Cyber Report #1047-1048

E-dition Nos. 1,047-1,048 • Friday, March 15, 2019

Editor: Bob Johnson (bjibob@aol.com)

Couch, Hoskins Prepare for Returns With Ebonite, Track

Ebonite has signed Jason Couch to a national contract in preparation for his return to competitive bowling on the PBA50 Tour. Couch has bowled under the Ebonite banner since his first day on the PBA Tour.

The signing comes in conjunction with Couch transitioning from a District Sales Manager position with Ebonite International to working at Ace Mitchell, one of Ebonite’s largest distribution partners.

 “I still have a lot of good bowling left in me,” Couch said. “I look forward to continuing to represent the Ebonite brand both on and off the lanes.”

 “[Jason] Couch has been nothing but outstanding for us as a DSM,” said Mike Judy, North American Sales Manager for Ebonite International. “His personality and spirit define what it is to be part of the EBI family, and we look forward to seeing him represent the Ebonite brand on the lanes once again.

He is Ebonite,” Judy added.

Matt Gasn, currently the Assistant Product Manager, will assume the duties of the Southeast Territory District Sales Manager beginning April 1.

[Matt] Gasn joined Team EBI a little over three years ago,” Judy said. “In that time, we have watched him learn and grow as both an employee and person. His passion and dedication to the bowling industry are second-to-none and we feel his youthful enthusiasm will be a great addition to our DSM team in the field.

He has earned this opportunity through hard work and a willingness to dive deeper into the ins-and-outs of the bowling industry, and we look forward to watching him continue to grow and flourish in his new position.”

Gasn, who currently resides in Clarksville, Tenn., will be relocating to Florida to better serve his territory.

One of EBI’s bowling ball brands, Track, has announced the return of Steve Hoskins to its pro staff.

Hoskins, who was instrumental in helping build the Track brand as a touring pro, enjoyed a 12-year PBA career, during which he amassed 10 Tour titles, including the Bayer/Brunswick Touring Players Championships in 1997 and 1999. He was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame in 2017.

Hoskins took a little more than six years off from the sport, and said his decision to return came about quickly.

Some guys asked me to bowl league again, so I jumped at the chance and have had an absolute ball,” he said. “It rekindled my love and passion for the sport.”

Rob Gotchall, Manager of Players and Performance for Ebonite International, said the return of Hoskins further solidifies the commitment that the brands of Ebonite have made to competitive bowling at the highest levels.

Anytime you add a hall of famer to your roster of athletes, it sends the signal your brands are healthy, strong and a place where people want to be,” Gotchall said. “We are excited to have [Steve] Hoskins wear the Track colors once again…”

Hoskins said Ebonite International’s reputation is impeccable and was a key factor in his signing with Track once again.

It was obvious from the get-go I was desired by Ebonite International to represent the Track brand,” he said. “The respect I got treated with was awfully nice.”

Hoskins will be competing on the PBA50 Tour, and said he hopes the time he took off will help him have an immediate impact.

If I can execute properly, I hope I can create something other people [on the PBA50 Tour] can’t,” he said. “I’m trying to remember what I did best, and I don’t think I’m throwing the ball much different from how I did in the past.”

Hoskins resides in Trinity, Fla., and hopes to compete in select PBA Tour stops in addition to the PBA50 Tour.

Main Event Becomes Special Olympics Sponsor

Main Event Entertainment has signed on as an official sponsor of Special Olympics, the world’s largest organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics is Main Event’s first national partner.

Main Event’s local-level support of Special Olympics helped lead to the national partnership. Several Main Event locations already actively host Special Olympics events, meetings, athlete practice sessions and competitions. Main Event will continue to grow its support of Special Olympics in every state in which it operates, including the support of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools and student athletes.

Main Event couldn’t be more excited to team up with Special Olympics as our official national partner,” said Chris Morris, President and CEO of Main Event Entertainment. “Main Event conducted a long search to find the right philanthropic partner to align with, and Special Olympics is the perfect fit. This is a partnership that can grow as we grow.”

There are multiple parallels between Special Olympics and Main Event. To both organizations, “Engagement” is a way of life through community, family, schools, living active lifestyles, friendly competition and more.

To raise funds to support Special Olympics, Main Event guests can donate any amount — $1 or more — to Special Olympics anytime they are in one of the entertainment centers, and 100 percent of the funds donated will go directly to Special Olympics to be used for various events and activities. In addition, Main Event is hosting a national fundraiser from Feb. 20 through April 16 at all 42 Main Event locations, where Special Olympics insignias that guests can post in the center will be sold.

