by Fred Eisenhammer
WINNETKA – Elite bowler Johnnie Englehart has racked up another three perfect games in 2016, making it 66 in his career.
Just another ho-hum year for Englehart?
When Englehart looks back at 2016, he won’t be dwelling on his multiple 300 games. Rather he will be savoring a side trip he took in mid-August that landed him in Bullhead City, Ariz. Driving with him on that hot afternoon from the San Fernando Valley was Susan Moline, whose name would change that day to Susan Englehart.
“We traded lives and vows and away we went,” said Englehart, a resident of Winnetka who was wed in a polo shirt and shorts.
Englehart, 58, said that “no one knew” of his plans. “Surprise!” he said.
Bullhead City was just a stopover for Englehart en route to Laughlin, Nev. There, Englehart would bowl in his Winnetka Bowl league’s Sweepers competition.
Before Englehart embarked on his trip to Laughlin, he learned that Bullhead City had a chapel and was a mere 10 minutes away from Laughlin. So for this longtime Valley area superstar, bowling actually played second fiddle – to his wedding.
Recalling that memorable day on Aug. 19, Englehart said he and his wife agreed that he would “get down on one knee and all that crap. We got rings that day. She told me she’d be happy just going to City Hall and grabbing some witnesses and doing it that way.”
Their courtship spanned 12 years. Or as Susan corrected, “It was 12 and a half. You can’t say we rushed into it. It wasn’t a whirlwind thing. We did it when it was right and that’s what matters.”
Susan has been an off-and-on bowler who has witnessed about 20 of her husband’s perfect games.
She remembers the first time they were together and “everybody was going crazy” around Johnnie. When she asked what was going on, Englehart replied that he had just bowled a perfect game.
“A 300. That’s good, right?” she remembers asking him. “That was my first experience with a 300,” said Susan, laughing.
Susan is now aware that Johnnie has set his sights on an extremely rare feat – bowling 100 perfect games and 100 800 series. “I’m counting on it,” she said. Johnnie has rolled 67 800 series, although none so far this year.
Susan also recognized that she got more than an ace bowler as a husband. “He’s pretty awesome,” she said. “I got a good guy. I’m a very happy girl.”