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FireLake Arena undergoes transformation for Sunday’s live ESPN TOC finals


2016FireLakePBATournamentofChampionsLogo.jpgFireLake Arena in Shawnee, Okla., normally a showcase for country music artists, cage fighting and wrestling, is undergoing a transformation (pictured above) into a state-of-the-art bowling facility for its national television debut Sunday when the arena will become the stage for the stepladder finals of the 51st FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions.

The first-ever ESPN telecast from FireLake Arena will begin at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. local time) on the special two-lane installation on the arena floor. The setting will allow for a much larger crowd than can typically fit into a conventional bowling center. Tickets for the finals will be available at the door, or through the “tickets” link on pba.com.

Fans attending the TOC finals also are invited to attend a special Super Bowl party at FireLake Arena following the ESPN finals, including live coverage of Super Bowl 50 on the arena’s giant television screens.

FireLake Arena sits across the parking lot from FireLake Bowling Center, where preliminary qualifying and match play rounds of the TOC are taking place today through Friday, along with a “PBA Experience” pro-am event on Saturday.

All preliminary rounds are being streamed live to a global audience on PBA’s subscription-based Xtra Frame online bowling channel (starting at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST each day).

While a traditional bowling center can rarely accommodate more than 200-300 hundred fans, PBA’s video-streaming service allows Xtra Frame’s more than 8,000 subscribers around the world an opportunity to watch preliminary rounds of PBA competition.

USBC Masters next on Xtra Frame’s schedule

2015XtraFrameLogo2_small.jpgXtra Frame’s exclusive live coverage of the 2016 “PBA Year of the Fan” season continues Tuesday, Feb. 9 thru Saturday, Feb. 13, with qualifying (Tuesday-Thursday) and three-game double-elimination match play rounds (Friday-Saturday) of the United States Bowling Congress Masters from Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.

In addition to Xtra Frame coverage, fans can follow free live scoring on pba.com and on bowl.com, USBC’s official website.

Billy Hardwick family to sponsor new Teen Masters Scholarships

20131116BillyHardwickObit.jpgIn memory of the late PBA Hall of Famer Billy Hardwick (pictured), his widow Rebecca Hardwick has announced the Hardwick family will sponsor the Billy Hardwick Scholarships in conjunction with the annual Teen Masters Championships.

Hardwick, who retired from competition in 1977 and ran the 40-lane Billy Hardwick All-Star Lanes in Memphis in retirement, died in 2013.

“Billy was particularly proud of his center’s programs involving youth bowlers,” Rebecca Hardwick said, “so we are very excited about getting involved with the Teen Masters and we are looking forward to helping grow the event in his honor.”

Teen Masters founder Gary Beck said the scholarship program is a perfect fit for the message Hardwick and the Teen Masters program want to get across to youth bowlers.

“Billy Hardwick is the PBA poster child for perseverance, a life skill we teach through Teen Masters competition,” Beck said.

“His story will serve as an inspirational lesson for all Teen Masters participants. Having the Hardwicks celebrate Billy’s legacy through these college scholarships is wonderful for our event and for all youth bowlers.”

Two $2,000 college scholarships, one for the top male and one for the top female, will be awarded to eligible candidates based on total pinfall (not including match play bonus pins) at the Teen Masters Championships.

To be eligible, bowlers must meet the following criteria: Must be a high school senior, hold a cumulative GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, submit a letter of recommendation from a coach or teacher by June 1, and submit a 300-plus word essay on “How competitive bowling has taught me how to handle pressure in life” by June 1. Additional information is available here.

Wayne’s Lanes in “wait-and-see” situation for comeback

2016EastCoastBlizzardWayneLanes.jpgBJI Cyber Report has reported that Wayne Lanes, a 12-lane center in Waynesboro, Va., that first opened in 1958, suffered a devastating roof collapse due to the heavy snowfall that hit the region over the Jan. 23 weekend (pictured). But is beginning to take steps to recover.

“I was just in shock and disbelief,” proprietor Shawn Lavender told Bowlers Journal in an exclusive interview. “…So many people are tied to this center. I have been around it my whole life.”

Although it was a small center, Lavender and the PBA found a way for it to host PBA regional events, including the Decker Appraisal Services Baker Trios event won in November by PBA Hall of Famer Tom Baker; PBA Tour champion Jason Sterner, and PBA regional titlist Jeff Schrum.

The center immediately began receiving strong support.

“I can’t even tell you how many times my phone has rung from guys inside the PBA world and from local people to people that had just been to Wayne Lanes once or twice,” Lavender said. “It has been incredible.”

Will Wayne Lanes be rebuilt?

“I think the chances each day continue to be much stronger,” Lavender said. “It is just a wait-and-see situation right now. There are so many factors when you might rebuild. We have to see what the city has to say about it, and what the insurance company says… I am in the process of looking at buildings that can accommodate me.”

