Cyber Report #1110

E-dition No. 1,110 • Friday, May 22, 2020

Editor: Bob Johnson (

BPAA and PBA Hall of Famer ‘Mr. Nakano’ Passes Away

An icon of Japan’s bowling industry, Keijiro Nakano, died on May 15 after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 93.

Known throughout the industry simply as “Mr. Nakano,” and a ubiquitous presence at International Bowl Expo for decades, his Starlanes chain of bowling centers was among the most successful in Japan, and his Eastern Sports Ltd. was a leading distributor. Eastern Sports represented U.S. Polychemical and ZOT Pinsetter Parts, among other companies.

His foray into bowling — a sport and business he would come to love — began with the opening of a center in 1963. He quickly grew the business during Japan’s bowling boom, increasing his center count to 15, housing approximately 600 lanes.

An economic downturn necessitated the closing of six of those centers, as well as some land he owned and planned to use for future development. With a leaner and meaner operation, he survived the downturn and emerged as one of the Japanese bowling industry’s leaders.

“I met Mr. Nakano many times, both in Japan and in the USA at Bowl Expo,” recalled marketing guru Paul Lane. “In Japan, I recall seeing many of Mr. Nakano’s paintings on display at the Starlanes head office in Tokyo. He was an accomplished artist.”

Added Lane: “During one visit circa 1983, he mentioned his interest in bringing the PBA Tour to Japan and asked if I could arrange a meeting with the PBA at Bowl Expo the following year. I made the introduction, and the outcome was the start of what became the annual Japan Cup.”

Eastern Sports Ltd. initially was the sole investor in that tournament. Over the years, it grew to have the largest budget of any single PBA event, including a substantial first-place prize in addition to unprecedented hospitality shown to PBA players, family, friends and support staff.

In addition to his work on the Japan Cup, Nakano was one of the world’s leading activists in lobbying for bowling’s inclusion as an Olympic Games medal sport, traveling in pursuit of his goal on his own dime.

“Among Olympic Committee officials, Nakano was endearingly known as ‘the bowling guy,’” said Frank DeSocio, Executive Director of the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America.

Nakano was a past President of the Japan BPA, and received two major U.S. honors in back-to-back years: induction into the PBA Hall of Fame in 1999 for meritorious service, and BPAA’s Victor Lerner Memorial Award in 2000. In 1993, he received BPAA’s V.A. Wapensky Award.

A ceaseless promoter, Nakano spearheaded an annual event with California proprietor Don Hillman that saw American collegiate bowlers brought to Japan for exhibition matches and other appearances.

“Over the 12-year period that we put together those teams, he gave 96 kids an incredible experience,” Hillman, a BPAA Hall of Famer and past President, said. “It often was difficult for bowling to get the recognition that it deserved, but those collegiate tours opened doors to the mayor’s office, to the governor’s office and to the newspapers.”

Look for more of Hillman’s remembrances of Nakano in the July issue of BCM.

Due to government restrictions related to the coronavirus, Christian funeral services will be private and limited to family members. Plans call for a memorial service to be held later when coronavirus protocols are relaxed.


500-Year Flooding Event’ Threatens Michigan Center

As if it were not tough enough to have been closed for months due to COVID-19, Bo Goergen, proprietor of Northern Lanes in Sanford, Mich., and Executive Director of the Bowling Centers Association of Michigan, now has another calamity to face: an historic flood threatening his center.

One dam north of the area has collapsed and a nearer one was breached after as many as eight inches of rain fell in 36 hours amid what is being described as a “500-year flooding event.”

“Right now we’re just praying that nobody releases the murder hornets because I don’t know if we could handle three states of emergency,” jokes Goergen, who has operated Northern Lanes since 1987.

Goergen knows as well as anyone in town that the apocalyptic scenes surrounding him, particularly in devastated downtown Midland, Mich., are no joke.

“They have the National Guard with boats and helicopters and all sorts of equipment. It looks like a war zone around here,” he says.

The scenes those National Guard officials can see by helicopter include cars partially submerged in water, pieces of destroyed homes and businesses floating through streets, water high enough to reach the tops of stop signs, roads washed away, and residents fleeing their homes with their belongings stuffed into trash bags with pets cradled under their arms. WILX reported that the Curtis Road Bridge in Midland had collapsed.

