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Two men to be inducted into York-Adams Bowling Hall of Fame

BARRY SPARKS
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John Atkins

John Atkins Jr. and Denny Negley will be inducted into the York-Adams United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Porters Fire Hall near Spring Grove.

Atkins, 72, of Windsor, is being inducted for bowling ability, while Negley, 74, of Gettysburg, is being recognized for meritorious service.

Atkins didn't start bowling in a league until he was 33 years old. Within a few months, he realized he liked the challenge and the competition. He's been on the lanes ever since.

Even though he got a late start, Atkins has fashioned an impressive bowling resume over the past 40 years. 

"I didn't really think it would happen," said Atkins, discussing his election to the hall of fame. "I was surprised because there are so many talented bowlers in the York-Adams area. It's definitely a good feeling."

Atkins has collected 52 perfect games and 22 800 series. He has a high series of 860 and a high average of 230.

"A lot of people say I have a natural delivery and that I make the game look easy," he said. 

In reality, he has put countless hours into improving his game.

Although Atkins has reached all of his bowling goals, he said competition is what motivates him to keep going. He competes in three leagues and is still racking up standout scores.

"I've been bowling for 40  years and I don't plan to retire from the game until I can't walk," he said. 

Denny Negley

Negley has had a love affair with bowling for more than 50 years. He started bowling at Newville Lanes, an eight-lane house, in 1965 when he was a student at Big Spring High School in Cumberland County.   

Since then, he has been active on the lanes and in the local bowling association. He has held a number of offices, been a tournament director, a team organizer and travel coordinator for tournaments and a staunch advocate for the sport.

"I was very excited when I found out I had been elected to the hall of fame," he said. "I've always enjoyed bowling and being associated with the sport. It's a great honor."

When Negley starts something, he sticks with it. He has been honored for 40 years of participation in the York-Adams USBC Tournament and the Pennsylvania USBC Open Tournament, as well as 27 years competing in the USBC National Tournament.

For 25 years, Negley organized a group of 40 bowlers to travel and compete in the Honike Classic Tournament in Cincinnati. 

His contributions to York-Adams USBC include being a board member of Adams County before the merger, a board member of York-Adams USBC, a delegate to the state convention for both associations for 10 years and a house manager at Hanover Bowling Centre for the 2010 state tournament.

On the lanes, Denny owns a pair of 300s, a high series of 759 and a high average of 211.

The perfect games are special to him. He rolled his first on Oct. 16, 2000, at Gilley's Bowl and the second on Feb. 20, 2001, at Edgewood Lanes.

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.