by Dave Williams
Not a lot is known about Dylan Taylor, the young bowler from Scottsdale, Arizona, that drove into Albuquerque during the month of August and came away with a top prize of $11,000 in the New Mexico Open, held at Tenpins & More in Rio Rancho.
All that he did to accomplish that milestone was to defeat one of the hottest bowlers on the planet — two time U.S. Open champion Francois Lavoie of Wichita, Kansas, in a double elimination style format. Lavoie received $5,620 for his second place finish.
For those of you that may not have heard of Harry Smith, he was one of the unheralded stars of the team bowling era of the 1950’s, competing with the famous Falstaff Beer team. He gained a reputation for his unorthodox style, and also for his tenacity on the lanes that led to the nickname “Tiger” by his teammates and foes.
Harry Smith was always one of the favorites among junior bowlers in the 1960’s to imitate during practice sessions. Many marveled at his style, drifting more than twenty boards on the approach and then hopping at the end, when he released all of that energy onto the lane as his ball went curving towards the pocket.
Dylan Taylor might be someone for the youngsters to emulate today. His stance begins completely sideways from the pins, but just like Harry Smith, he straightens everything out upon his release, as he lets loose a powerful high rolling ball towards the 1-3 pocket with pin punishing power.
Many at the Rio Rancho affair commented on Taylor’s unconventional approach that earned him the “underdog moniker,” according to tournament host Steve Mackie. “But he later turned that phrase around with terms such as Dylan the Destroyer, and Dylan the Dominator,” said Mackie.
Taylor’s only loss came at the hands of Lavoie, by a score of 387-493 (two games), that moved Dylan into the loser’s bracket. There he defeated Keith Dommer of Tucson, Arizona, 235-173 (one game) to earn the right to compete against Matthew Zweig, also of Scottsdale, and Cortez Schenck of Phoenix, before taking on the top seeded Lavoie.
In the stepladder finals, Taylor beat Zweig 216-161, then Schenck 209-205, and finally Lavoie 224-190. Then in the double elimination title match, Taylor defeated superstar Lavoie by the narrowest of margins, 176 to 175. It was up to Taylor to win or lose in the final frame, and he triumphed with a spare and eight pins to win by just a single pin.
Harry Smith went on to star in the PBA, where he was one of the original 33 charter members. He would eventually win 12 tour stops to go with 4 USBC Open Championships and the USBC Masters title in 1963. Smith recorded 12 sanctioned 300 games and a top three game series of 843 throughout his illustrious career.
Young Taylor already has 26 perfect games and fourteen series over 800 for three games (at last count). But comparing numbers from different eras is difficult – it’s much easier to compare styles!
HARRY “TIGER” SMITH DIES AT 91 — After writing this editorial comparing the styles of Dylan Taylor and Harry Smith, I learned of Mr. Smith’s passing at the age of 91, in a September 2nd news release from the PBA. The entire release can be found at:
NEW MEXICO OPEN
Tenpins & More – Rio Rancho, NM
BOWLER HOMETOWN PRIZE
Dylan Taylor Scottsdale, AZ $11,000
Francois Lavoie Wichita, KS $ 5,620
Cortez Schenck Phoenix, AZ $ 3,120
Matthew Zweig Scottsdale, AZ $. 2,000
STEPLADDER RESULTS: Taylor defeated Zweig 216-161; Taylor defeated Schenck 209-205; Taylor defeated Lavoie 224-190; and in the Double Elimination Title Match, Taylor defeated Lavoie 176-175.
5. Billy Gensch Denver, CO $ 1,860
6. Keith Dommer Tucson, AZ $ 1,860
7. John McIntyre Colorado Springs, CO $ 1,710
8. Clay Rees Lehi, UT $. 1,620
9. Steve Smith San Diego, CA $ 1,250
10.Kyle Duster Phoenix, AZ $. 1,250
11.Robert Marion Colorado Springs, CO $ 1,250
12.Keith Fung Phoenix, AZ $. 1,250
13.Stu Williams Pluegerville, TX $. 1,100
14.John Johnson Denver, CO $. 1,100
15.Michael Fitzgerald Phoenix, AZ $. 1,100
16.Dale Coffee Colorado Springs, CO $ 1,100
Low to Cash: 1525 (8 games). A total of 49 places were paid.
SPECIAL PRIZES: High Woman Out of Cash Prize List: Aileen Linares, Rio Rancho, NM, $300; High Senior Out of Cash Prize List: Jim Tillery, Creede, CO, $300; and Top Youth Out of Cash Prize List: Madison Holman, Phoenix, AZ, $300.
(Steve Mackie announced that next year’s tournament will be held August 19th-21st, 2022)