E-dition No. 944 • Editor: Bob Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Center Qualifiers Available for 2018 U.S. Open
Bowling centers across the country will have the opportunity to host a pre-tournament qualifying event for the 2018 U.S. Open starting in November, and centers also can submit applications to serve as host center for the major tournament.
The U.S. Open features a limited field based on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour money list and finishes at national and international events, but for the 2018 tournament, bowlers will have the opportunity to be part of the field through the pre-qualifying events, too.
Centers can apply to host a pre-qualifying event, provided the center meets certain format requirements, which include having an event with a minimum of nine qualifying games and paying the cost for one spot in the U.S. Open field.
Pre-qualifying events can be held starting Nov. 1, 2017, and no later than May 1, 2018.
The U.S. Open is jointly funded by the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America.
“We want to extend the opportunity for bowling centers to be involved with one of the premier events in our sport and provide their bowlers with the chance to compete against the best bowlers in the world,” BPAA Executive Director Frank DeSocio said.
The U.S. Open also is seeking applications from centers interested in hosting the 2018 U.S. Open. Tentative dates are Oct. 24-31, 2018.
Centers can go to Bowl.com/USOpen for more information, including criteria and “Request for Proposal” forms for both pre-tournament qualifying events and for the 2018 U.S. Open.
For more on the qualifiers, click here: https://bcmmag.com/2017/03/21/centers-can-host-qualifiers-for-2018-u-s-open/.
Family Matters: Les Zikes Bowls in 65th USBC Open
United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Les Zikes of Palatine, Ill., added another milestone to his resumé on Monday as he became the 11th player in history to reach 65 years of participation at the USBC Open Championships — the tournament known, for most of his career, as the American Bowling Congress Tournament.
The 82-year-old right-hander was joined by his wife, Mary Cay, and son, Lyle, as he was introduced and honored at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas. He received a plaque, chevron and a custom ring in recognition of his dedication to the event.
The Zikes family has owned Beverly Lanes in Arlington Heights, Ill., since 1979, and Les Zikes had managed the center for several years prior to that. Lyle writes the monthly “Pro Bowling Insider” column and the “Regional Report” department, as well as periodic features, for Bowlers Journal. He has been a BJI correspondent since 1976 when he penned a feature titled “Tales from the Bleachers,” which appeared in that year’s August issue.
A six-time Open Championships/ABC Tournament titlist, Les Zikes also has served as an ambassador for the sport for more than half a century, earning the respect and admiration of fellow competitors.
He finished his 65th appearance with scores of 570 in Singles, 562 in Doubles and 546 in Team for a 1678 All-Events total, placing him seventh overall in career pinfall with 112,564, a 197.48 average.
Wilmington Center Gets a QubicaAMF Makeover
Ten Pin Alley has been a staple in Wilmington, N.C., for many years, and in November 2015, Jim and Margaret Grago purchased the center, which is located in a 37,000-sq.ft. portion of what used to be a mall.
The purchase included 24 lanes, 29 pool tables, two bars and a full-service restaurant. But with a general decline in bowling business in the area, the Gragos knew they needed to invest in a makeover of the facility. So, last year, they decided to fully modernize, and selected QubicaAMF as their equipment provider.
Ten Pin Alley now includes SPL Select Bowling Lanes with new XLi EDGE Pinspotters, Harmony Ball Returns and the BES X Bowler Entertainment System.
With the new equipment, the center was able to capitalize on the closing of a nearby center last December, picking up almost every league bowler and nearly doubling its league business. Tenpin Alley also has seen a significant increase in open play linage, as well as food and beverage sales, helping push revenues across the entire business.
“QubicaAMF was a valuable partner in bringing our vision of a great bowling experience to life,” Jim Grago said.
Excited about their thriving business, the Gragos decided to advertise to the local market during the Super Bowl, and also purchased 50 additional commercials during the month of February. The commercial wowed the local market, creating buzz and bringing in new customers and other bowlers unaware of the center’s renovation. You can view the spot here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVo47aKdMWk.
While focused on growing open play, the couple is not turning its back on the sport of bowling. In May, it will host the PBA Xtra Frame Wilmington South Open. Details on that tournament, which will award a PBA title and a $10,000 first prize, are available here: http://www.pba.com/Tournaments/Details/2246.
Wisconsin Center to Add Horseshoe Pits
Attention, Walter Ray Williams Jr.! J and J Fireball Lanes in Portage, Wis., is planning to add outdoor horseshoe pits to its property in time for the summer season.
The center normally closes on Mondays and Tuesdays during the summer months, but owners Jim Baures and Jeff Bender say the pits would enable J and J to join the local tavern horseshoes league and remain open on those nights.
