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Supporting youth bowling in the Milwaukee area

Bowling, PBA Tour, Restaurants, USBC, YouTube


Not too often that I use my blog to promote something other than myself, but sometimes the mood strikes me.

On Sunday, November 11th, the 2012 edition of the Hammer Junior Hall of Fame bowling tournament will be held at AMF Bowlero in Wauwatosa. This tournament is open to ALL junior bowlers that are members of the United States Bowling Congress Youth Association (Side note; How do you know if your son or daughter is in a sanctioned bowling league? 1 - If you grumbled about paying the $17 or so for a sanction fee when the league started, or 2 - contact your child’s league secretary.)

The entry fee is $35 per junior bowler, and a two-bowler team is required to enter the tournament. Each team of two junior bowlers will be paired up with a randomly-selected adult bowler that is in a bowling Hall of Fame or (and this part is cool) an “Adult Celebrity”. The junior bowlers score is handicapped, the adult bowlers bowl scratch (Side note; I am pretty confident that Khloe Kardashian will not be participating this year).

About the Hall of Famer or “Adult Celebrity”… I am bowling in the tournament, and I am not in any bowling Hall of Fame. Guess what that makes me? Tee-hee, a CELEBRITY!!! OK, enough gloating.

One bowler that really fits the bill of being both a Hall of Famer and a celebrity is Liz Johnson. She is easily in the Top 5 of current woman bowlers in the country, being a multiple-time champion of the now-defunct Professional Woman’s Bowling Association tour, and the first woman in history to appear on a men’s Professional Bowlers Association telecast (losing in the finals of the 2005 Banquet Open to Tommy Jones). Liz was born and brewed in Buffalo, but moved to the Chicago area a few years ago, and getting her to bowl this tournament is quite a coup. Hey, even I have a chance to bowl with her… that’s pretty cool!

First prize? Based on a full field of 108 teams, the first place team of two junior bowlers will win $1500 total ($750 each) in scholarships as well as Hammer bowling equipment. Again based on a full field, scholarship awards will be given to the top 48 teams, which means just a little less than half of all the junior bowlers entered will win something towards their college fund.

To enter, fill out this entry form and submit to Tournament Director Shannon Labinski (contact information is on the form).

Though this is a chance for active junior bowlers to earn scholarship money by bowling, an added benefit of this tournament is the chance to keep youth bowling thriving. I am not going to use this blog posting to theorize why adult bowling is in dire straits, but there is no doubt that it is. My Friday night league for the past 15 years – the Bob Kodel Bluemound Major League – unceremoniously folded in August, and my efforts to find a healthy scratch team league were not rewarded. I did find a 16-team league on Tuesday nights at Classic Lanes Greenfield, but it is not a scratch league and the competition level is all over the map.

By participation in the Hammer Junior Hall of Fame tournament – and as importantly – participation in the fund-raiser portion, the scholarship fund now and in the future will be healthy, the bowling center will make some money, lots and lots of people will have fun, and bowling will be looked-upon positively for a change. Whether you personally care for bowling or not, the fact is that the sport is an outlet for kids to shine (and to help keep them out of trouble) and we all need to help keep youth’s extra-curricular options healthy and running smoothly (Side note; And plainly and simply, if you do care for bowling, these kids represent a great chance to start adult leagues humming again in a few years.)

Some of the items being raffled off include equipment from Hammer, bowling certificates from AMF, bowling shoes from Linds, pizza from Barbiere’s, a gift basket of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Harley Davidson branded apparel, a Corey Hart autographed jersey, a gift certificate from Lush Suites and Salon, a certificate for Murf’s Frozen Custard, and gobs of other stuff.

Donations are still being accepted and encouraged, if you have anything you would like to donate for a raffle, feel free to contact myself, Shannon, or send an E-mail to Charitable Contributions Director Rochelle Roventini.

If you have children that are active in junior leagues, consider having them enter this tournament for a day of fun and a shot at some scholarship money. If you don’t have kids bowling, consider stopping down, entering a few raffles, and otherwise supporting this event. Who knows, you may even see me actually get three strikes in a row (a challenge for me so far this season).

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