During breaks in the action at the Sequoia Pro Bowl this week in Columbus, Ohio, it’s usually not hard to find Walter Ray Williams Jr. Just follow the extension cord to his motorhome.
According to a report in the Columbus Dispatch, during the lull between pro-am sessions, Williams was fixing a defective water hose coupling so he could refill the RV’s reservoir.
“These are things you have to do from time to time,” said Williams, the Professional Bowlers Association leading tournament winner and money-winner, and also a spokesperson for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “It’s part of it.”
It’s also worth it for Williams. When he finished repairing the hose, he made his way back inside, where he was greeted by his 18-month-old daughter, Rebecca.
“This is the great part,” Williams said. “I’ve got my family.”
He and his wife, Paige, committed 17 years ago to hitting the road during the PBA season. They graduated from a succession of fifth-wheels to the luxury motor coach two years ago.
Then Rebecca came along.
“I said I didn’t want to drag a baby around the country,” Paige Williams said. “And here I am, 44 years old, dragging a baby around the country.”
It was more manageable last year when Rebecca was barely crawling. She’s toddling now, and it’s still good – that is, when the weather is great and a playground is nearby. Otherwise, she’s a handful.
“It is what it is,” Paige said. “Like my dad said, ‘You bit it.’ ”
She jumped into a pro bowler’s life, and there are rarely such things as home games on the PBA Tour. But the Williams family has the next best thing.
“Most people who have RVs use them for vacations,” Paige said. “This is our home something like 20 weeks a year. When we get to our home back in Ocala (Fla.) at the end of the season, now that’s like vacation for us.”
According to the Columbus Dispatch, they jumped on the RV bandwagon because Paige dislikes hotels. The coach is spacious and it has ample closets so clothes don’t have to be packed and unpacked.
And the entrance to Sequoia Pro Bowl is 25 yards away. When she knows Walter Ray is on, she and Rebecca can make the trip, watch him bowl, then be back “home” in seconds.
Only a couple of other bowlers regularly do the RV thing, despite Williams’ success. He has been RVing for 17 seasons, and he’s won at least one tournament in 16 straight seasons. Go RVing uses him to talk up the lifestyle.
On a schedule that zigzags to all but the southeast corner of the country from Sept. 20 to April 5, the Williamses share the driving duties, Paige said, though he does most of it. They also eat the majority of their meals in the RV, which has an ample galley.
“Unfortunately, after this week we’re going to go home and they’re going to stay there while I finish the last three tournaments,” Walter Ray said. “So I’m going to be a little disappointed by that.”
As he holds Rebecca in his lap, it’s obvious he is a homebody, even if it is on the road.
“Oh, I love it when they’re with me,” Walter Ray said.