There must have been a New Jersey theme at International Bowl Expo By Joan Taylor



    ColumnistJoanTaylor.jpgHappy Independence Day! I am back from the 2010 Bowl Expo and annual Bowling Writers Association of America (BWAA) Board and general membership meetings. For me, this trip is akin to country music fans going to Fanfare in Nashville annually. As the proverbial kid in the candy store, I hardly knew where to start.

    2010IBEJohnnyPetragliaTomMartino.jpgPress members were permitted by the Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA) to attend seminars and general sessions including award presentations. This year was exceptional as two of New Jersey's "favorite sons," Tom Martino (right, Majestic Lanes, Hopelawn) and Johnny Petraglia (left, multi-hall of famer, Jackson) received top honors.

    Martino was presented with the President's Medal for his contributions to BPAA (he has served on the board for the past four years, as national treasurer) and to the East Coast Bowling Centers Convention.

    Petraglia was given the Dick Weber Bowling Ambassador Award, and his credentials are too numerous to mention here. Among them are his having donated more than 600 bowling balls to New Jersey High Schools, hosting the PBA-Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA) doubles tournament and his participation in numerous fundraisers, outside of his own bowling.

    2010IBESteveJohnsonSarahPalinJimSturm.jpgThe other highlight was hearing Sarah Palin (center, with Steve Johnson, BPAA executive director, left, and Jim Sturm, outgoing BPAA president, right) as keynote speaker. The former Alaska governor had done her research, as she opened with remarks about the statistics in bowling as the number one participation sport, which even eclipses golf and soccer.

    Afterward, people were invited to get a photo with her in exchange for a $25 donation to Special Olympics. Even for a brief photo shoot, she was warm and personable with each of us.

    The big announcement after the keynote speech was made by Ebonite and the BPAA. It seems that next year's U.S. Women's Open sponsored by the brands of Ebonite International, will be held at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

    We all went crazy with this, as a ton of red, white, and blue confetti was released at the time of the announcement. Each attendee was given a commemorative medal for the Open on his or her way out.

    Then there was the Expo itself, with exhibitors including manufacturers, caterers, Budweiser and PepsiCo, the national bowling associations, Strike Ten Entertainment and the bowling ball companies who brought in some of their pro staffers.

    More Jersey pride: I was able to find Kelly Kulick in the Brunswick area and talk with her before I had to fly back home. There must have been a New Jersey theme this year, as on Thursday night, instead of bringing a recording artist or group in for the closing night party, an outing was provided to a production of "The Jersey Boys" downtown.

    See that? The kid in the candy store and this kid didn't even get to see and do everything. There is always next year, though, which will switch from Las Vegas to Arlington, headquarters for the bowling campus. The U.S. Women's Open will start on the heels of next year's Expo, giving the bowling writers and Expo participants as well as proprietors and other attendees the chance to see this tournament as part of "Expo week." Well done!


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