Fans, celebrities turn out for NFL celebrity bowling tournament

Rocklin Strikes was place to be
By: Amanda Calzada/Placer Herald Correspondent
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Although Sacramento is devoid of a National Football League team, former Cincinnati Bengals’ player Adrian Rosse and Strikes 4 Kids founder Joseph Allen went forward to organize an NFL sponsored celebrity bowling tournament at Rocklin Strikes to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “We want to make sure we give the Sacramento community a chance to have a great outing for charity,” said Allen, whose event generated $8,000 for St. Jude. Allen, who is currently in the process of merging with the NFL, said there are 32 NFL sponsored events in all the cities with league teams. For the past seven years, Ross had formed a celebrity basketball tournament to raise funds for the hospital. The event was to give folks a chance to mingle with celebrities while at the same time benefitting children. He decided to switch from basketball to bowling because it was more versatile and appealed to a wider range of ages. Ross said hosting the event at Rocklin Strikes was a no brainer since the facility had always been first class. Strikes owner, Kari Pegram, said bowling was an all-encompassing activity for the family. About 250 people attended the event coming from as far away as Grass Valley and Fairfield. About 150 had registered in advance. Rocklin Strikes added some spice to the three-game tournament by declaring that knocking down nine pins was as good as a strike. The tournament helped create a closer atmosphere between the visitors and the celebrities. “We love that all the celebrities are real and approachable,” said Sheri Pierce of Sacramento, who appreciated the “really fun and energetic crowd” in Rocklin. And the celebrities, too, enjoyed themselves. “There are so many different organizations that could be putting on these events,” said NFL celebrity Otis Amey, who warmed up with 130 points in his first game and then rolled a 200 in his second. Amey said he knew the event would be worthwhile when his friend Allen invited him to participate. NFL star Gene Taylor didn’t hesitate to join in when Allen called him, despite a back injury. He said he attended because he wanted to celebrate. Other celebrity bowlers included Michael Merriweather, Raymond Taylor, Tony Roberts, Ron Collins, Big Al, Kevin Brown, Bueno, Status, and Alex Van Dyke. The celebrities autographed a bowling ball that will be sent to the hospital. Strikes will host the event next year and Ross plans to invite more NFL players – particularly Raiders and ‘49ers. Will Smith of Sacramento, who had never been to Strikes or Rocklin before the Saturday event said the bowling alley that Saturday night was the place to be. “I will be back,” he smiled.