Cyber Report #1103

E-dition No. 1,103 • Friday, April 3, 2020

Editor: Bob Johnson (

A Message to Our Industry Friends…

How are you holding up during this unprecedented time in American — and world — history? The BJI Cyber Report is a communication tool for the industry we all love, but it’s not a one-way device. We’d love to hear about what you’re up to.

If you are a manufacturer, distributor or other service provider to the industry, are you still providing services to bowling centers? If you’re a bowling center operator, how are you using this time? We’ve heard that some centers are engaged in improvement projects. Are you making plans for how you will handle things when you’re given the green light to re-open?

We’ve already heard from a number of our industry partners and have shared their stories with you — here in the Cyber Report, as well as in BJI and BCM magazines and their social-media platforms. But we’d also love to hear from you… even if it’s just to say hello and stay connected.

Simply drop a note to With your permission, we’ll share some of the information in future editions of the Cyber Report and the magazines.

Meanwhile, please stay safe and be well.

Yes, we have plenty of coronavirus-related news to share with you this week, including more event cancellations. You’ll find that information as you scroll through this Report. But if you’re like us, you could use a little break from all the doom and gloom. So, let’s begin with a feel-good, inspiring story, courtesy of USBC Communications’ Terry Bigham…


Junior Gold Champ to Receive Star of Tomorrow Award

Caroline Thesier of Mooresville, N.C., who won the U17 title at last summer’s Junior Gold Championships, has been selected as the 2020 Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee.

The award recognizes the star qualities of a female high school senior or college student, including accomplishments on the lanes, academic achievement and community service. Thesier will receive a $6,000 scholarship.

Winning this award means more to me than words can describe,” Thesier said. “To be among the many talented women who have also received this honor is truly inspiring. Alberta Crowe devoted her life to bowling, and to be recognized as someone following in her footsteps is a dream come true.”

A senior at South Iredell High School, Thesier has a 4.0 grade point average (4.6 weighted). She has taken numerous International Baccalaureate classes, from the Middle Years to the Diploma Programme, in biology, math, chemistry, psychology and Spanish. She is a member of the National Honor Society for English, Spanish, math and science, as well as Beta Club.

Thesier has been a volunteer with the Top of the Lake Rotary Club for seven years, and through the Interact Club has worked various events including the Relay for Life and the Carolina Balloon Fest. She also has volunteered at an elementary school for seven years, assisting teachers with items such as pre-year setup; has worked with her honor societies and Red Cross Club on events such as food drives and book drives, and works with young bowlers at her local summer bowling camp.

Thesier runs her own non-profit business, Cords for a Cause, making bracelets, keychains and similar items. Ninety cents of each dollar from sales goes to the Ballard vs. The Big C charity, with 10 cents going to purchase new supplies.

In addition to winning the U17 title at the 2019 Junior Gold Championships, Thesier owns more than 30 scratch youth titles. She was selected for Junior Team USA in 2019 after finishing 11th (sixth among youth bowlers) at the U.S. Amateur, and participated in the 2019 U.S. Open in her hometown, earning a spot in the 144-player field through the pre-tournament qualifier.

Thesier is headed to Vanderbilt University in the fall, where she plans to double-major in neuroscience and psychology, and bowl for the Commodores.

(Editor’s Note: For a list of Albertra E. Crowe and Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow Award recipients through 2016 — including shout-outs for those who went on to have Hall of Fame careers on the lanes, dust off your May 2016 issue of BJI and check out the Almanac department.)

“Phantom” Selected for IBMA’s Luby Award

Len Nicholson — better known these days as “The Phantom” of “Phantom Radio” fame — has been selected to receive the 2020 Luby Award, emblematic of induction into the International Bowling Media Association Hall of Fame.

Nicholson first gained national prominence in bowling for his expertise in lane maintenance, and over time developed a thorough grasp of the physical intricacies of the sport. With the help of his larger-than-life personality, he has utilized that knowledge to forge a later-in-life career in the bowling media.

