Center in Small Ohio Town Produces a $3 Million Winner

by Bob Johnson 0

After months of frenzied waiting, there’s finally a winner in the huge Queen of Hearts game at Skylane Bowling in Garrettsville, Ohio.

Taking the $3.4 million prize is Terri Vechery, a 74-year-old resident of nearby Mantua. She was not present, so she’ll get 90% of the pot, or $3.082 million. The other 10% will roll over into a new Queen game that will start in about a month.

The companion 50-50 game also set a record, with a $312,000 jackpot. Jeff Stosik of Warren, Ohio, won $156,000, and the other half will be split between Portage County libraries and the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce.

The Queen game began more than a year ago with 54 hidden cards, and went down to the final three cards, igniting Queen of Hearts fever that put the 16-lane center in the spotlight for months.

Senior correspondent Dennis Bergendorf has been all over this story, and will have a feature story on its genesis and progress in the October issue of Bowling Center Management.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.