Women’s bowling championships bringing 20,000 bowlers to Baton Rouge in 2017 _lowres

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON Greg Ardoin of Baton Rouge, working with Brunswick, cleans up one of 48 lanes Thursday in preparation for the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships which begin February 11 and run through July 10 at the Baton Rouge River Center downtown. MAGS OUT / INTERNET OUT/ONLINE OUT/NO SALES/TV OUT/FOREIGN OUT/ LOUISIANA BUSINESS INC./GREATER BATON ROUGE BUSINESS REPORT/225/10/12/IN REGISTER/LBI CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS OUT/

They’re back!!

Well, not yet, but they are coming -- the United States Bowling Congress Women’s Championships, that is. The announcement was Thursday at a press conference at the River Center hosted by Visit Baton Rouge. The Women’s Championships, now the world’s largest participatory sporting event for women, were previously held in Baton Rouge in 1993.

The 79 days of bowling competition kick off April 23, 2017, and run through July 10. USBC officials will construct 48 custom lanes inside the River Center, which hosted Uthe SBC Open Championships in 2005 and 2012. The 98th edition of the Women’s Championship is expected to bring more than 20,000 bowlers from across the United States and several other countries to the Capital City.

“We’re going to make sure these folks have a wonderful time, and we know they will, because they have before,” said Visit Baton Rouge CEO Paul Arrigo.

“They came and saw the warmth and hospitality of our great city,” said Mayor Kip Holden. “Baton Rouge will never take a back seat to anybody. We don’t just push the envelope, we open it.”

More than $1 million will be spent in the Greater Baton Rouge area before the first ball is rolled down a lane. The lumber used to construct the lanes will be salvaged and donated to Greater Baton Rouge Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store for resale.

According to Kyle Edminston, assistant secretary of the Louisiana Office of Tourism, this event will have a positive economic impact on the state as well as the city. Figures from the 2012 event show that 95 percent of bowlers stayed overnight in Baton Rouge while 33 percent also stayed elsewhere in the state.