Storm Makes $110,518 Donation to Breast Cancer Fight

Every October, the Storm Nation community of Storm Products customers comes together to help Paint the Lanes PINK (PTLP), building awareness and raising funds for breast cancer research.

Bowlers from around the world share stories from personal journeys of their determination to find a cure for a cancer that impacts one in eight U.S. women over the course of their lifetime.

With the help of the bowling community and a generous donation from the Chrisman Foundation, Storm was able to present a donation of $110,518.28 to the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI).

An additional donation of $25,000 from the Striking Against Breast Cancer Foundation was presented by Donna Conners, who hosts the Storm PBA/PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Tournament each summer. Conners traveled to Utah for the presentation.

Storm’s Paint the Lanes PINK campaign is one of the most rewarding projects to work on,” Leanne Hulsenberg, Marketing Coordinator for Storm Products, said. “It’s an honor to be able to join our co-owner, Barbara Chrisman, and tournament partner, Donna Conners, to take our annual donation directly to the Huntsman Research Center. Each year, we learn about the innovative cancer trials and breakthroughs that our donation supports. The Huntsman Cancer Institute has a vital role in cancer research, and hopefully one day we will see a cure for cancer.”

In 2018, the Storm campaign featured the exclusive Pink Phaze ball. Only 300 of this special release were produced for fans to purchase. In addition, the company raises funds through its dedicated PTLP products in the Storm Shop year-round.

It’s very special to know that all the fans contribute to our donation through the purchase of our PTLP products all year,” Hulsenberg said. “Our donation truly wouldn’t be possible without the support of the bowling community around the world.”

Luby Honoree Harry Page Passes Away

Harry Page, a veteran bowling writer from San Antonio, Texas, has died. He was 71.

Ironically, Page had been selected as the 2019 International Bowling Media Association Luby Hall of Fame honoree. IBMA President Keith Hamilton had been trying to call him with the good news, but apparently he was just hours too late.

As I drove to work, I was becoming more and more excited as I approached the office,” Hamilton said. “That’s because I had been given the privilege of informing Harry that he would be inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame. I tried several times throughout the day by phone, but received only busy signals and no answers.

I thought it was odd and actually thought to myself, ‘Boy, I hope everything is okay.’ But I never reached Harry; I will always regret that I was unable to connect with him to provide him with the news of his selection. The IBMA and bowling have lost another outstanding journalist who devoted much of his life to the sport that we all love. May you rest in peace, Harry.”

As a sportswriter for the San Antonio Express-News from 1970-2007, Page covered the local bowling scene and the pro tours, and everything in-between. During that span, he played an active role within the IBMA (formerly the Bowling Writers Association of America), helping diversify the group as its first African-American member. He served several terms on its Board of Directors and was named Murrey International’s Bowling Writer of the Year in 1989.

The IBMA will posthumously honor Page during the Industry Awards Luncheon at BPAA’s International Bowl Expo on June 24 at the Paris Resort in Las Vegas.

Canadian Writer Jim Margueratt Dies

IBMA members also are mourning the death of Jim Margueratt, a writer from Canada whose specialty was bowling history.

Often referred to as “Mr. Bowling” in Hamilton, Ontario, Margueratt was the long-time publicity director for the Hamilton and District Ten Pin Association, and was a member of that association’s Hall of Fame.

The Hamilton Spectator’s “On the Lanes” feature was one of his many writing assignments, and as was noted in his obituary, “he knew almost everything there was to know about the history of tenpin bowling in Hamilton.”

Margueratt was 75.

Turbo Unveils New Collegiate Expo Xperience

Turbo Bowling Accessories has announced its first TurboTech Collegiate Expo Xperience, an abbreviated version of the annual Turbo Tech Collegiate Expo.

This all-new event will be held at Bowlero Lanes in North Brunswick, N.J., Aug. 2-3, in conjunction with the Mid Atlantic Youth Scholarship Tournament.

Turbo created this two-day college recruiting event in response from families and students looking for a shorter and more affordable version of the company’s annual Expo, which is held in conjunction with the USBC Junior Gold Championships. The student fee for this regional event is $179, compared to $389 for the national Expo, and it runs for two days compared to four.

