By Keith Meagor
Dave and Debbie Martinich do most things together, so why would induction to the Butte USBC Hall of Fame be any different?
At this year’s 11th Annual USBC City Tournament and Women’s Singles Tournament they were both be inducted to the Butte USBC Hall of Fame during the opening ceremonies.
Looking at their careers and participation to the sport of bowling, it is hard to find a starting point to detail their illustrious careers to this point.
Together they have been two of the leading advocates of bowling, locally and in Montana. They have been an integral part of supporting the adult and youth sport. They have been on the Butte USBC board of directors (Debbie since 2006 and Dave since 2010), and both serve as delegates for Butte on the State Association.
In 2013, the Martiniches managed the State USBC Open Tournament. Since 1993 they have been involved with youth bowling. They have hosted several youth local and state wide tournaments including State, Pepsi, City, Junior Ringin Ten, traveling league, and numerous other youth events. If the advocacy of bowling, is not enough they are not too bad on the lanes either.
Debbie’s credentials as a competitor on the lanes is impressive. She has been on the bowling scene since she was 10 years old. In 1979, her local team was honored for shooting the second-highest game and series in the nation. To top off 1979, Debbie won the youth singles and all-event Youth State Titles.
As it happens to most, life didn’t leave a lot of time for bowling for Debbie. Bowling was overtaken with family obligations, but that did not stop her advocacy of the sport. She served as a youth secretary and tournament manager.
Debbie came back to bowling as fierce as ever. In 2008, she won the Butte USBC doubles with her son, Dave Jr. In 2009, she was on the Butte USBC Open championship team. In 2010, she was on the Butte USBC Women’s championship team. In 2011, she won the Handicap All-Events title in the State USBC Tournament.
Additionally in 2011, Debbie shot her career high game of 280 and series of 714. In 2012, she won the Butte Women’s USBC singles title. As stated before, Dave and Debbie do a lot together, and being elite competition on the lanes is no different.
If Debbie’s performance credentials are impressive, so are Dave’s. Dave has been bowling since he was a wee lad. His smooth approach and seemingly endless strikes earned him the nickname “Butter.”
Dave has had three career 800 series, the highest 807 coming within the last year. Dave has also had a career 12 pack of 300 games — with one at the 1998 State Mixed Tournament. That was their 1st 300 in history of the tournament. Dave has held a 210 average for 20 years in league and 203 average for 20 years in tournaments.
Dave has participated in 19 National Open Championships, 39 State Championships and 42 Butte City Championships. Over his bowling career, Dave has won, at least once, every event in the Butte City Tournament. He has won the Bill Meagor Peterson Point Classic three times, which is the second most by any single competitor.
In 2001, Dave along with his long time doubles partner Jim McKenzie, took 15th place in doubles at that National Open Championships.
The Martinich name is not just a local bowling family, it is a family that is legendary in the sport of bowling in the state. Dave’s grandfather, Smoke, and father, Frank, were elite bowlers and both are in the Butte USBC and Montana State Hall of Fame. Dave’s siblings were and are also competitive bowlers. Dave and Debbie’s children (Jerica, Dave Jr. and Denton) have participated and are excellent bowlers as well. In 1998, the Martinich family was awarded the Bowling Family of the Year in Montana.
The résumé of Dave or Debbie would be enough of a career for most people but together they have established a level of participation, advocacy and dedication to the sport of bowling that may never be matched. This is especially true since their careers are still going and they will surely add to their legacy.
It is unknown if you would find anyone who is more deserving to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. So on Saturday the Hall opened its doors to welcome Dave and Debbie.
Congratulations Dave and Debbie.