Cliff Bundinger Jr., Paul Mewes and Hileman. Their help was immense. Paul taught me a lot about the game, while drilling my equipment and teaching me the same as well as learning the products.”
Snuffer’s high series is an 855 rolled at Hobart Lanes during the 2002-03 season. He also rolled a 268 triplicate (804) on his 30th birthday. He has 11 association tournament championships to his credit — leading to a Lakeshore Association lifetime achievement award in 2012. He joined the Northwest Indiana Bowling Association (now named Lakeshore) board in 1999, and he’s served as president of the association under its former and current names.