Over the years we have heard from many families and coaches looking for a regional extension of our program, something more convenient for travel and easier on the budget,” said Turbo President Lori Mraz. “We’re excited to partner with a tremendous organization like Bowlero to provide this to students and college coaches. While this will be an abbreviated version of our national Expo, the content and talent of expertise provided is no less meaningful and significant for the future of our sport.”

Mike Sledz, Director of League Development for Bowlero, said, “We at Bowlero Corp. are extremely pleased to be hosting the Turbo Tech Collegiate Expo Xperience at Bowlero North Brunswick. Turbo has a long history of supporting youth bowling and we couldn’t be happier to have an opportunity to partner with them. The combination of the Collegiate Expo and our Bowlero Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships that weekend will offer some unprecedented opportunities for youth bowling on the East Coast.”

Just like Turbo’s national Expo, the Xperience gives student bowlers the opportunity to learn from some of bowling’s best instructors, attend insightful seminars, get technical advice from equipment experts, and meet college coaches and recruiters looking for players to join their college programs, many with scholarship offers.

Turbo instructors for the Xperience will include Hall of Famers Johnny Petraglia, Del Ballard Jr. and Carolyn Dorin-Ballard; PBA champions EJ Tackett and BJ Moore; Collegiate All-American AJ Johnson, and former Team USA standout Chris Via.

College coaches attending also will save time and money with a reduced coach registration fee. Colleges throughout the East Coast region and beyond are expected to be represented.

Sponsors for the TurboTech Collegiate Xperience include Ace Mitchell Bowlers Mart, Brunswick, Columbia 300, Dexter, DV8, Ebonite, Hammer, KR Strikeforce, Logo Infusion, Motiv, Roto Grip, Storm, Track and Turbo.

For complete information and registration forms, go to turbogrips.com.

Business Briefs…

* The owners of an entertainment and dining complex called LakePoint Station, near Emerson, Ga., have announced they are adding 12 lanes of bowling. The facility presently features a 4,000-sq.-ft. laser tag arena and a 28-ft. climbing wall. “As a longtime resident of this area, I have repeatedly heard the neighborhood requests for bowling,” General Manager Seth Curlee told the West Georgia Neighbor. “It was an easy decision for LakePoint Station to add bowling to our existing family fun options for the community.” Completion of the bowling installation is expected in August. LakePoint Station is adjacent to a 1,300-acre regional sports complex.

* In support of World Bowling and its efforts to expand the worldwide adoption of competitive bowling, Brunswick has added the WBA’s new scoring format to the company’s Sync scoring and management system. The “current frame” scoring format was developed to make the sport more attractive and easier to understand for casual bowling fans, the news media and competitors. Supporters hope that the more straightforward format will help efforts to have bowling included in the Olympics. Sync will be the official scoring system of the WBA Junior Bowling Championships, to be held March 17-24 at the Plaza Saint Maximin bowling center near Paris, France. “Brunswick has always been a frontline supporter of the effort to expand competitive bowling and to get bowling into the Olympics,” said Corey Dykstra, Brunswick CEO. “Our passion for bowling will always drive our decision making, and we appreciate the same from World Bowling and other partners and manufacturers in the industry.” Brunswick’s Sync scoring and management system is installed in more than 650 centers worldwide.

* The Bowlers to Veterans Link has announced that technology entrepreneur Timothy J. Minard of Atlanta, has been elected to the BVL Board of Directors. Minard is the CEO of Eclipse Gaming Systems, a global provider of gaming systems and technologies, and also is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Sports Challenge Network (SCN). “Tim is an innovative business leader who brings a distinctive vision to the BVL Board,” said BVL Board Chair John LaSpina. “He has a tremendous passion for the work that BVL does, and we feel very fortunate to have him join our lineup of dedicated board members. We look forward to doing great things together for those veterans we serve.”

* A celebration of life will be held on March 30 for Dan Mueller, the former operator of Buena Lanes in Ventura, Calif., who passed away recently. Mueller ran a successful center and was active in the state proprietors’ association. The celebration will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Buena Lanes. For further information, call the center at 805-677-7770.

* If you’d like some insight into how PBA CEO and Commissioner Tom Clark earned his position as the PBA’s visionary leader, listen to his 35-minute conversation with WTMJ Radio’s Mike Spaulding: http://www.wtmj.com/wtmj-conversations.