Nicholson began producing the internet-based “Phantom Radio” program on a weekly basis in 2002 at the urging of the late John Davis, founder of Kegel.

John told me, ‘People need to know what you know,’” Nicholson said.

And they’ve been learning what he knows, one interview at a time, each week since.

Nicholson’s interview subjects include experts from all areas of the bowling business, along with many of the biggest names in PBA history. All told, he has hosted approximately 1,120 “Phantom Radio” webcasts, most of which are archived at:

Nicholson also has become a prolific writer, authoring “Stone 8: The Stories Behind the PBA’s 60 Most Memorable Moments” (2019), “My Personal Memories and Stories of the PBA Hall of Famers” (2018), and “The Tour Would Be Great, If You Didn’t Have to Bowl” (2009).

Reflecting on his career, Nicholson said he spent 25 years with the PBA and now has been with Kegel for an equal amount of time.

After 50 years in the business, I’ve become an overnight sensation,” he noted with his signature laugh.

Nicholson is scheduled to receive his award on July 4 during BPAA’s Industry Awards Luncheon at International Bowl Expo at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora, Colo.

Other IBMA major awards scheduled to be presented that day:

* Alberta E. Crowe Meritorious Service Award — John LaSpina.

An unrelenting force for charitable initiatives, the longtime Maple Family Centers proprietor’s work as Chairman of the Bowlers to Veterans Link has helped raise millions of dollars on behalf of military veterans in need — including a $1.1 million check to the Department of Veterans Affairs presented in November 2018.

LaSpina, whose mother lost vision in one eye after being struck by a baseball, also continues to be a tireless advocate for the Fight for Sight organization, for which he serves as a board member. His “Strike for Sight” bowling fundraiser each November raises thousands of dollars for vision research.

LaSpina embodies what bowling has been about for a long time: using the sport’s unique power as a charitable tool to help those who need it.

* Mike Hennessy Award of Merit — Keith Hamilton.

The IBMA had been deemed irrelevant by some industry partners before Hamilton, the President of Luby Publishing Inc., took the helm. His professionalism and industry contacts brought new respect for the organization.

Hamilton served as Vice President and President of the IBMA for a total of six years. During his tenure as President, he procured a sponsorship from the Billiard and Bowling Institute of America to fund the new Chuck Pezzano Scholarship for $5,000 per year for four years, with the goal of helping to build the next generation of bowling journalists.

Hamilton also created the IBMA Corporate Membership category and the Proprietor Support program, both of which helped fund the Pezzano Scholarship.

Membership in IBMA grew approximately 8 percent during Hamilton’s presidency through corporate memberships, while revenue increased more than 42 percent during that same time frame. Scholarship applications grew from six in 2016 to more than 60 in 2019. IBMA Writing Competition entries increased from 39 to more than 100 in that same period.

The IBMA also named Jason Belmonte and Shannon O’Keefe Bowlers of the Year for 2019, with Senior Bowler of the Year honors going to Norm Duke and Jeannie Naccarato.

WIBC/USBC Hall of Famer Lo Borschuk Passes Away

Elois “Lo” Borschuk, a WIBC/USBC Hall of Fame member, passed away on Monday, March 30. She was 97.

A lifelong resident of Sioux City, Iowa, Borschuk was a WIBC administrator for 24 years. She was inducted into the hall in the Meritorious Service category in 1988.

During her time with WIBC, Borschuk served on 15 committees, including the Advisory and Planning, Finance and Budget, Site Inspection and Equipment Specifications committees. She was elected a Member Emeriti in 1991.

Borschuk served as the Iowa Women’s Bowling Association Secretary-Treasurer for 15 years and was inducted into the Iowa State USBC Hall of Fame in 1979. In 2005, she was the first woman inducted in the Greater Siouxland Bowling Association Hall of Fame.

Heavily involved in youth bowling, Borschuk started a youth program and helped establish the Sioux City Junior Bowling Association, which she served as Secretary-Treasurer for 18 years. She was President of the Iowa State Junior Bowling Association for four years and was part of starting the first league for physically and mentally handicapped young bowlers in Sioux City.