PBA Regional Update: Jakob Butturff wins first Regional title in Reno

2015PBAJakobButturff.jpgJakob Butturff (pictured left) of Chandler, Ariz., posted a 6-4 match play record and a 18-game total of 4,528 pins Sunday to win his first PBA Regional title in the PBA Sands Regency West/Northwest Winter Classic Open presented by Storm.

Butturff defeated Chris Ferreira of Visalia, Calif., by 185 pins to win the $2,000 first prize in the standard regional that was part of a tripleheader weekend.

2015PBARonMohr.jpgIn the companion PBA50 Open, Ron Mohr (right) of Las Vegas went 6-2 in match play and knocked down 3,848 total pins for 16 games to top Dennis Horan Jr. of Oakley, Calif., by 33 pins for a $1,500 prize and his 18th PBA Regional title.

Kicking off the weekend on Friday, Miles Duty of Modesto, Calif., defeated Butturff, 299-202, to win $1,500 in the PBA Sands Regency Winter Challenge presented by Radical. The Challenge was open to players who had never won a PBA title.

2016GrandCasinoSouthwestWinterOpenAnthonyPepe.jpgLeading into the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions, Anthony Pepe (pictured left with FireLake’s Randy Loftis, right) of Elmhurst, N.Y., ran away from top qualifier EJ Tackett of Huntington, Ind., 278-182, Sunday to win the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Southwest Winter Open at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla.

PBA’s February regional schedule gets underway with the Break Point Alley Southern Challenge presented by DV8, a tournament for non-titlists, over the Feb. 5-7 weekend in Tavares, Fla.

The Feb. 19-21 weekend includes two PBA Regionals, in the South and West Regions. Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg, S.C., will host the PBA50 Dave Edwards Toyota South Open presented by 900 Global, and Gold Country Lanes in Sutter Creek, Calif., will host the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Championship.

Kicking off a busy March schedule over the March 4-6 weekend will be the PBA50 Victory Lanes Central Open presented by 900 Global in Galion, Ohio; the Lakewood Holiday Lanes Southwest Open presented by Storm in Lakewood, Colo.; the PBA50 Monte Skeels Allstate Midwest Open presented by Brunswick at Liberty Lanes in Carpentersville, and the Caveman Bowl Northwest/West Open presented by DV8 in Grants Pass. Ore.

The only regional activity over the March 13 weekend is the one-day PBA50 Thunderbowl Midwest Open presented by Columbia 300 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

A busy regional schedule over the March 18-20 weekend includes the PBA50 Fayetteville South Open at Lafayette Lanes in Fayetteville, N.C.; the Odessa Southwest Open presented by Columbia 300 at Astro Bowl in Odessa, Texas; the PBA50 Showtime Lanes Midwest/Central Open presented by DV8 in Virden, Ill.; the PBA50 Rossi Lanes Eastern Open in Elmira, N.Y., and the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau Central/East Open presented by Radical at Bell-Wick Bowl in Hubbard, Ohio.

The March regional calendar concludes over the March 25-27 weekend with the Cooperfield Bowl Houston Challenge presented by 900 Global in Houston, Texas; the South Point West Challenge and Member/Non-Member Doubles, both presented by Track, at South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas.

For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, click here and open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.

Quick Notes

2015PBARyanCiminelli.jpgRyan Ciminelli (pictured left) 2012PBASCarmenSalvino.jpgof Cheektowaga, N.Y., the runner-up in the 2015 GEICO Chris Schenkel PBA Player of the Year voting, was forced to withdraw from the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions due to a lingering illness. Eight-time PBA Tour champion and 2015 PBA50 Rookie of the Year Mike Scroggins of Amarillo, Texas, also withdrew due to a chronic plantar fasciitis issue.

As expected, PBA founding member Carmen Salvino (right) of Chicago broke his own record as the oldest player ever to bowl in a PBA Tour event when he threw his first ball in the FireLake PBA Tournament of Champions on Tuesday, Feb., in Shawnee, Okla.

2016PBA02AmletoMonacelli2.jpgSalvino, 82, broke the record he set a year earlier by bowling in the 2015 TOC in Indianapolis – 53 years after he finished third in the inaugural TOC in 1962 in Indianapolis.

With his 20th career PBA Tour win in the 2016 DHC PBA Japan Invitational, Amleto Monacelli (left) became the third-oldest player ever to win a PBA Tour title. The Venezuelan hall of famer won in Tokyo at the age of 54 years, 276 days.

The record is held by John Handegard who won his only PBA Tour title in Kennewick, Wash., in 1995 at the age of 57 years, 139 days. Second-oldest was Buzz Fazio who won twice in 1964 and 1965 at the age of 56-plus.

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Herbert Bickel

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