USBC's first five years: Biggest Milestones


    USBC News

    USBCLogow.jpgIn any major organization such as the United States Bowling Congress, there are many, many events that help define and shape it. Here are 15 of the most notable along with some of the top individual and team adult achievements. The top youth feats will be covered in a separate story later this week.

    THE MERGER - Joining the American Bowling Congress, Women's International Bowling Congress, Young American Bowling Alliance, USA Bowling and Bowling Inc. not only was one of the largest non-profit mergers in U.S. history, it proved to be one of the smoothest. USBC officially began on Jan. 1, 2005 but didn't really become completely functional until Aug. 1 of that year. By the end of Year 5, it truly had become one voice for all bowlers in the U.S.

    GROWING THE SPORT OF BOWLING - Soon after USBC began, the organization started focusing on validating bowling's true status in the eye of the general public. There was a new vision - Grow the Sport of Bowling. There were new priorities - to increase USBC youth membership, the number of USBC members participating in bowling as a sport and the number of people who recognize/perceive bowling as a sport. One of the biggest ways USBC began doing that is through special televised events like the Clash of Champions.

    PROVIDING MORE VALUE FOR MEMBERSHIP - Since late 2008, USBC members have saved money on products and services through the USBC Member Rewards Program. Members save money on popular goods and services thanks to the new USBC Reward Center presented by PerkSpot. The program can quickly help members save significantly more money than they pay in dues.

    CHANGING ROLES FOR LOCAL/STATE ASSOCIATIONS - To match changes in society, USBC asked its local and state associations to redirect their efforts from a process mentality to a service mentality. To help achieve this, the national organization eliminated many required tasks so that local and state associations would have more time to promote both bowling as a sport and USBC membership. Test programs to help states improve their communications, high school bowling and coaching activities were conducted. Toward the end of the first five years, USBC restructured its operations to renew its focus on members, association volunteers and grassroots supporters,

    INCREASING WAYS TO COMMUNICATE - USBC found ways to beef up its communications to members, associations, proprietors and center managers while dramatically cutting the cost to do so. Electronic newsletters Association Operation e-News (association presidents/managers and proprietors/center managers), E-Connection (association boards of directors and proprietors/center managers) and US E-Bowler (members) provide information directly to home and/or office computers. The quarterly US Bowler (adult members) and US Youth Bowler (youth members) printed magazines provide the only communications that go to every member. There also have been various in-person town hall meetings and state jamborees and on-line Webinars to keep people informed. These methods have been on top of the No. 1 source for daily bowling news - USBC's award-winning Web site.

    ENHANCED BOWL.COM - After initially being a place for people to sign up for events or programs before USBC started, expanded into a virtual daily online newspaper by 2006. That allowed the site to become the No. 1 news source for USBC and bowling.

    RENEWED COMMITMENT TOWARD YOUTH - USBC asked its local and state associations to work cooperatively with individuals and groups such as the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America to find and keep young bowlers, motivate them to seek coaching, encourage them to join leagues and continually seek challenges to make them better bowlers. USBC also worked to provide advanced safety measures for youth bowlers with its Registered Volunteer Program. And in 2009, USBC introduced new ways to add value to youth memberships.

    NATIONAL MEDIA EXPOSURE - To help put USBC and the sport of bowling in the national spotlight, USBC organized media events in Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles. USBC Team USA member Diandra Asbaty and PBA stars Chris Barnes and Danny Wiseman were featured subjects of numerous nationwide media stories while in the East. In Los Angeles, Asbaty, Barnes, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Kim Terrell took part in a Bowling with the Stars charity event with Hollywood's popular young television and movie stars.

    CREATING STARS FOR BOWLING'S FUTURE - For any athletic activity to be truly accepted as a sport, it must have stars. USBC worked toward developing such people through designation of USBC spokespeople and USBC Ambassadors. Initial spokespeople included Diandra Asbaty (youth), Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (high school), Chris Barnes (Sport Bowling) and Kim Terrell (college). Later, basketball star Chris Paul was added to help broaden the visibility and participation in the sport of bowling and Australia's Jason Belmonte came on board to promote his unique two-handed delivery.