“I drove by Midland Country Club; it all flooded so much you can’t even see the flag sticks,” Goergen says. “The water is probably three feet above the flag sticks.”

While he says he “got the computers, oil machines and essentials up and out of harm’s way,” Goergen had no time to try to shore up Northern Lanes with sandbags or other precautionary measures.

“The problem was how quickly the water rushed down,” he says. “Everybody had to get the hell out. I just feel for all the customers who lost everything. My customers lost their businesses, their homes. Everything. You have all these lakes that have formed from these dams associated with all these rivers coming through mid-Michigan, and I can tell you that from Sunday to Monday night we had five inches of rain here in Midland, and north of us where all those lakes and rivers are, they got eight inches. That rain had nowhere to go, and this is what’s happening.”

Goergen said he fled to a more elevated area, where he is safe as he waits out the disaster.

“Though the actual address of the center is in Sanford; we’re about 500 feet from the Midland city limits. The main town is gone. It’s eight or nine feet of water.”

When Goergen drove by his center this morning, it was dry, but indications were that he could not count himself in the clear.

“I don’t expect it to stay dry; they’re expecting another four to five feet with the dam collapsing completely. Right now, it is just breached and holding on. Boats and pontoons and debris are up against it right now as the water is rushing, so they don’t think it’s going to hold.”

If it does not hold, Goergen says, “I believe we will have a couple feet of water come into our center. That would cover the lane beds up to the machines.”

The dam closest to Northern Lanes is the Sanford Dam, which was breached amid the excessive rainfall Goergen describes. The Tittabawassee River rose rapidly in response to the collapse of the Edenville Dam, which is north of Midland and was followed by the Sanford breach. The Smallwood Dam also failed.

President Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he is “Closely monitoring the flooding in central Michigan -—Stay SAFE and listen to local officials,” while Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County and had warned in a Tuesday-night briefing that, “In the next 12-15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately nine feet of water.”

While Goergen says he does not have flood insurance for Northern Lanes, he explains that, “Who in their right mind expects to have eight inches of water come down in a 36-hour period in mid-Michigan? This is a one-off.”

Asked how this latest catastrophe, unfolding against the backdrop of a 100-year pandemic, might further complicate his already challenging reopening prospects at Northern Lanes, Goergen answered, “’Unknown’ is the best answer I have for you.”

A Clean Sweep for Luby Publishing in IBMA Writing Awards

Luby Publishing Inc. writers scored an unprecedented clean sweep in the 2019 national writing competition conducted by the International Bowling Media Association, claiming all 12 awards.

Gianmarc Manzione, Editor of Bowlers Journal International and Senior Editor of Bowling Center Management, won top honors in the Feature division.

Long-time BJI contributor and “Pro Bowling Insider” columnist Lyle Zikes took first place in the Editorial division.

And Bob Johnson, Editor of BCM and Senior Editor of BJI, claimed two first-place awards, winning in the News and Business divisions.

Manzione’s winning feature, titled “This Dad’s Life,” was the cover story for the March issue of BJI. It focused on Matt Ogle’s triumph, with Sean Rash, in the PBA Mark Roth-Marshall Holman Doubles Championship. But it was much more than that. It was a story of dreams deferred and work and sacrifice and heartache and, ultimately, a dream realized.

In the September issue of BJI, Zikes devoted his “Pro Bowling Insider” column to the evolution of lane conditioning, and noted that bowling enjoyed its greatest popularity in the years before “blocked lanes evolved into the fully endorsed new normal.”

Johnson’s winning News division story, titled “Our Little Bowling Family,” appeared in the December issue of BJI. It focused on a bowling center in Holmes, Pa., MacDade Bowl, which has gained a sterling reputation for providing a welcoming and safe atmosphere for special-needs individuals, especially those on the autism spectrum.

“Following the Trends Has Paid Big Dividends” is the title of Johnson’s winning story in the Business division, which was the cover story for the June issue of BCM. It profiled BPAA’s 2019 Proprietor of the Year, Mike Logan, detailing how he has used profits from his FEC attractions to help fund improvements to his bowling operation.

The awards were the 77th and 78th in Johnson’s career.

Other multiple winners were LPI President Keith Hamilton, who picked up a second-place award and two honorable mentions, and long-time contributor Dennis Bergendorf, who secured a second-place award and one honorable mention.

