Tony Chibi was a three-time Canadian Bowling Champion. To date, he is one of a select few bowlers inducted into the Windsor-Essex Sports Hall of Fame.
Tony Chibi was born on January 31,1936 in Punnichy, Saskatchewan, a small village 80 miles northeast of Regina.
As a teenager living in Essex County, Chibi took a job at Park Lanes in Leamington in 1952. Under the watchful eye of Arnold Velhuizen, Chibi began to acquire some basic bowling skills.
In 1952 while working at Park Lanes in Leamington, he acquired some basic bowling skills under the watchful eye of Arnold Veldhuizen. Chibi quickly demonstrated a real aptitude for the sport and, at the behest of Pat Mitchell, began to bowl competitively in Windsor.
By the late 1950s, Chibi had established himself as one of the strongest bowlers in the region. He won the Essex County Masters title in 1957, ’58, and ’62 while putting together a string on five consecutive provincial titles between 1959 and ’63.
In 1962, he was crowned champion of the Molson Masters Tournament.
Chibi went on to win the Canadian Bowling Championship in 1960, ’61, and ’63. This hat trick of titles remains his enduring legacy in the bowling community.
At the height of his powers, Chibi was named Ontario Bowler of the Year twice, in 1961 and ’63.
Chibi regularly competed in – and won – competitive bowling tournaments on the other side of the border. Of particular note, he took part in three Masters Tournaments, held in Toledo, Detroit and Buffalo. He also won the Brunswick Tournament, staged in Chicago.
As Canadian Champion, Chibi was also afforded automatic entry into multiple World Invitational Championships and three American Bowling Congress Masters tournaments.
In 1963, Chibi won the Tournament of the Americas competition in Miami, Florida. Remarkably, he was inducted into the Miami Bowling Hall of Fame that same year.
Chibi’s brilliant career was sadly extinguished prematurely by bursitis, a painful inflammatory condition. He was forced to retire from the game at the age of thirty.
“Tony Chibi can look back on a career that will be hard to match in the annals of Canadian bowling,” wrote Jack Grewell of the Leamington Post as a way of eulogizing his legendary career.
In 1966, shortly after the end of his competitive career, Chibi became the first inductee into the Windsor Essex Chatham Kent Bowling Association (WECKBA) Hall of Fame.
He passed away February 23, 2005.