Borschuk served as a hospital volunteer for 15 years and was on the St. Luke’s Medical Center Auxiliary Board. She coached Little League baseball teams for several years, and, as the only woman manager/coach in 1958, led her Little League team to the city championship.

COVID-19 Update from Around the Bowling World

* Add the Xtravaganza to the list of bowling events that have been cancelled for 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual fundraiser for the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame had been scheduled to take place May 28-30 at the Red Rock Bowling Center, part of the Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, Nev. At present, all casinos in Nevada have been shut down, with no re-opening date presently under consideration. On Tuesday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued a travel advisory for the state, urging visitors or returning Nevadans to self-quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days after arriving or returning to Nevada to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada.

* Also cancelled, as of Wednesday, were the three state tournaments of the Montana USBC Association, all of which were scheduled to begin on the weekend of April 17-19. Montana’s Open tournament was to have taken place in Missoula, its Women’s Championships in Billings, and its Youth Championships in Great Falls. The state’s qualifying event for the Junior Gold Championships has been postponed from May 1-3 to June 12-14 in Helena.

* In California, the Pepsi Youth District Finals and State Finals have been cancelled, as have the State Adult Championships and the Helen Duval Veterans Tournament. The California USBC Association Convention, scheduled for June 13, is still a go at the moment, as are other events after that date.

* International Bowling Campus Youth Development says it will announce decisions on the 2020 Junior Gold Championships Presented by Hammer, as well as its companion youth events scheduled to take place this July in Las Vegas, on June 1. Given the postponement of leagues and events over the past month, IBC Youth Development also announced it has extended the deadline for qualifying events for the Junior Gold Championships to June 15. Currently, Junior Gold is scheduled to take place July 10-18, the USA Bowling National Championships is scheduled for July 8-9 and 12, and the Youth Open Championships is set for July 8.

* Master Industries, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is now dedicating manufacturing capacity to producing face masks and gowns that will be made in the United States to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “Like most non-essential companies when this crisis began, we felt powerless in this situation,” said Donna McDermott, General Manager of Master Industries Worldwide. “We saw everything happening around us and wanted to pitch in any way we could. Being a company where 95% of our products are made in the U.S., we saw an opportunity to do our part to help.” Master Industries is now working closely with Coleman Knitting to manufacture these products from high-quality materials that are comfortable, protective and durable, and maintain their form through washing. “Supporting our healthcare professionals that are on the front lines every day is something that we are honored to do, and [we] are proud to have the Master brand evolve into something that is now making a positive impact in our communities during this challenging time,” McDermott added.

* With the extra time people have, social media usage is at an all-time high. Displaced bowling center guests are looking for diversions, and BPAA’s Bowling University team has developed digital assets for centers to use on their websites, social channels and even in email. The team also is developing memes and videos each day to help spread the message that bowling will be back, using the hashtag #BowlingStrong. Visit for further information, and request any needed assistance in posting these free assets by emailing In making these assets available to both member and non-member centers, BPAA noted, “COVID-19 is very serious and we in no way are making light of this virus. But we believe in the human spirit, the human condition and the need for a little laughter during this time.”

* “Media consumption” among avid bowlers and those in the bowling business also is at an extremely high level as bowlers look for ways to pass the time and proprietors work to navigate these unchartered waters — and not just via their small screens. We’ve already been receiving positive feedback about the just-out issues of BJI, BCM and BEC, and the May issues of BJI and BCM will be packed with a nice mix of COVID-19 and “regular bowling” features — certain to be devoured from cover to cover.

* Steltronic North America is adhering to the “stay at home” order issued on March 19 by California Governor Gavin Newsom. However, the company says its technical support team is still available, and parts can still be shipped as needed to centers that are using this time to undertake maintenance or modernization projects even as they are closed to the public.

