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Illinois Valley Super Bowl owner Jim Stubler has advice for anyone who has thoughts of betting on this weekend’s PBA Midwest Region Illinois Valley Viper Classic in Peru — put money on Pete Weber.
“Absolutely, he surely is the favorite,” Stubler said. “If you’re betting against him, boy, I tell you that’s bad money spent right there. You better be getting some pretty good odds.”
Stubler has good reason to call Weber the favorite.
Weber, who has won 37 national titles including five U.S. Open championships, has won the event in Peru five times in six appearances — including a win last year — and placed second in his other trip to the Illinois Valley.
“I really don’t know (why Weber is so successful at the Super Bowl),” Stubler said. “He matches up with the building really well. As a bowler, there are certain places you walk into and you always do good there and there are other places you struggle. For whatever reason, whether it’s the lighting or lane conditions or the approaches, Pete matches up very well with this place.”
Weber will try to repeat when the PBA tour comes to Peru for the 15th time this weekend.
The festivities begin Friday with a regular Pro-Am at 5:30 p.m. and a “Fab 5” Pro-Am at 7:30 p.m.
The tournament begins at Noon Saturday with the top 16 bowlers advancing to Sunday. There is another Pro-Am at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The top 16 will bowl in round robin match play beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday with a Top 5 stepladder to follow at 3 p.m.
Along with Weber, the field includes several other top bowlers, including Tom Hess (2011 USBC Masters Champion), Steve Jaros (seven national titles) and Dave Traber (four national titles).
“The field is strong,” Stubler said. “Anytime you have Pete, Steve Jaros, the Traber brothers (Dave and Dale) and Tom Hess, the field is extremely strong.”
Three local players — J.T. Dant, Todd Lane and Joe Zokal, a NewsTribune employee — hope to contend as well.
Lane was the top local finisher last year as he racked up 1,679 pins to place 23rd. Zokal and Dant placed 52nd and 53rd with 1,580 pins and 1,529 pins, respectively.
“Joe (on Tuesday) night bowled in league and had a nice night,” Stubler said. “He had just short of 900 in four (games) so he averaged around 225. Tom Lane came over and subbed. He averaged about 210. J.T. struggled a little bit. He had one good game but he might have been playing around with different bowling balls to see how the lanes are going to react. When I was watching him, it looked like he was doing pretty well.”
The projected prize for the tournament champion is $2,500, according to www.pba.com , while the final cash spot will receive a minimum of $400.