The City’s Planning Commission has approved the addition of the pits on a north section of the center’s parking lot, and on April 3 its Legislative and Regulatory Committee will consider a proposal to allow outdoor liquor sales at the site.
Plans call for the horseshoes area to be open from April 15 through Sept. 15.
Portage is located about 45 minutes north of Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison, and J and J Fireball Lanes is known locally for its pub fare, including pasta specials on Mondays as well as “Taco Tuesdays.”
P.S.: Some ideas for money-making opportunities in the “great outdoors” will be featured in the April issue of BCM, which is being prepped at the printer now.
Leslie Bohn Named Youth Volunteer of the Year
Leslie Bohn of Jackson, N.J., wife of PBA and USBC Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III, has been selected to receive the Volunteer of the Year Award by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee.
The award is presented each year to an adult volunteer who displays outstanding efforts to foster, organize and promote certified youth bowling at the local, state and/or national level.
“I simply do this to help promote the sport that has given so much to myself and our family,” she said. “The memories that are created among the bowlers and families will last a lifetime.”
Bohn is involved in organizing fundraisers for youth bowling, makes sure kids are aware of scholarship opportunities, organizes and runs the Parker Bohn III Youth Scholarship Tournament, and actively recruits teams to participate in the USBC Youth Open. So far, she has recruited 31 teams that will make the trip to Cleveland this summer for the Youth Open.
Kings Bowl, Foodies to Raise Funds for At-Risk Students
Kings Bowl Lincoln Park will once again become a strike zone for Chicago foodies and sports fans on Sunday, April 30 when former Chicago Bear, Rashied Davis, hosts “Chef Bowl 2017.”
Emceed by Ji Suk Yi of ABC 7’s “Windy City Live” and chaired by Chef Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno and Nonnina, the event will bring Chicago’s hottest chefs together for a day of bowling, delicious food and festivities to support Saturday Place.
In addition to Priolo, other participating chefs include Kevin Cuddihee (TWO), Dick Flanigan (Il Congilio), Kevin Hickey (Duck Inn), Brian Jupiter (Frontier), Cory Morris (Ronero), Todd Stein (Formento’s), Giuseppe Tentori (GT Prime) and Tom Valente (Lucille), among others.
During the event, all chefs will compete in a “Turkey Bowl” competition, aiming to bowl three consecutive strikes in unique and challenging ways. The chef with the highest score will receive a commemorative Chef Bowl trophy.
Saturday Place is an academic enrichment program for third and fourth-grade Chicago Public School students performing at least one year below grade level and living in under-resourced communities. The program meets weekly on Saturdays, offering students an additional day of academic instruction and support. For the past four years, Saturday Place students demonstrated growth in math (99th percentile) and reading (60th percentile) during their two years in the program.
“Saturday Place is truly an inspiring organization,” said Priolo. “I’m proud to bring some of the city’s most acclaimed chefs together to support its programs and positively impact our city’s youth.”
To learn about lane sponsorships and general admission tickets, go to: https://bcmmag.com/2017/03/23/chefs-foodies-to-help-at-risk-grade-schoolers/.
Product Integration for Crunchy Logistics, Steltronic
Crunchy Logistics has released new features for its interactive bowling solution known as Unreal Bowling.
The update brings complete integration for the Steltronic Focus scoring system. Bowling centers that use the Focus system will now be able to display players’ names on the lane as their turn arrives. Audio and video feedback then keeps them engaged and excited as graphics such as “Strike” and “Spare” punctuate their performance.
Steltronic is the first automatic scoring company to be interfaced with Unreal Bowling. Crunchy Logistics says it plans to release upgrades on a regular basis that will bring new features, deeper integration and minimal maintenance.
“The Crunchy software teams work incredibly hard on the Unreal Bowling system with new updates including animations, backgrounds and this integration,” said Neil Dufva, CEO of Crunchy Logistics. “We feel that this only enhances the interactive bowling experience and will really [help a] bowling center come to life.”
Ball Brands Get Publicity Through Mobile Game
Concrete Software is renewing its PBA Bowling Challenge “pick the ball” survey, inviting fans to select the new product-registered ball model they would like to see introduced into the mobile device game.
Beginning today, the PBA Bowling Challenge mobile game will list three new ball models for each PBA-participating brand, and ask fans to vote on which ball to include in the game. Weekly voting will feature a different brand and choice of ball models through the first week in June.
First up will be MOTIV. Based on fan voting (click here: http://bit.ly/MOTIV_17 to cast your vote), the “winning” MOTIV ball will be available for play on April 7. A code to purchase the ball for 50% off (the code will be available on PBA’s and the specific companies’ social media pages) will be posted.
