1981 Showboat – Mark Roth vs. Earl Anthony pt1

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The date was January 17, 1981 at the Showboat Lanes, in Las Vegas, NV. In the championship game, two of my all time favorites were featured. Earl Anthony, who qualified 3rd, knock off his first two opponents to meet Mark Roth for the championship. In a fairly close match, then went to the end, Roth prevailed 253-220 to capture the $21,000 first prize, the largest of his career up to that time. They even mention it but listen for how loud Roth's footsteps are in his approach. He was on fire carrying everything. Hope you enjoy the match. For more bowling, links, and my new message board, hop over to

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20 Comments on “1981 Showboat – Mark Roth vs. Earl Anthony pt1”

  1. same for me; used to play in a league on saturday morning (early 70’s – used to leave the house when HR Puffenstuff was coming on lol) and then love to come home and watch these guys.

  2. wow! i would watch this match over and over…2 great bowlers: one with a classic, nice and easy style and the other, dynamic and powerful. awesome!

  3. great video I took Mark Roths style and made it my own I loved to see him bowl. if there is any intimidation in bowling he invented it

  4. I can see why Earl is the greatest in the Bowling world. Even in the 1997 vids of him he still has that amazing solid delivery. O_O;

    I hope to get that consistency with my bowling eventually. XD

  5. @Nelvin78 Earl would surprise you. His practice sessions were something to behold. He would take 2 coke bottles and separate them by 1/2-3/4 of a board on each side. He would have roughly a gap of 1 board separation and shoot between the bottles. Once on TV he as he threw a shot he said “1/4 board off” and he wrapped a 7 pin. Bo Burton was like WTF?? Thats how accurate that man was. He was around for the reactive transition, He did gravitate inside of 5 and won some senior titles

  6. @jukeboxwiz The showboat actually had 108 lanes. 1-80 were in one room, and in another part was 81-108. Unfortunately the showboat faced the wrecking ball some time ago, but there was a ton of PBA history in that center.

  7. @apodino Thanks – so I was right about 80! 🙂 This is such a great post for so many reasons. I live nearby Riviera Lanes which used to be home to the Firestone TOC. Earl and Mark and their styles of course, but balls, pins, and broadcasting styles have all been commented on comparing them to today. I also wanted to point out lanes 59-60 as being quite unique. Unfortunately, many great houses faced the wrecking ball and there just aren’t many left with more than 24 lanes anymore. What a house!

  8. This is awesome. My favorite 2 bowlers of all time as well, although I do love Pete Weber as well. I was 14 when this match took place, but I remember watching anytime either of these guys bowled because my family liked bowling so much that we watched often.

  9. @FlaRaider – I agree that the old lacquered wood lanes combined with the polyester bowling balls made consistency and accuracy a premium, since the ball didn’t have the friction to bounce back and create area. On the other hand, since there weren’t crazy ball cores or coverstocks, ball reaction was a lot more predictable, and adjustments on the lane were much smaller. Overall, I think today’s game can be just as challenging as it was 30 years ago – it’s just become more complex.

  10. I just started learning how to bowl seriously back in late august and Roth is the guy I should mimic when bowling (He used to bowl in leagues) because I was more of a power bowler. I’m not 100% there and I still need to get more accurate but actually watching him bowl is already helping. If I can just get the accuracy to hit the same spot every time then I would be good. This guy was a beast.

  11. Saturday afternoons, freezing cold outside. I’d watch this, grab some supper and then head out and party with my friends all night. God I miss being young….

  12. Right there with ya !! Sat afternoons, freezing out…those were the days ! Watching the PBA on ABC !!

  13. I was fortunate enough to bowl on the same lanes with both of these guys in a pro-am tournament when I was young.

  14. dang how many time has earl left so many solid pocket hits leaving the 7 pin on the first shot lol

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