Central Pair Helps USA Win North American Challange

Rob & Bob

Two Guys From Milwaukee, (no, not Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson…sorry, got stuck in the Way Back Machine there for a second), but rather Bob Schneider and Rob Behncke, were a large factor in the USA’s first ever victory over Canada in the North American Challenge.  This international competition between the US and Canada was founded by long time Central Division, Milwaukee Lake Park, and Hall of Fame member R. Gil Stephan. 

Bob and Rob did a stalwart job in the pairs and fours.  The US has won a division or two of this event over the years, but this time Team USA delivered the goods and won both the men’s and women’s sections, thereby capturing the overall title.  It should also be noted that the team manager was a well known former Central Division guy, Steve Nelson.  Congratulations and well done to all involved.

Team USA

Trophies for Each Division



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2018 Otto Hess Triples

Gryzbowskis and Andresen Repeat as Champions

The team of Jim Grzybowski, Leif Andresen, and Randy Grzybowski won the Otto Hess tournament tournament for the second year in a row.  This year the tournament director, Rob Behncke, introduced an interesting new format which he was introduced to at China Bowls.  After some great competition, Jim, Leif, and Randy outpointed the second place finishers: Rob Behncke, Carl Landgren, and Olia Frolova.  Coming up a few plus points short of second to finish in third place was the team of Tony Baer, Max Cavender, and Ken Koening.


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Bob Schneider Wins 2018 Singles Playdowns

Jim & Bob

Copious quantities of calcium carbonate were called for in the final match between Bob Schneider and Jim Gryzbowski.  Jim Cavender, who was marking the game, commented on how he was earning his pay with all the chalk he was using.  After a day one round robin, Bob and Jim were undefeated and found themselves in a double elimination playoff.  Jim prevailed in game one while Bob came back to win in game two.  After a night in which both players observed a strict training regimen (or so they claimed), game three commenced the following morning.  The lead went back and forth throughout the first part of the game.   Both players were really dialed in and were making great shots.  Finally, Bob’s steady and consistent draw game were too much for Jim to overcome

Schneider and Grzybowski size up the head while Cavender looks on in disgust after realizing there is not one single toucher in the bunch.  Thankfully both players stepped up their game and quickly recovered from this shoddy example of bowls.  Good luck to all the Central Division players at the National Championships.

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Bob Schneider Takes The Central Division Singles

Carl & Bob

Both Bob Schneider and Carl Landgren were undefeated going into the final game of the 2018 Central Singles.  Bob went up early, but Carl fought his way back to narrow the margin.  In the end, Bob’s steady play made the difference, and he won yet another Central Division championship.  Carl Landgren finished second.  Jim Cavender was third and Rob Behncke finished fourth. 




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Pairs Playdowns 2018


Rob Behncke and Jim Cavender, Anna Witt and Rebecca Nguyen

Rob & Jim

Rebecca & Anna

Yes, it’s that Rob guy again.  Rob Behncke and Jim Cavender finished in first place edging out last year’s winners Jim Grzybowski and Leif Andresen by one shot in the last game.  Rob has been winning everything this year while Jim, on the other had, has been hors de combat for the last few years with knee problems.  Now it appears that he is regaining the form that gave him two previous National Championships.  Anna and Rebecca went undefeated in the women’s event.  Good luck to all at the Nationals.


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Central Division Pairs 2018

Scott & Rob

Rob Behncke continued his winning ways as he and his lead Scott Wisniewski  won the 2018 Central Division Pairs Championship.  They overcame some tough competition to narrowly outpoint second place finishers Jim Grzybowski and Randy GryzbowskiBob Schneider and Leif Andresen finished in third while Anna Witt and  Rebecca Nguyen finished in fourth.  Scott is a long time lawn bowler who hasn’t played much over the years due to having a life outside of bowls.  (Is that even possible?)  Nevertheless, he did an outstanding job. The tournament featured a lot of close games as was evidenced by several ties.  Once again the New Zealand team of Helen and Alan Carmen gave everyone a real battle in all of their games.  

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POTLICKER CUP 2018 (a.k.a. the Rob & Bob Show)

Bob Schneider & Rob Behncke

With the results of the 19th annual tournament in the pot, it is quite apparent who the foremost Potlickers are.  For the sixth year in a row the Potlickers extraordinaire were Rob Behncke and Bob Schneider, who are seen here hoisting the vaunted Potlicker Cup in victory.  However, this year it was a very close finish as the team of Brian Schieble and Jim Cavender ending up tieing with the same number of wins.  Rob and Bob outpointed Brian and Jim by a slim margin to take first place.  Carl Landgren and Mark Mathwig finished in third place.

A cold and windy Saturday was followed by a chilly and soggy Sunday with a steady all-day rain.  Somehow Rob and Bob seemed to be not as affected by the miserable conditions and  the slow greens as were most of their opponents.  They appeared to have less trouble holding onto and delivering their bowls than did their dampened competitors.  To borrow a phrase from horse racing, Rob and Bob proved to be really good mudders.

Despite the unfortunate conditions, a wonderful time was had by all.  Among the comments from this group of intrepid and dedicated lawn bowlers were:  “Next year, let’s do this on a summer weekend.”  “Are we done yet?”  “Can we play only 6 ends?”  “Has anyone seen my umbrella?” “Why isn’t the TV bigger?”  &  “Are you sure there’s enough beer in the clubhouse?”

I believe it was Vince Lombardi (also known in Wisconsin as St Vince) who said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  You can see this plainly illustrated here by the celebratory elation of Rob and Bob compared to the dejection of the second place finishers Brian and Jim.  Stay tuned for the upcoming Central Division Tournaments.  See the Tournaments link for entry forms.

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2017 US National Championships


In the 2017 National Championships, the Central Division acquitted itself admirably.  The men’s pairs team of Jim Grzybowski and Leif Andresen finished in a four way tie for first place before losing by one shot in a playoff to Steve Smith and Bill Brault, the eventual champions.  Rob Behncke, the men’s singles entry, started off great with three wins out of the first four games.  This included giving the 2017 champion Charlie Herbert his only loss of the tournament.  Unfortunately Rob couldn’t maintain his momentum and finished up in the middle of the pack.

Rosa, Rebecca. Anna, Leif, Jim, & Rob

The women’s pairs team of Anna Witt and Rebecca Nguyen finished in second place with a strong performance.  Rosa Baer the singles entrant came in third in her event.  Rosa was handicapped by not having a nearby home green on which to practice in the weeks leading up to the championships along with becoming ill early in the week.  All of these ladies are former national champions. 

The Central Division probably has the shortest playing season of any of the US divisions, with maybe five or six months of good bowling weather.  Yet it was, and still is, the home of some great bowlers who have excelled nationally and internationally over the years. Playing against other strong bowlers as well as with having to adjust to constantly changing conditions in weather and green speed have been a factor in producing highly competitive bowlers.


John & Steve

Two guys who recently defected from the Central Division to spend their “golden” years in the south (aka whimps) proudly wore their Central Division green at the US Open.  Steve Nelson and John Kirkwood defeated some extremely strong teams to go undefeated on day one.  They lost their first game on day two and went into the the second flight.  Then they made it all the way to the finals where they came in second place.  Way to go green guys!  Great job!

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