SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The 2011 USBC Championships reached the halfway point of its 88-day run this week, but there is no hint of a slowdown as the excitement continues and new leaders continue to emerge.
In addition to enlivening the Oncenter Convention Center each day, the bowlers bring their own unique blend of sightseeing and spending, estimated to have a $40 million impact on the local community as they shop, eat and travel.
The 92nd running of the Women's Championships began April 7 and will stretch until July 3. By tournament end, more than 30,000 bowlers will make their way to Salt City to compete in team, doubles and singles in three handicap divisions: Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire.
There is also a special scratch prize list for each category, which reflects actual scores bowled without handicap.
The 2011 tournament marks the second year the event has been held in a convention-center setting, featuring specially-constructed lanes in a one-of-a-kind venue. The build format debuted in El Paso, Texas, in 2010. Previous tournaments, back to the event's inception in 1916, were held in traditional bowling centers.
So far this year, more than 1 million frames have been bowled on the 48 Brunswick Anvilane lanes, operated with the Brunswick GS-X pinsetters, by the 14,000 women who have traveled to Syracuse to compete. That equates to 2,800 five-player teams pouring in from across the country. There are 5,822 teams registered to compete in 2011.
Of the 126,000 games bowled so far, there were 2,494,000 balls thrown and 17,640,000 Brunswick Max pins knocked down (score). This year, 2,120 pins will make their way into play. The ongoing action from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. each day has resulted in the need for 41.25 gallons of Kegel lane oil and 435 gallons of lane-cleaning solution.
Both matriarchs of the Women's Championships already have bowled and broken their own participation records.
Emma Hendrickson of Morris Plains, N.J., a 102-year-old bowling sensation and the event's oldest participant, bowled with her team, The 5 Bowling Bags, on April 16.
Voted Sensational Senior of the Year on Live! With Regis and Kelly in New York after competing at age 100 in 2009, Hendrickson is a crowd favorite.
"I've found that the best thing you can do is be happy with what you are doing, and bowling is what I do," Hendrickson said. "As I always say, 'once a bowler, always a bowler.' That's my own saying, you know, and it's a true statement about the dedication and love that bowlers have for their sport."
Mini Tvaska, a 93 year old from St. Petersburg, Fla., made her record 65th consecutive appearance on May 18. She competed with The Sunshine Gals and returned the following day for doubles and singles.
Tvaska, in anticipation of retirement from her favorite sport after celebrating 60 tournaments in 2007, donated her bowling-patched jacket and pin vest to the local bowling association in Charlotte, N.C.
"Now I realize it keeps me going - I realize I have to live for another year to keep going to Nationals," Tvaska said, with a laugh. "I thought 2007 would be my last year. Boy was I wrong."
There have been two perfect games at the 2011 tournament - the first by Dede Davidson of Buellton, Calif., who also tossed an 800 series a day earlier and became the only woman in tournament history to achieve both feats on the championship lanes. Erin Lenahan of Lincoln, Calif., rolled the other 300, bringing the all-time total to 14.
Two 299 games also were thrown by Jackie Mitzkavich of Dubois, Pa., and Michelle Cultrera of Goleta, Calif. Carol Norman of Houston added the year's only 298 game.
Seven women received recognition for 50 or more appearances at the Women's Championships, with another four celebrating 49-year anniversaries. Countries represented on the lanes this year include: Australia, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Japan - and Puerto Rico made its mark, too.
This is the third time in the 92-year history of the Women's Championships that Syracuse has hosted this event. It previously was held there in 1940 and 1954.
Sponsors for the 2011 USBC Women's Championships sponsors include Turning Stone Resort and Casino, official brackets sponsor, Humana, official registration sponsor, Miller Lite and Molson Canadian, official beer sponsors. Supporting sponsors include Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, The Oncenter, Syracuse Convention and Visitors Bureau, Caz Limo & Tours, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, US Steltronic, official scoring system, and Brunswick, official lane provider.