Each company also will have a flashback weekend where all its previous balls will be available for that weekend only.
As the season progresses, voting will take place each week to select the new ball for release. For the full schedule, go to: https://bcmmag.com/2017/03/23/pba-bowling-challenge-pick-the-ball-survey-returns/.
Portland’s Pro 300 Lanes to Shut Down
The Bowlmor AMF bowling center formerly known as Pro 300 in southeast Portland, Ore., is scheduled to close down at the end of May, Portland Business Journal reports.
The center had been remodeled only a few years ago, when its lanes were replaced with those that had been used at another center. Bowlmor AMF had been leasing the building, which was purchased last August by MAJ Development Corporation. Leagues at the center will have time to complete their season prior to the closing.
According to MAJ, it has secured “a long-term lease with a national retailer,” but did not disclose the name of that retailer. The 31,200-sq.-ft. building is not scheduled for demolition; rather, MAJ will update and upgrade it.
Portland has lost other centers in recent years, including Interstate Lanes and Hollywood Bowl, but the metro area also has added bowling-based entertainment centers, including Big Al’s and Punch Bowl Social.
Read more about Pro 300’s closing here: http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2017/03/21/southeast-portland-bowling-alley-to-shutter-be.html.
- We all know that bowlers are a rare breed. When it appeared that the roof of Bowl Arena in West Hazleton, Pa., was about to buckle under the weight of snow last Friday night, several bowlers climbed on top of the building to help push snow off the roof. League play was canceled that night, and out of an abundance of caution, there was no bowling at the 16-lane center over the weekend. But on Monday, a structural engineer said the building was safe, and league play was able to resume on Tuesday.
- It has taken the better part of a year, but bowling is now scheduled to return to the Illinois community of Carthage in about six weeks. The eight-lane facility, which also will include an arcade, is entering the final phase of construction inside what used to be a Dollar General store. The project is being quarterbacked by Amy Graham, the Community Development Coordinator for Carthage, who has been working with the building’s owner. There is also the possibility that the business could be structured as a cooperative, with the Illinois Cooperative Development Center providing free technical assistance, training and publications. Carthage is located about 175 miles northwest of St. Louis. Read more here: http://www.whig.com/20170320/carthage-bowling-center-project-reaching-final-stage#.
- After Community National Bank foreclosed on Parsons Bowl in Parsons, Kan., it tried to find a buyer for the 12-lane center — with no luck. So, a long-time employee of the center, Helen Brooks, has been asked to operate it while a buyer continues to be sought. For legal purposes, the name has been changed to PK Bowl. And while the facility faces an uncertain future, at least the community has a bowling center for the time being. Read more here: http://www.parsonssun.com/news/article_c2abb312-05fb-11e7-b0e7-0ff045b3996c.html.
Other News You Can Use…
- Mabel Cummins of Elburn, Ill., and Briley Haugh of Faribault, Minn., have been selected to receive the Youth Ambassador of the Year Award by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee. The award is presented annually to one male and one female USBC Youth member for their exemplary contributions to the sport of bowling, academic accomplishments and community involvement. Each winner receives a $1,500 scholarship and could be selected to serve on the IBC Youth Committee. Read about the accomplishments of the two honorees here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/illinois-minnesota-bowlers-earn-youth-ambassador-of-the-year-honors/.
- PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber and PBA Women’s Series titlist Diandra Asbaty can be seen in cameo roles in the 2016 movie, “Split,” which is now available at no cost to Amazon Prime members. The movie, billed as “The World’s First Romantic Bowling Comedy,” is also available for rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, Xbox and PlayStation. Click here to watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zekgYUGOjXc. And for those old enough to remember “Dreamer,” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreamer_(1979_film), please be aware: The “billing” mentioned came from the producers of “Split,” not your friends at the BJI Cyber Report.
- It didn’t take long for the new average requirement and verification rules at the USBC Open Championships to result in a significant disqualification. Details are available here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/disqualifications-at-oc-due-to-violation-of-average-requirement-and-verification-rules/. If you are a center owner, make sure any of your bowlers who are entered in the tournament know the new rules before they travel to Las Vegas.
- The guest this week on Phantom Radio is Johnny Campos, a former PBA Tour National Tournament Director and veteran bowling journalist. Topics include the bomb scare right before a PBA telecast, the time a woman almost bowled in a PBA tournament before women technically were allowed to, and more. To listen to the interview, click here: http://www.kegel.net/phantomblog/2017/3/22/johnny-campos-phantom-radio.
- CONTACT: Please send business news, event information, etc. to Bob Johnson at email@example.com. For breaking business news, visit bcmmag.com or bowlersjournal.com.