by Fred Eisenhammer
NORTHRIDGE – It’s Las Vegas’ gain and L.A.’s loss.Charles Kenny, perhaps the Valley-area’s most electrifying bowler, will be leaving the area “at the end of the year.”
The 35-year-old Kenny cited “economic reasons” for his decision to move to Nevada. “It’s time for a change,” Kenny said.
In February, the right-handed Kenny turned in a stun-ning performance when he blistered an 876 series with games of 300, 277 and 299 in league play at Jewel City Bowl in Glendale. Kenny, a Northridge resident, rolled 34 strikes out of a possible 36.
That series is believed to be the second-highest sanctioned series in San Fernando Valley history – surpassed only by the 888 that Anthony Sharperson recorded in 2011 at now-defunct Mission Hills Bowl.
The 800 series and 300 honors scores were nothing new for Kenny. That perfect game was his 81st and his 800s number in the 50s.
Kenny has shot a perfect game at virtually all the current Valley bowling centers. Two years ago, Kenny recorded another spectacular performance when he blasted four perfect games within one month – all at different bowling centers. Those venues included Winnetka Bowl, Santa Clarita Lanes, Mission Hills Bowl and Jewel City Bowl.
Kenny said the closing of Mission Hills Bowl in May 2015 has been tough on him. “It’s not as much fun any-more,” he said. “All the people I used to hang around with I never see any more. Mission was like a second home for me. I bowl all over the place now. I really don’t have a home.”
Las Vegas has become a mecca of bowling with all its Professional Bowlers Assn. events and tournaments. In comparison, L.A. can seem like a wasteland and that fact hasn’t gone unnoticed by Kenny.
“I love to bowl and I like a new challenge,” said Kenny, who was born in Granada Hills and is known for his powerful shots.
Interestingly, Kenny grew up making a name for himself in another sport – baseball. A second-team All-City first baseman, Kenny led Chatsworth High School to the City Section baseball championship with a 17-7 victory over Poly in 1999 at Dodger Stadium.
Kenny had three hits (two singles and a triple) in three at-bats and drove in six runs with a stolen base in that title game. He was 18 years old.
“That ranks far and away as my favorite moment,” Kenny said. “I played with people who I grew up with. The year before we lost at Dodger Stadium and our whole goal was to go back and win. Baseball was always the main thing and bowling was the hobby.”
Injuries sidetracked Kenny’s baseball aspirations so he went on to thrive for 10 years in the highly competitive Bill Mossontte Majors league at Mission Hills Bowl. When the Mossontte Majors league found a new home at Corbin Bowl in Tarzana, Kenny moved over with the league.
Troy Gibson has bowled with Kenny in the Mossontte league and calls his colleague “the best bowler I’ve seen, for sure. He’s like a machine.”
Top senior Russell Booth, who often bowls with Ken-ny, says “I’m going to miss him as a friend. I’ve seen him come a long way since I met him for the first time in bowling. I’ve seen him become much better skillfully.”
And Booth adds: “Hardly anyone in L.A. throws pins around like he does.”Kenny has been widely mentioned as one of the most likely bowlers to become the first in the L.A. area to roll a 900 series.
Kenny has said that a 900 series is an ultimate goal of his. Told that his chances to reach that mark in L.A. will be diminished because of his move to Las Vegas, Kenny laughed.“
You never know,” he said. “Maybe I can do it in both places [L.A. and Las Vegas]. Anything’s possible.”