Other News You Can Use…

* New Orleans hosted BPAA’s 2019 Bowling Summit, and now the city’s Times-Picayune newspaper has published an online gallery of 40 bowling-related pictures from its archives. The gallery includes shots of old centers, vintage newspaper ads, a PBA tournament promo shot (with Wayne Zahn, Carmen Salvino, Dick Ritger and Bill Johnson), shots of numerous other pro bowlers, a picture of Don Carter signing a bowling pin, an action shot of Glenn Allison before he was known as “Mr. 900,” and much more. Check it out at https://expo.nola.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/03/a952605d064739/new-orleans-bowling-craze-a-visual-history.html.

* Bowlero and NBC Sports announced that their Bowlero Elite Series will comprise three separate TV shows in 2019, including telecasts in April, September and December and comprising a combined overall prize fund exceeding $1 million.

The first installment in the invitation-only series, which is open only to those who bowl leagues at centers owned by Bowlero Corp. and to “card-carrying full members of the PBA or the PWBA,” currently is scheduled to air April 9 at 9 p.m. Eastern on NBC Sports Network after being taped at Bowlero Romeoville in suburban Chicago on April 2. Details: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/bowlero-elite-series-to-comprise-three-shows-with-nbc-sports-1-million-prize-fund/.

* To one segment of the population, Jed Allan was known as a soap-opera actor, known for roles on “Love of Life,” “Secret Storm” and a 14-year run on “Days of Our Lives.” To another segment (perhaps with some crossover), he was known as the host of “Celebrity Bowling.” Allan died on March 9. He was 84.

* When the Team USA men head to Peru for the 2019 Pan American Bowling Confederation Men’s Championships next month, their mission will be two-fold.

The first order of business will be to earn as many medals as possible in six disciplines — Singles, Doubles, Trios, Team, All-Events and Masters competition.

Their trip to Lima, Peru’s capital, also will give them a chance to collect intel on the newly opened Bowling Center at Villa Deportiva Nacional VIDENA, which will play host to the bowling portion of the Pan American Games in late July. Team USA’s roster for the PABCON Men’s Championships will include a mix of youth and experience. The event is scheduled for April 22-28. To find out who’s bowling, click here: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/team-usa-roster-set-for-pabcon-mens-championships-2/.

* The PBA’s World Series of Bowling X began Tuesday with Cheetah Championship qualifying. The Cheetah Championship is the first of four PBA Tour events that will take place over a span of 10 days, culminating with an unprecedented four consecutive live FS1 finals telecasts of the Cheetah, Chameleon, Scorpion Championships and the PBA World Championship on March 18, 19, 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. Eastern from Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich. The WSOB concludes with The USA vs. the World non-title team event that will feature the top five U.S. players against the top five international players, airing on Friday, March 22 at 8 p.m. Eastern on FS1. Visit bowlersjournal.com for WSOB reports.

* The teams advancing to the 2019 Intercollegiate Team Championships were determined at four sectional qualifiers last weekend. The ITC, the pinnacle event of the USBC Collegiate season, will welcome the top 16 men’s and top 16 women’s teams to Poelking Lanes South in Dayton, Ohio, from April 18-20 to determine which teams will claim the coveted Kerm Helmer Cup awarded to the winner in each division. Results: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/field-set-for-2019-intercollegiate-team-championships/.

* Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Neb., will be the host center for the 2020 U.S. Open, a major event on the PBA Tour. The 2020 event will kick off Feb. 16, with the stepladder finals televised live on FOX on Sunday, Feb. 23. Earlier this year, the PBA, BPAA and USBC announced a multi-year agreement to include the U.S. Open and USBC Masters on the Go Bowling! PBA Tour television package on FOX Sports. With the stepladder finals of the U.S. Open scheduled on FOX from 2020 through 2022, the event, which had been contested in late October the last few seasons, will move to a February timeslot. More: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/sun-valley-lanes-to-host-2020-u-s-open/.

* The guest this week on Phantom Radio is Dennis Gemmer, a former Kegel technician. To listen to the conversation, click here: https://kegel.squarespace.com/phantomblog/2019/3/13/dennis-gemmer-phantom-radio.

* CONTACT: Please send business news, event information, etc. to Bob Johnson at bjibob@aol.com. For breaking business news, visit bcmmag.com or bowlersjournal.com, and “Like” Bowling Center Management and Bowlers Journal International on Facebook. BJI Cyber Reports are now archived at bcmmag.com.

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