All four of LPI’s magazines that serve the bowling industry — BJI, BCM, Bowling Entertainment Center and Pro Shop Operator — received award recognition in the 2019 competition.

Here’s the complete rundown:


* Winner — “If Only SCAM and SLAM were Spam,” Lyle Zikes, Bowlers Journal International (September)

* Runner-up — “Are Pro Bowlers Too Accessible?” Jef Goodger, Bowlers Journal International (November)

* Honorable Mention — “Giving Back to America’s Vets,” Keith Hamilton, Bowlers Journal International (December)


* Winner — “This Dad’s Life,” Gianmarc Manzione, Bowlers Journal International (March)

* Runner-up — “Landmarks and Lanes: A Bowling Tourist’s Road Trip,” Kevin Hong, Bowlers Journal International (June)

* Honorable Mention — “String Pinsetters: An idea Whose Time Has Come,” Barry Sparks, Bowling Entertainment Center (June 2019)


* Winner — “Our Little Bowling Family,” Bob Johnson, Bowlers Journal International (December)

* Runner-up — “Upping the Entertainment Ante,” Keith Hamilton, Bowlers Journal International (May)

* Honorable Mention — “Duke and Bowlero in Spotlight,” Keith Hamilton, Bowlers Journal International (April)


* Winner — “Following the Trends Has Paid Big Dividends,” Bob Johnson, Bowling Center Management (June)

* Runner-up — “Dynamic Projection,” Dennis Bergendorf, Bowling Entertainment Center (June)

* Honorable Mention — “The Art of Unlearning,” Dennis Bergendorf, Pro Shop Operator (Fall)

IBMA President Johnny Campos said that dozens of IBMA members submitted more than 80 articles published in bowling-related newspapers, newsletters and websites during the 2019 calendar year. Submissions were reviewed by a panel of professional journalists who were tasked with determining the honorees.

BPAA Online Course, QubicaAMF Webinar Assist in Reopening

BPAA’s Bowling University team recently launched their newest online course: “COVID-19 Social Distancing and Personal Hygiene.”

The 15-minute course will walk bowling center staff members through some basics about COVID-19. It also addresses:

* How to protect yourself against COVOD-19.

* Proper hand washing.

* Personal hygiene tips and things to know.

* Social distancing.

For more Information about this course and the On Demand Online Training courses, go to:, or email

Working with the BPAA, QubicaAMF is inviting Taylor Media to join the QubicaAMF webinar scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, at 3 p.m. Eastern. The webinar will help proprietors review their media preparedness for reopening.

Taylor is an agency with a long history in sports and leisure, and a partnership in the bowling industry that dates back nearly 25 years. As “Shapers of Influencers,” they hope to provide the same insight given to the world’s leading brands with an integrated approach across all marketing disciplines.

During this webinar, they will share do’s and don’ts for the media, and help ensure that proprietors are preparing themselves in the right way to respond both proactively and reactively to maintain a positive brand image in the face of reopening their businesses.

To register for an upcoming webinar or access past webinar recordings, visit the QubicaAMF Resource Center at:

More COVID-19 Updates from Our Bowling Family

* The city where candlepin bowling was invented, Worcester, Mass., is losing its last candlepin center. The owner of Colonial Bowling Center told the Telegram & Gazette that Colonial would not be reopening after being forced to shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Everything comes to an end,” proprietor Nick Andreson said. Andreson opened the business in 1960, but now, at age 91, says he longer has the energy he once had, and that the state-ordered closure solidified his decision. “This threw me over the edge,” he added. “I never in my wildest dreams thought we’d close down the economy.” Read more here:

* Bowling’s most storied annual tournament, the Petersen Classic, will not be moving to Bowlero Mount Prospect (Ill.) this year, as was originally planned. Because of the pandemic, Bowlero was not able to secure permits or third-party workers to build out the 18-lane Petersen arena in Mount Prospect. So, instead, the tournament once again will be held at the Bowlero location in River Grove, Ill. The tournament’s opening date has been changed from June 5 to June 27. More information is available on the Facebook page of “The Pete.”

* One of the primary frustrations associated with reopening is the arbitrary nature of the types of businesses being included in specific “phases.” For instance, in Nebraska, centers could reopen as long as they permitted no more than 10 people in the building — not exactly a business plan for success. Two center operators in Lincoln, John Losito and Jason Korn, are suggesting that their businesses be included in the same category and with the same restrictions as restaurants, which are being allowed to open with 50 percent capacity. Losito told the Lincoln Journal Star that making only odd- or even-numbered lanes available “lends itself very well to social distancing.”

