So much has happened in the bowling world since we were last with you in Reno and some of the news is still from there, but the starting point involves the two newest members of the Greater Baton Rouge Hall of Fame.
This year two selections were made in the superior performance category and that really says about all you need to know about Brian Yoches and Gordon Shepherd. Superior performance means 300 games, top sets, and tournament top finishes on the local and state level. But both have also been involved with league and bowling administration in this city and are as knowledgeable about the sport as any in this city.
They officially received their rewards for being inducted recently at the annual local association meeting. You get into things like this most times because of your accomplishments with scoring and things like that. I think the fact that these are not only two very good bowlers, but two very good people helped push their nomination through in quick fashion. Congratulations to both.
A “Friend” Is Out at USBC
Well, there were a couple of good stories I wanted to let you know about form Reno, but the news hasn’t been too positive as far as Baton Rouge bowling officials are concerned with the news, confirmed by my friend Jeff Richgels at 11thframe.com that USBC Managing Director of Tournaments Brian Lewis has been removed from that position.
Lewis became a friend to Baton Rouge political and bowling officials as the tournament director of the USBC Open here in 2005 whose winning disposition and ability to articulate his thoughts made him a popular figure in the tournament’s first trip here. He also struck a strong friendship with people like Mayor Kip Holden, Jerry Stovall and Paul Arrigo of Visit Baton Rouge and quickly had the tournament back here in 2012, one of the quickest non-Vegas/Reno turnarounds in history.
It’s hard for me to forget the last night of the 2012 event when Holden, who made several appearances at both events, was laneside for the conclusion of the event and the two spoke to tournament workers afterwards not as officials about each other but as true friends. It was Lewis who helped broker a deal that will bring the USBC Women’s tourney here in 2017 and a return of the Open in 2025.
I enjoyed visiting with him in person and on the phone over the years and knew that if he could give me an answer (such as when he was the only one who could comment on the NCAA Championships coming here in 2017), I would get a factual one to give to you the readers.
The U.S. Open Is Out, Or In?
One moment the Bowling Proprietors are saying that after taking 2014 off to look at a better way to present it, there was no way the U.S. Open could be held in 2015. That sent waves of surprise rippling from all sides including pro bowlers, star amateurs and people that enjoy our sport. How can you not conduct a U.S. Open in the sport?
The two groups have joined forces to secure the future of one of bowling’s most important brands — Bowling’s U.S. Open. In an agreement announced Friday, USBC and BPAA have agreed to a three-year deal that will see USBC operate and conduct the U.S. Open for men and women in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
As part of the agreement, USBC and BPAA each will contribute at least $100,000 annually toward operating the events; further details will be announced at a later date. The agreement does not include a broadcast television partner for the events. If a sponsor for television is not secured, live streaming coverage of the events will be provided.
Even more important, is a decision announced Monday involving the USBC and the PBA that will make sure the USBC Masters is a primary part of the PBA schedule and get maximum television coverage. The two groups have announced a multi-year agreement to include the USBC Masters in a showcase timeslot on national television as part of the PBA Tour schedule in 2015 and 2016.
Under the agreement, the 2015 USBC Masters is scheduled to be conducted at Ashwaubenon Bowl in Green Bay, Wis., starting Feb. 2 with the finals broadcast on Feb. 8. The 2015 event had previously been planned for late summer. The agreement calls for the 2016 USBC Masters to return to Brunswick Zone Carolier in North Brunswick, N.J., where the event was a sellout in 2013 and 2014.
Honor roll notes
Not a lot of room but the quick highlights: First congrats to Delery Matherne with an 802 on games of 247-257-298. Tristan Senegal had the ladies’ high score of 677 (251) while Cullen Vincellette had 677 (263) to lead the youth leagues. Senior league leaders were Mike Bass (745, 739) and Cheryl Albarez (643).
Helen Heyse had a 204 for her first 200, while Scott Egler was over the mark with 224. Christian Headrick had 717 to top 700 a first time, while senior bowlers Don McKinney (188 triplicate) and Diane Smith (183 all-spare) had highlight nights.
Summer leagues are starting soon and we’ll be back on May 27. Until then, good luck and good bowling.