Ready, Set, Go to the BWAA Convention and Bowl Expo in Las Vegas June 23-28 By Dick Evans

    06/19/07

    Column

    All Roads lead to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for 75th BPAA Convention

    It's pretty upsetting when you figure that you will attend a convention in this gambling Mecca and you can't figure out when you will have time to bet a few bucks on gray horses or roll the dice or pray for a blackjack.

    No question about it, the Bowling Proprietors Association of America's national convention and Bowl Expo is becoming all things to all people. And there is little room in the busy schedule for gambling. Sure, it took the proprietors 75 years to construct the biggest event in bowling world wide, but the progress has been rapid under the direction of executive director John Berglund the past few years. Just by glancing through the message of BPAA President Joe Schumacker you get a picture of the scope of the June 23-29 convention at the Mandalay Bay. Schumacker singles out: THE Armed Forces Bowling Conference. THE IBPSIA/USBC Coaches Conference and annual meeting. THE Bowling Writers Association of America Convention. THE Bowling Proprietors Association of Canada conference. THE Presentation of 2007 Bowling Industry Service and Proprietor of Year awards. A satellite event will be the Ebonite International, Inc., new showcase June 26 at Texas Station. PLUS the giant and educational BowlExpo itself June 27-28. And how about a champagne breakfast with bowling leaders on June 28 where select writers will direct questions at Roger Dalkin (USBC), Fred Schreyer (PBA), David Overgbagh (Armed Forces), Warren Hardie (Brunswick), Pat Ciniello (Qubica/AMF), David Frewing (US Bowling/US Steltronic), Matthew Petcoff (North Pointe Insurance), Susie Mineshew (IBPSIA) and Schumacker. The BPAA Convention has become a haven for bowling stories so I will have to make sure I pack my tape recorder and several notebooks and several pens, although I'm sure there will be a spare one (pen) in my hotel room if my others run dry from either overwork or the Las Vegas heat. If my information is correct, then a big story will be handed to be – the 75 year history of the BPAA. The first 50-year history of the BPAA was a fascinating book in its inception. This will mark the second bowling convention I have attended this year (three months apart) and I have come to the conclusion that it is time for the USBC to consider making its national convention part of the BPAA activities. Everyone knows that bowling is only going to thrive if it stops presenting several faces and speaks as one. What better way than one giant convention every year in Las Vegas? There is no question in my mind that USBC delegates who have to pay their own way would rather head to Las Vegas than Orlando, Nashville or Kansas City – the sites of the first three USBC Conventions. There is also no question in my mind that it will happen sooner or later, so sooner is better. I would envision the USBC convention being held the weekend after the BPAA Convention ends on a Friday. With the two organizations displaying harmony, something could be worked out so that if USBC delegates were interested they could sit in on BPAA seminars and even attend Bowl Expo for a reduced rate. In my mind, it would benefit all of bowling...proprietors would learn more about their customers and bowlers would learn more about the many other segments of the industry and each should come away with a greater appreciation for the other group's problems. It would be great see the Armed Forces meetings occupy a more prominent part of the combined convention. I think too few Americans appreciate what bowling does for our troops and their well being world wide. For example, I was just skimming through the ABC's 100th Anniversary book and I discovered this statement in bold print: "DURING THE WAR YEARS (WORLD WAR II), THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT INSTALLED NEARLY 4,500 ALLEY BEDS AT ARMY, NAVY AND AIR FORCE INSTALLATIONS AROUND THE WORLD." Wouldn't it be great if someone in the Armed Forces wrote a history about the role bowling has played with out military over the past 67 years? I would buy a copy? I know I would love to cover more Armed Service functions because right now Americans are hungry for any positive human interest story that comes out of the military. This is one segment of the bowling industry that has been neglected from the standpoint of publicity in my opinion. I also would like for more attention to be paid to the Professional Bowlers Association and more national news stories about the PBA to be released during Bowl Expo, like the upcoming ESPN schedule. For the first time, the merged members of the Bowling Writers Association of America will hold a convention under the guidance of President Hazel McLeary, who also has won the BWAA prestigious Mort Luby Hall of Fame award and will be honored June 26. Like the bowling industry itself, the BWAA has come a long way in a short period of time but there are still giant steps to be taken in order to speak with one voice. Don't get me wrong, I know there would be headaches and maybe even some heartache if all the conventions eventually come under the BPAA umbrella, but I also know bowling would be a better sport for the sacrifices. I may be a minority of one, but based on my background I consider the BPAA as the key component to luring more daily sports writers into covering the sport of bowling on a regular bases. Bowling must speak with a single voice and I think it must start with one giant convention for all segments of the industry. All those who disagree can line up at the BWAA booth at BowlExpo and tell me to mind my own convention business. Email address: [email protected]