* During phase two of the reopening process in Texas, restaurants are being allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. But the same isn’t true for bowling centers. 2019 BPAA Proprietor of the Year Mike Logan, who operates Grand Station Entertainment in College Station, told the Cyber Report that he is being allowed to reopen Friday at only 25 percent occupancy and with an order to keep his game room closed for the time being. “It’s like trying to operate with both hands tied behind our backs,” he said. “But we’ll take what we can get.”

* In Texas, bowling is included in the same category as bingo halls, skating rinks and rodeos for reopening purposes. Which is a heck up a lot better than bowling’s category partners in Nevada. In case you missed our previous reporting, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has placed bowling centers in the same category as strip clubs and brothels.

* Friday also is the day that bowling centers can reopen in Kansas, along with movie theaters and museums. Remaining closed are bars, nightclubs and swimming pools. In Kansas, local governments may invoke stricter reopening guidelines, but not looser ones.

* The timetable for reopening accelerated considerably for bowling-center operators in Pinellas County, Fla., this week after a key executive order from Governor Ron DeSantis. A little extra help from the Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gaultieri and County Administrator Barry Burton set things in motion in a big way. Governor DeSantis’s Executive Order 20-123, released last Friday, established that all counties throughout the state officially could move into “Full Phase 1” reopening. The order explicitly allows for facilities such as gyms, libraries, retail stores and restaurants to open to the public at 50 percent occupancy. While the order did not specifically identify bowling centers and movie theaters among the types of businesses allowed to reopen, Gaultieri and Burton interpreted that to mean they were not explicitly prohibited from reopening, either. “Nothing within the order restricted movie theaters, didn’t restrict bowling alleys, either,” Burton said during a Facebook Live announcement alongside Gaultieri. “Under phase one, movie theaters, bowling alleys, those types of venues are allowed to operate using the 50-percent capacity and social distancing requirements.” For a full report, including comments from local proprietors who reopened this week, go to:

* Main Event Entertainment had reopened five locations in Georgia and Oklahoma as of Cinco de Mayo, with others coming back on line as states eased restrictions. The 44-center chain must deal with 17 different sets of state regulations, but CEO Chris Morris told Forbes all customers in all locations shared three desires: to have fun with their families and loved ones, to get out of the house, and to be safe. Addressing the latter issue, the company is now providing “bowling valets” to help customers select bowling balls and sanitize each ball that gets touched, and utilizing color-coded zones in its laser tag arenas. Read the full Forbes story here:

* QubicaAMF’s “Beyond the Frame” Facebook group will have an opportunity to view interviews with two center operators next week: Anthony Perrone, CEO of Pin Chasers in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 26, at 3 p.m. Eastern; and Darin Van Tassell, owner of The Clubhouse in Statesboro, Ga., on Thursday, May 28 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Both operators produced videos for their reopening — both effective, but with two different approaches. They will share their experience with reopening, the story behind the videos they produced, the impact the videos had on their customers and their reopen, and advice they would give to operators who are getting ready to reopen soon. To join the “Beyond the Frame” Facebook group, go to:

* The reopening of Bowladrome in Twin Falls, Idaho, was accompanied by an online “welcome back” from Bill Colley of Fox News Radio. Colley described bowling alleys as “cornerstones of American culture. Right there with baseball and county fairs.” Read his feel-good piece here:

* June 1 will be a big reopening day in Kentucky, with bowling centers, auto dirt tracks, fitness centers and movie theaters among the businesses on the list — all with certain restrictions.

* For the first time in 20 years, AAA (the Auto Club) will not be presenting its annual Memorial Day forecast. Americans are ready to travel but so many remain cooped up, which means that close-to-home activities could provide the tonic needed. In states where bowling is being allowed to reopen, that could mean a much-needed boon — to the extent that social distancing and other protocols allow. It certainly will be interesting to see how things shake out over the long weekend ahead.

* LAI Games has launched an industry survey that will run through the end of May. The short survey is intended to gather information that will provide entertainment center operators with a realistic look at what they and their peers are facing in the current landscape. It also will provide industry suppliers and manufacturers with information they can use to better support locations through this crisis. The report will be published the first week of June. You can take the five-minute survey at:

PBA Returns June 6 With Made-for-TV Events

The PBA will be back live on FOX on Saturday, June 6 from 7-9 p.m. Eastern with the first-ever PBA Strike Derby.