* Bundy Bowl & Leisure Complex in Bundaberg, Central Queensland, Australia, is one center that’s using the time to make upgrades leading up to the time when it will “be back bigger and better.” The center’s team has spent the last few days “smashing brick walls to make way for one of the biggest arcades in the region,” according to a Facebook post. “We had great therapy in knocking down some walls,” noted proprietor Peter McElligott. “We have a skeleton team of staff here that are with us, and our job now is to make this place better than what it was before.”

* Because its next tournaments are not scheduled until August and October, respectively, the High Roller tournament organization is hoping that those events will be able to be conducted. However, per state-mandated guidelines for non-essential businesses. the High Roller office is closed until further notice, working is taking place at the homes of staff members, and the Post Office box is being checked just once per week. (The new mailing address is High Roller, P.O. Box 33009, Las Vegas, NV 89133.) Phone calls are still being answered during normal (PST) business hours and email is being checked daily. “We value your loyalty, support and friendship over the years and hope none of this is an inconvenience to you, said High Roller’s Brad Edelman. “If it is, we apologize, but we our doing our part as requested by the many health and government agencies around the world. Please be safe and stay in touch.”

* The Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin has issued refunds of payments made for all events that the trade organization has cancelled. These include the Pepsi USBC Tournament, HSBC All Star Team Challenge, Wisconsin Adult-Youth Scholarship Tournament, and the Wisconsin Vintage Alleys Tour. BCAW also has temporarily suspended all e-commerce retail sales and event registration on its website until the association office reopens. A decision regarding the association’s 7th annual Scholarship Golf Fundraiser, scheduled for Monday, June 8, in Waupaca, has not been made. Should the event have to be cancelled, this year’s five $1,000 scholarships will still be awarded thanks to the past success of the event, which generated a “rainy day fund.”

* In an effort to keep bowling on people’s minds and to help re-enforce the public effort to combat the COVID-19 disease, US Design Lab has developed a special bowling-oriented logo with simple one-word reminders about what all of us can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19. “We have set up a store where people can purchase t-shirts and other accessory items to help communicate the effort and to help keep bowling top of mind,” said Gary Smith, co-owner of US Design Lab. “With this campaign, which will run until we all get through this, we will contribute $2 for each t-shirt and $1 for each accessory item sold to the Bowlers to Veterans Link.”

* Highland Park Bowl in Los Angeles is selling @1933group dining bonds to help support its staff while the center is closed. The dining bonds cost $80, but will be worth $100 when the center re-opens. “All dining bond revenue is donated straight to our staff,” the center said in a Facebook post. Highland Park Bowl also is planning a buy-one-lane, get-one-lane-free promotion when it can again welcome guests.

* Like so many centers across the country, the HeadPinz locations in Florida have been forced to furlough staff members. But those staffers have not been forgotten. The company has been providing them and their families with pizzas — including 230 over one recent consecutive three-day period.

* Other major sports cancellations confirmed this week were the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo (which had been scheduled to begin on July 24) and the Championships, Wimbledon (that’s the official name), which had been set to begin on June 29 in London. This marks the first Wimbledon tournament to have been cancelled since World War II. Meanwhile, the Summer Olympics will be delayed by one year, with the new dates being July 23-Aug. 8, 2021. In both cases, organizers factored the unknown duration of the pandemic’s spread, the inability of athletes to train for their events, and the steep decline in available flights into their decisions.

* On the trade show front, the 2020 National Restaurant Show, which was to have been held May 16-19 in Chicago, has been cancelled.

* “There will be a new normal for LBEs (location-based entertainment centers) on the other side of the pandemic,” writes Randy White, CEO of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, in a recent blog, “and it will be very different than the normal we had just a month ago.” White predicts “an acceleration of the LBE gentrification trend that has been underway since the Great Recession and that has shifted a greater share of out-of-home entertainment, arts and restaurant spending to households with a bachelor’s or higher degreed heads of household.”

