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York County's Slenker, Gilbert own rare bowling accomplishments

Barry Sparks
For The York Dispatch

Dane Slenker, 67, and Barry Gilbert, 73, own rare bowling accomplishments. After some research, it appears as if they are the only York County bowlers who can tout their individual achievements.

Slenker has tallied a perfect game in six consecutive decades, while Gilbert has rolled a 300 game and an 800 series in five consecutive decades.

Slenker, a York resident, rolled his first 300 game on May 13, 1978, at Lion Bowl. He notched his latest perfect game in March 2020 at Suburban Bowlerama.

Gilbert, a Mountville, Lancaster County, resident, recorded his first perfect game in April 1977. He became the first bowler to roll an 800 series in York County on Dec. 7, 1978, at East Lincoln Lanes. He tallied games of 290, 279 and 240 in the Traveling League for an 806 series.

Dane Slenker, pictured in 2022, has bowled a perfect game in six consecutive decades, with his first coming in 1978 and his most recent in 2020.

"I'm very proud of having rolled perfect games in six decades," said Slenker, who was inducted into the York-Adams USBC Hall of Fame in 2013. "Of course, registering a 300 game was much more difficult in the 1970s and 1980s than it is today. Being consistent and adapting to the changing environment have been keys to being able to excel over the years."

Slenker pointed out that there's more emphasis on speed, revolutions and ball selection today than in the past. Additionally, the lane conditions are less challenging.

"Having a 300 and an 800 for five consecutive decades is every meaningful to me," Gilbert said. "An 800 series was particularly rare in the 1970s and 1980s."

Barry Gilbert, pictured in 2022, has rolled both a 300 game and 800 series in five consecutive decades.

Gilbert, who was inducted into the York-Adams USBC earlier this year, believes recording another 300 game and 800 series is possible. This past season, he tallied 11 of 12 strikes on three occasions.

"A 300 and 800 in the same night is the ultimate dream," he said. "If everything goes my way, I think I can do it."

Tim Shanabrook, 77, a York-Adams USBC Hall of Famer from Hanover, is impressed by Slenker and Gilbert.

"What Dane and Barry have done is incredible," he said. "I have a great appreciation for what they've accomplished. And other bowlers should, too. Their achievements indicate they have competed at a high skill level over a long period of time. They are extremely talented and dedicated."

Slenker and Gilbert have piled up dozens of honors during their careers, but nothing compares to their decades-long achievements.