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Another Concannon on top of the duckpin bowling world

POSTED August 31, 2012
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                           Another Concannon on top of the duckpin bowling world       

     TORRINGTON – That old duckpin blood sure runs thick in the Concannon family.

            Before former Torrington resident Miles Concannon took on the nom de  plume `Mississippi Mudcat’ and was entertaining the masses  over the radio with Patsy Cline, the Statler Brothers, Roy Acuff and the rest of the country western world, he rolled the small ball with nationally known precision.

            Concannon was the sixth-ranked bowler in the country in 1993, was nationally ranked three times and registered a tournament win at Lucky Strike Lanes in Willimantic in 1995. Duckpin bowling is a regional sport and he rolled the ball in places like Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., Rhode Island and Connecticut while posting a 149 average.

            In a sport where a perfect 300 game has never been thrown and the world record is a 279, Concannon once threw a 236 and registered  over a hundred 200 games. The man could play his records and CDs with style but he played the duckpin game even better.

            Concannon’s career started to wind down about 20 years ago when he had the knee cap on his sliding leg removed. Arthritis set in and he fell a year ago which pretty much made the game a memory, albeit a very good memory.

            But it didn’t end there, it wasn’t going to end there for the 60-year old retired postal worker who now lives in Adams, Mass. Because there is 29-year old daughter Kristen. Robustelli who lives in Middletown. .

            Earlier this summer Kristen was ranked as the No. 1 women’s duck pin bowler in Connecticut by the Bowlers Association of Connecticut. The apple of dad’s duck pin eye, who has been ranked in the top 10 bowlers in the state for the last seven years, averages a shade over 130.

            Kristen, who plays out of T-Bowl in Newington, was also the top seed and finished third in the National Women’s Duck Pin Pro Tour Championship in 2011. For the 2010-11 she was ranked 19th in the United States.

            “She’s pretty tough,” understated her proud father.

            All the success isn’t really a stunner. Okay, first there is dad who established his own sweet career and passed along the genes and a few tips along the way. Her grandfather, also Miles Concannon, led the national singles tournament until the last shift in 1951.

The family connection is long but not the only ingredient to the success. There is more.

            Kristen was also taught by Torrington duck pin legend and Connecticut Hall of Famer Dan Lopardo who owned Arcade Lanes. Twice a week she would practice and play in leagues, developing a formidable game.

            And, it was all evident early.

            “When she was young, her bantam team won the state tournament and finished second in the nationals,” said Concannon. “She got a trophy for the top three set.”

            There was also a bit of irony associated with her first adult win.    

            “She won was the Dan Lopardo Memorial Tournament in Cheshire after he had passed away,” said Concannon. 

            Kristen recently gave birth to a daughter, Reese, in June and has a son, Chase. But she is never far from the game.

            Her husband Luke is the President of the National Duck Pin Bowler’s Association and fine roller in his own right. He plays on the tour and was a tournament winner a year ago. By the way, the last name should raise an eyebrow or two at least from the veterans out there.

            Remember the late Andy Robustelli, New York Giant defensive end enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. That was Luke’s grandfather.  As long as we’re talking about famous connections, Miles Concannon’s cousin is Litchfield Hills Road Race co-founder and famed Boston Globe sportswriter, Joe Concannon.

            There is plenty of name all around here. And plenty of game. Kristen Robustelli is the latest in a blood line that keeps on rolling strikes.



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