* If you’re the Executive Director of the USBC these days, well, let’s just say it has been an interesting few weeks. Chad Murphy has had to steer that ship in Arlington, Texas, as a global pandemic swept the United States just when a number of USBC’s marquee events were poised to kick off. The Open Championships. The Women’s Championships. The Masters. The Intercollegiate sectionals. The Intercollegiate Team and Singles Championships. The Super Senior Classic. The Senior Masters. The USBC Convention. Murphy spoke with BJI Editor Gianmarc Manzione about what it has been like to navigate this whirlwind of pressing decisions — not only from his vantage point as the USBC E.D., but many other aspects of how this unprecedented situation is impacting the bowling industry — in a new BJI Podcast. Listen to the conversation here:

Some Hopeful News from a Wall Street Veteran

Ron Getto is the proprietor of Starlite Lanes in Flagstaff, Ariz., and formerly penned the “Money Management” column for Bowling Center Management (BCM).

On March 28, he uploaded this post to Starlite’s Facebook page:

<<< Today is my eleventh day off in a row; more consecutive time off than I’ve taken since my honeymoon, twenty-nine years ago this month. I fondly recall watching March Madness with my wife Karen from our honeymoon “suite” in Hawaii at that time, as storm after storm rolled in over a two-week period.

What a great vacation it was! We hardly left our room, as we socially distanced ourselves from the world.

Unfortunately, the mandatory social distancing we’re subject to today is hardly a vacation at all, especially when you’re home worried about your family, their health and financial future. As an employer of twenty human beings, and a parent myself, I know about the day-to-day pressures of raising a family here in Flagstaff. This new layer of tremendous uncertainty is almost too much to bear.

In an effort to ease some of that anxiety here at Starlite Lanes, we are committed to employing every team member for as long as we can, and to continue to pay for their healthcare. When we reopen, we expect it will be with the same great staff that has been providing you with excellent customer service for years.

Some of you may know that I spent my pre-bowling career working on Wall Street. In that role I learned time and again that no matter how grim things look, you should never underestimate the resilience of The United States of America and its citizens. I am absolutely one-hundred percent positive that we will survive this and be better off for it, even if that is impossible to contemplate or envision today. Time will deliver better days ahead.

Thank-you for your support of our business and its employees. <<<

When Starlite Lanes re-opens, it will be offering a special Summer Bowl Pass program that will give families in Flagstaff unlimited bowling six days a week, including shoe rentals, all summer long, for just $1 per day.

Supporting us this way helps us to pay our employees as long as possible so they can care for their families,” Getto said.

Hirsch Named New Operations Manager of IBMA

Brian Hirsch of South Kenosha, Wis., has been named the new Operations Manager for the International Bowling Media Association by the IBMA’s board of directors. 

Hirsch succeeds Jackie Wyckoff, who resigned for personal reasons after serving in the position for six years.

Per IBMA bylaws, Hirsch has stepped down as second vice president of the IBMA and resigned from the committees that he either served or chaired in order to accept the position.

“Jackie did an outstanding job as Operations Manager,” IBMA President Johnny Campos said. “She streamlined several processes in the organization that we will continue to use in the future. She will be missed.”

Added Campos: “I have full confidence that Brian will be able to step into the role and continue the good work started by Jackie.”

Hirsch, a New York native, has an extensive background as a bowling writer. He has his own bowling publication called “Striking Spotlight,” which has a Facebook page of the same name. He also has been published in the Desert Bowler newspaper, Windy City Bowling News and Bowlers Journal International.

Hirsch serves as a youth director in the Kenosha USBC Association, and is a former director for the Metro Phoenix USBC.

As IBMA Operations Manager, he will work closely with the IBMA president and the organization’s committee chairmen to ensure that the IBMA’s policies and procedures are followed. Hirsch also will act as recording secretary for meetings, and as administrator for committee chairmen.

“I am looking forward to working closely with President Campos and the IBMA board,” Hirsch said. “I am sad to leave the committees that I have chaired and have been on, but look to help as I can.”

The IBMA Board of Directors approved the appointment of long-time member Sam Vasta to replace Hirsch as second VP for the remainder of his term.