The telecast will be the first in a series of made-for-TV special events produced by the PBA.

Go Bowling! PBA Tour players Tommy Jones, Kyle Troup, Sean Rash, EJ Tackett, Kris Prather, Shawn Maldonado, Anthony Simonsen and Bill O’Neill will be the participants.

All of the competition will take place at Bowlero Jupiter in Florida, with no fans in attendance and protocols in place for the safety of the players, officials and production crew.

“We are so excited to be one of the first properties bringing live sports back to broadcast television,” said PBA CEO Colie Edison. “This dynamic series of events will showcase the immense talent of our elite bowlers to a wide audience, and we look forward to welcoming new fans to the Professional Bowlers Association.”

Golf got back in the TV game this past Sunday when NBC aired a charity match pitting Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. Viewership for the event, broadcast on NBC, NBCSN and Golf Channel, among other outlets, captured an average of 2.35 million viewers across all platforms — a figure that the PGA said is similar to what the PGA Tour averaged during the second quarter of 2019.

NASCAR also returned to action over the weekend, and the telecast from Darlington Raceway in South Carolina on FOX drew 6.323 million viewers.

First up for the PBA on June 6 is the inaugural PBA Strike Derby, which will see the eight players take part in a timed competition, with each getting two minutes to record as many strikes as they can. They’ll then be placed into an elimination bracket, with the “strike derby” continuing until the champion is determined.

The following Saturday (June 13), also on FOX, from 6 to 8 p.m. Eastern, the PBA Summer Clash will take to the lanes with its one-ball elimination format that has twice garnered the highest TV ratings in more than a decade. This year, the top two PWBA Tour players in 2019 points, Shannon O’Keefe and Danielle McEwan, will join the eight PBA players in the first round.

Next up in July, featuring more players to be named, will be a four-night, live PBA King of the Lanes series on FS1, with dates to be announced. The event will begin by deciding the “king”’ of the lanes, who then will defend the crown against a different challenger in a one-game match. The winner will be the king and return the next night to face new challengers, with that process continuing each night.

Regularly scheduled PBA Tour events on FOX Sports that were postponed due to COVID-19 — including the PBA World Series of Bowling’s animal pattern championships, the USBC Masters, the PBA Playoffs and the PBA League team competition — are being rescheduled for the fall and winter.

Other News You Can Use…

* The United States Bowling Congress has made updates to enable USBC members to easily see their current status for U.S. Center for SafeSport training and Registered Volunteer Program (RVP) requirements. USBC members now can monitor their athlete safety status through their profile on Once signed in through the USBC Community Login, members can click on the Athlete Safety/RVP link to see their SafeSport training and Registered Volunteer status. Learn more here:

* Sean Rash and his family are grappling with the unique circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic presents them, as Sean’s wife Sara is due to give birth to their third daughter on July 5, and there definitely are some jitters associated with bringing a child into a world gripped by a pandemic. Rash also is among the players on the PBA Tour who regularly travel the globe to compete and conduct exhibitions, but there is no telling when international travel will be safe again. He speaks about those aspects of the pandemic’s impact on him and much more on this episode of The Bowlers Journal Podcast. Listen to the conversation here:

* Here’s the latest podcast schedule from the International Bowling Campus. All times shown are Eastern, and all shows are available on demand on all listed platforms.

– Inside The OC: Matt Weggen, May 19 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.
– The PWBA Podcast: Sandra Gongora, May 20 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, PWBA Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.
– Inside The OC: Wendy Macpherson, May 21 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.
– The Sport of Bowling Show: Mike Aulby and Dave Husted, May 22 at 1 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.

– Inside The OC: Brenda Padilla, May 26 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.

– The PWBA Podcast: Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, May 27 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, PWBA Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.

– Inside The OC: Bo Goergen, May 28 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.

* Larry Lichstein makes an encore appearance on Phantom Radio this week as the program’s trivia contest continues. To listen in, go to: It was 50 years ago this year that Litchy’s team (average age: 23) won the Classic Division Team title in the ABC Tournament. Don’t remember who his teammates were? You’ll find the answer in the June issue of BJI in the “Yesteryear” department.

* 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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