When I was a junior bowler back in the dark ages, when you kept your own score and league secretaries kept the league stats by hand, the highlight of the season was when they awarded the league trophies - those little statuettes that said you were one of the best.

Now, I collected a lot of trophies because, pardon the humbleness here, but I was pretty good as a junior bowler. The bigger the trophy, the better things were at the end of the league season at the Lowe house.

Then, several years ago, someone came up with the idea of a little scholarship money to go with the trophy. What a concept. What an idea.

Earlier in the month, a boy and girl bowled a two-game match in Grand Central Terminal on a specially-constructed lane with the winner-take-all prize $64,000 in scholarship for winning the Teen Masters. That’s how far we have come.

Until now.

The two largest youth scholarship tournaments in the nation have joined to develop an unprecedented opportunity for youth bowlers in the creation of the $250,000 North Pointe Junior Gold Championships presented by Brunswick.

The tournament is made possible by the merger of the USBC Junior Gold Championships and the Bowling Proprietors’ North Pointe High School Singles Championship into one event.

The new tournament will have two age divisions - 20 and under, 15 and under for both boys and girls. The tournament will continue to be open to youth bowlers who qualify throughout the season at regional junior events around country and will feature automatic bids to Junior Team USA as part of the competition. The event will be held in Indianapolis in July 2012, in conjunction with the USBC Youth Open.

USBC Open update

It is 165 days until the USBC Open 2012 begins at the River Center in Baton Rouge on 48 specially-constructed lanes. The tournament is scheduled to run from Feb. 11 to July 10, 2012.

It appears the country’s bowlers are coming to Baton Rouge with over 9,000 five-member teams already entered. Of the 150 dates, 61 have all 96 five-member team slots filled and another 52 dates have one of the two 48-team shifts filled. That leaves 37 dates when spots are open on either the 2:30 or 8:30 p.m. shifts.

To methat is a good indication that there is a chance to equal or surpass the 13,000 teams that came here in 2005. We shall see.

It may take a good entry from the state of Louisiana to help get to that 13,000, but that’s just something to keep in the back of our mind as the December entry date approaches.

One other note: the Greater Baton Rouge USBC has announced that because of the USBC Open starting in February 2012, the 2012 city championships will be conducted Jan. 14-15 and 21-22 at All-Star Lanes. So mark that on your calendar for down the road.

Dunaway honor roll

Gary DeWitt III had the best score of the week with a 789 that included a 280 game, while DeNeesha Foster led the ladies with an even 700 with a 253 game. Gregory Snee had a 694 to lead the Youth bowlers, while the seniors were led by Carroll Sides with a 619.

Brett Vann had his first 300 game, while senior bowlers Linda Poor, C. J. Broussard and Leland Songe all bowled 50 pins over their average. Henry Boudreaux III posted his first all spare game of 178. Dorothy Williams bowled a triplicate of 133 and Gwen Jenkins a triplicate 128. Marques Chews designed a very special triplicate of 245 for a 735 series, as Hollywood Roe just missed a perfect game with a 299 game and a 689 series.

We’ll be back with you on Sept. 13. Until then, good luck and good bowling