Business Briefs…

* Jeffery Haber has acquired Classic Lanes, a 32-lane bowling center located in Buffalo, N.Y. Brian Borowski, a longtime proprietor of several bowling centers over the years and current BPAA Treasurer, was the seller. Borowski retains his other Buffalo-area center, Allie Brandt Lanes in Lockport. Marcel Fournier of The Hansell Group, a nationwide organization of commercial real estate brokers specializing in bowling and family entertainment centers, served as the broker in the transaction.

* If it seems as if we’ve been telling you about a proposed new bowling center in the Santa Barbara, Calif., “wine country” community of Buellton for about five years… it’s because we have. Now, the Santa Maria Times is reporting that the facility could be under construction by mid-summer, as long as the COVID-19 pandemic does not cause permitting delays. The project, being developed by Carol Lesher-Peterson, now has a name: The Waypoint Family Entertainment Center. Plans call for 18 lanes, a bar and grill, restaurant, video arcade, as well as offices and community meeting facilities.

* Students in the experiential learning entrepreneurship course at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada, have been working to refurbish and re-open a shuttered bowling center in Sackville. Fifteen students in the class put up $150 apiece to become shareholders in the project, and have had the opportunity to deal with real-world business experiences such as finding a way to get the pinsetting equipment up and running. Read more here:

* Plans call for a 44,000-sq.-ft. Malco Theatres complex to be part of phase one of the new Lake District development, just outside Memphis in Lakeland, Tenn. Plans call for the Malco complex to include eight theaters, bowling lanes and an arcade. Read more here: On a site formerly occupied by Lakeland International Raceway and more recently an outlet mall, The Lake District is envisioned as “an upscale, walkable, mixed-use development built around a 10-acre lake.” It will include high-end retail, chef-driven restaurants, office space, two hotels, luxury apartments and custom-built single-family homes.

* For Super Bowl in Grand Island, Neb., the coronavirus hastened the inevitable. Plans were in place to sell the property to a man who planned to transform the building into a car museum — after allowing the 2019-20 fall season leagues to complete their schedules, and after hosting the women’s state tournament. But once guidelines limiting social gatherings to no more than 10 people were put in place, proprietors Geo and George Overfield made the difficult decision to close immediately. Report:

* In Cyber Report No. 1,095 we reported on the sale of DiLaura Brothers, LLC, the metro Detroit-based bowling distributor, to Joseph and Susan Joswik. Moving forward, the company will be known as DiLaura Brothers Bowling Supply.

Other News You Can Use…

* By the way, Buellton is where much of the movie “Sideways” was filmed, and that film’s soundtrack includes a catchy tune called “Bowling Tango.”

* Five USBC Youth members have been selected to receive an Earl Anthony Memorial Scholarship in recognition of their academic achievements and contributions to their communities: Bridget Bazile, Tigerton, Wis.; Bailey Knierim, San Antonio, Texas; Alexander Kobus, Crown Point, Ind.; Amanda Naujokas, Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y.; and Lane Thompson, Irving, Texas. Each scholarship is valued at $5,000. More:

* USBC’s Annual Zeb Scholarship for 2020 has been awarded to Hannah Vaughn of Fredericktown, Ohio. The scholarship is named for Jim Zebehazy, who served as Executive Director of the Young American Bowling Alliance from 1996-2004 and later as a regional manager for USBC. Zebehazy is a member of the 2020 USBC Hall of Fame class. The scholarship is valued at $2,500. More:

* The family of the late Kenny Lytle, the owner of Anchorman Sales until a few years ago, conducted a small family funeral for Lytle on March 18. Circumstances allowing, a celebration of life has been scheduled for Friday, June 5 at Shoal Creek Golf Course in Kansas City, Mo. The family will announce updates as they become available.

* The guest this week on phantom radio is bowling writer Joan Schliewenz. To listen in, go to:

* CONTACT: Please send business news, event information, etc. to Bob Johnson at For breaking business news, visit or, “Like” Bowling Center Management and Bowlers Journal International on Facebook, and follow BJI on Twitter ( BJI Cyber Reports are now archived at Please remember that the Cyber Report is a B-to-B publication and not intended for consumers.

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