    STARS SHINE AT CLINICS - To help bowlers improve their games while having fun, USBC developed the Bowl Like the Pros program. The program brings star players to serve as instructors and the pros also conduct an entertainment trick-shot exhibition. It was a way for bowling centers to retain and generate new league bowlers.

    BRINGING WOMEN BACK TO TELEVISION - Through its sponsorships of the USBC Women's Challenge, the U.S. Women's Open and the PBA Women's Series, USBC has made a significant effort to help the world's top women regain a national spotlight lost when the Professional Women's Bowling Association folded in 2003.

    NATIONAL BOWLING WEEK RETURNS - After a 20-year absence, USBC joined the industry in the renewal of National Bowling Week. Held the final week of August or first week of September, National Bowling Week has been an opportunity for local associations and bowling centers to work together to help spotlight bowling.

    AMBASSADOR PROGRAM - To help add excitement for a bowling event or banquet, USBC created the Ambassador program. This speaker's bureau provides star bowlers to headline functions such as hall of fame banquets, awards dinners, youth programs and bowling center grand openings.

    LEADERSHIP CHANGES - After nearly three years as the organization's first chief executive officer, Roger Dalkin retired from the position in August 2007 replaced by Kevin Dornberger, who was named chief operating officer. In July 2009, Dornberger was replaced by former auto racing executive Stu Upson, who was given the title of executive director. Another former auto racing executive - Steven Johnson - replaced the retiring John Berglund as BPAA's executive director in 2009.

    THE INTERNATIONAL BOWLING CAMPUS - In November 2007, the USBC and Bowling Proprietors' Association of America agreed to discuss the possibility of operating from one location. In January 2008, the USBC Board of Directors gave approval to start negotiations to move the organization's headquarters from Greendale, Wis., to Arlington, Texas. That decision became reality two months later with the approval to join with the BPAA to create the International Bowling Campus. The campus will officially open on Jan. 25, 2010 and includes the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame which moved from St. Louis and the new 20-lane International Training and Research Center which will feature the Olympic rings. Another highlight of the campus will be a 29-foot-high bowling pin sculpture to welcome visitors. Creation of the campus put USBC, BPAA and other organizations under one roof to best work together to help grow the sport as 2010 approached.

    MILESTONES (all bowled under standing lane conditions)
    • Gerald Gray of Celina, Ohio, became the oldest bowler with an 800 series with 804 at age 83 years, 7 months on Nov. 10, 2005.
    • Rochester (N.Y.) All-Stars rolled the highest three-game women's team series March 19, 2006 in Rochester, N.Y. Judy Koester, Traci Spanitz, Colleen Celentani, Shannon O'Keefe and Andrea Pizzo combined for 3,610 in the 68th Rochester Women's Bowling Championships at Bowl-A-Roll Lanes.
    • Former USBC Team USA member Fero Williams of Dayton, Ohio, set USBC records for most 300 games and 800 series in one season with 22 perfect games and 27 800 series during the 2006-07 campaign. Williams rolled his scores in six leagues and five tournaments at seven different centers in five states.
    • Bill Hargrove becomes the world's oldest certified league participant at age 106 in May 2007. He died just short of his 107th birthday.
    • Members of Pro Bowl West set a record for highest team series with 3,937 on March 30, 2009 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Chris Cross, Gary Workman, Chris Massengale, Anthony Reviere and Frank Massengale had 1,341, 1,250 and 1,346 games in the Eastgate Men's League at Holiday Bowl.
    • Ollie Harbin became the oldest woman bowler with a 300 game at age 81 on July 9, 2009.
    • Seven bowlers have rolled approved 900 series - Robert Mushtare, Fort Drum, N.Y., Dec. 5, 2005 and Feb. 19, 2006; Lonnie Billiter Jr., Fairfield, Ohio, Feb. 13, 2006; Mark Wukoman, Greenfield, Wis., April 22, 2006; P.J. Geisfeldt, Milwaukee, Dec. 22, 2006; Rich Jerome Jr., Baltimore, Dec. 22, 2008; Chris Aker, Winnemucca, Nev., Oct. 30, 2009; and Andrew Teall, Medford, N.J., Nov. 2, 2009