One would think in time the entertainment value of Bayside Bowl in Portland, Maine would wear off on the PBA Tour and bowling fans watching across America.
But thanks to the new PBA on Fox 24-man playoffs and the chance at a $100,000 first prize, America is getting to see Bayside Bowl in prime time.
Fox Sports has put the PBA Playoffs on eight consecutive Monday nights and the next two Mondays the competition is down to the round of eight. These will be the final two taped shows from April before it goes live from Portland on June 1 and 2 on over-the-air Fox Sports.
The atmosphere was everything Tom Clark, the PBA CEO, has been hoping for. Especially with taping over three nights, the atmosphere has been a little charged up with yelling, screaming, chanting and that doesn’t even include Rob Stone and Randy Pedersen.
“Bowl Portland is the greatest bowling league in America,” said Clark, and it’s the crazy members of that league who make up a good chunk of the crowd that comes to what was originally a 12-lane bowling place that now has some 20 lanes and a rooftop area where weddings and receptions take place and according to the Bayside Bowl web site, movies will be shown on Wednesday nights at sunset.
Why Portland, Maine? Well, Charlie Mitchell, the owner has been seen on TV a lot (him and his friends usually have the spot just to the left of the big bracket board on TV). In a Maine The Magazine article he said, “We do things pretty differently than any other bowling alley.”
Maybe, that’s what sets Bayside Bowl apart from other PBA sites. It’s a little campy, it’s a little over the top. It’s not your typical PBA TV show and that’s why Clark wanted the PBA Playoffs in Portland.
“We have to find a way to get people who are energized by the PBA to come and be themselves at these events,” Clark said in a preseason article on why Portland was hosting all these shows. “And that’s why we put it at Bayside because I don’t want to wonder if we can generate that kind of excitement at our first big playoff tournament.”
It is Bayside Bowl’s example that is leading the way to help make the PBA on Fox debut season one of the best. Now I don’t know how Portland will handle June 1 and 2 when the competition is in late morning, but I know in July when the PBA League goes there for three nights of primetime live shows, the atmosphere may be off the chart. We may get a preview in these next two shows which were taped at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on a Wednesday in Portland last month.
Somehow a summer vacation to Maine looks better and better.
State Pepsi Championships
The state Pepsi Championships for youth was held last month at Holiday Lanes in Bossier City and again this tournament had a big scholarship payoff for bowlers. Here are some of the winners in the various divisions:
In the U20 division, Dylan Ringo of Baton Rouge won the $300 top prize, edging New Orleans’ Cody Schaffer, the LHSAA boys singles winner. Schaffer won $150 for second and Philip of Neill of Baton Rouge was third ($100). Danielle Poussard, who bowled for state champ Academy of Our Lady, won the girls division and $225.
Sarah Rubi of Metairie was first in the U17 division ($225) over Shreveport’s Celeste Thedford. Rubi won the girls LHSAA singles in April. Joshua Green ($250) won the boys division.
Jayden Hauck of Ponchatoula won the girls U15 for $225 over Katelynn Bennett, while Joseph Lemoine won the $300 in the boys division over Dylan McDonald.
In the U12 division, Gracie Dawson of Baton Rouge won the $225 top prize for girls over Tessa Haythorn of Slidell. Tony Bella won the boys division for $225.
These were the divisions in which bowlers had to qualify and then advance to the finals in to be eligible for the scholarship moneys after advancing through league competition in their respective centers.
Honor roll notes
Congrats to Sarah Broussard and Duke Koontz on being announced as house bowlers of the year at All-Star Lanes at the Bowler’s Appreciation event on Sunday.
In league play, Troy Cedotal and Russell Owens both shot 791 to lead the men over the last two weeks, while Cassandra LaCour posted 733. Cade Fletcher’s 652 topped youth league, while Paul West (720) and Patsy Dew (670) were the best in the senior leagues. Cedotal, John Amedee and Curtis Laird all had the first 11 strikes in 297 games.
Remember summer leagues will soon start so if you want to bowl in a short season league, contact your favorite area bowling center. We’ll be back on May 28. Until then, good luck and good bowling.