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Saturday, July 26, 2003
Walter Ray Williams Sr. goes back 'home'
Williams enjoys ESPYs

Villager watches son
win award at ESPN
awards in Los Angeles

By STEVE DAY
Daily Sun

THE VILLAGES - If you thought you saw one of your neighbors on the ESPY Awards last week, you may have been correct.

Walter Ray Williams Sr., was in Los Angeles for the nationally-televised awards presentation. His son, Walter Ray Jr., was a nominee. The trip to the presentation show had a happy ending when the younger Williams won the Top-Bowler-of-the-Year award.

For Williams Sr., the trip to Los Angeles was like going home. He is originally from the Los Angeles area. Williams Jr. was not the only member of his family feted during the trip.

"My kids put me up on the West Coast and had a 70th birthday party for me," The Villages resident said.



Photo by George Horsford / Daily Sun

At the Paradise Recreation Center horseshoe pits, Walter Ray Williams Sr., holds a program from the ESPY Awards which was held in Los Angeles. Walter Williams attended the awards ceremony with his son, Walter Ray Williams Jr., who received an ESPY Award for best bowler. In the background, David Hood practices his horseshoe throwing for an upcoming tournament.
"It was a beautiful trip. It was surely like going home. It's not often I get all seven of my kids together at one time. To me spending time with my kids is important and I'm glad to do it anytime. Walter Ray is the only. one who lives in Florida. He's the reason I retired here four years ago."

Williams said ESPN took care of his transportation. "I spent eight days Maui," Williams said. "Last year they flew me from Orlando to Los Angeles to Orlando. This year they flew me from Maui to Los Angeles to Orlando."

In true fatherly style, Williams pointed out that his son appeared as a guest announcer on the Jimmy Kimmel Show while in California.

Horseshoe pitching is a family tradition in the Williams family. The senior Williams said he had won several city titles and a division at the state.

Williams has four sons and three daughters. "All seven of my kids won at least one state or national title," Williams said. "I don't pitch anymore. I'm just a spectator. We had three girls, then Walter Ray and then three more boys. I have twin boys who are 38 and are my youngest."

Although his son has numerous bowling titles and is in both the bowling and horseshoe Halls of Fame, the senior Williams never was involved much in bowling.

"I managed a bowling alley for six months in 1964," he said. "Bowling was his choice. His first choice would have been horseshoe pitching but it's pretty hard to put yourself through college and make a living pitching horseshoes."

Williams said his son, who has a degree in physics from Cal-Poly Pomona, would "probably be teaching mathematics or physics if he wasn't a bowler."

Since the bowling season came to a halt, the younger Williams has made quite a few appearances in horseshoe tournaments in The Villages. You can always count on his father being close by, sitting in his lawn chair under a shade tree watching his pride-and-joy pitch.




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