Excitement building around USBC Mixed, debuts in 2015

By Matt Cannizzaro and Wishelle Banks
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. - For nearly 100 years, loyal spouses, friends and family members have filled the spectator seating at the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships, and while they'll still be able to serve their support roles in the future, they also will have the opportunity to do some bowling while in the host city.

The debut of the USBC Mixed alongside the USBC Women's Championships in 2015 will allow those supportive men to stretch their legs and lace up their bowling shoes for their own nine games of team, doubles and singles competition at the one-of-a-kind National Bowling Stadium.

There has been a lot of buzz about The Mixed around the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, this year's home of the Women's Championships, and now that registration is open, the entries are rolling in.

"We saw it on BOWL.com, so we're thinking about it," said Jerry McConnell of Ontario, Calif., who was at the RSCC to watch his wife, Colleen, compete at the 2014 Women's Championships. "Absolutely, we like bowling together. We'll do it. Why not?"

Jerry bowls in multiple leagues each week. Colleen enjoys tournament competition and likes the idea of bowling with her husband in a national tournament.

The Mixed will feature four-player mixed teams, mixed doubles and open singles competition and utilize the same average-based divisions as the Women's Championships, meaning there's an opportunity for bowlers of all skill levels to compete and win some prize money.

The new event was designed with an emphasis on fun, and along with attracting bowlers currently relegated to the bleachers, The Mixed also is a good starting point for bowlers interested in trying the national-tournament experience, but who may not be ready for an event like the USBC Open Championships.

CarrollBobDebbie2014WC465x262Bob Carroll of Bear, Del., has been bowling off and on for more than 30 years, but he has made a consistent, concerted effort the past five years. He came to Reno to support his wife, Debbie, who only learned to bowl a year ago, but looks forward to the possibility of competing alongside her.

"Yes, we'd have a good time doing that," said Bob, 57. "We bowl in two mixed leagues now. We've actually done a couple of 9-pin, no-tap tournaments - mixed - as well, so we'd enjoy that. It would be a good time. We play golf together and ride bikes together, so I know we'd enjoy bowling in The Mixed."

With help from her husband, Debbie, 49, has improved her average quite a bit from last year. She loves the idea of bowling in a low-pressure, high-profile tournament with her husband.

"I have the best coach right here, who would be a great mixed partner," Debbie said.

In 2013 and 2014 bowling families had the chance to travel and compete together with the Women's Championships alongside the USBC Open Championships in the same host city for the first time.

Even as the two events go their separate ways in 2015, with the Open Championships headed to El Paso, Texas, and the Women's Championships headed across Reno to the NBS, the standard has been set, and the convenience of bowling in multiple events in one trip has been a popular one.

WhiteVincentValerie2014WC465x262Valerie White, a 54-year-old from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., participated in the 2014 Women's Championships with her team, Ladies with Game 1. Watching patiently from the spectator section was loyal husband, Vincent, 62. They both love to bowl, so the idea of the USBC Mixed tournament sounds good to the pair.

"She's a good bowler," Vincent said. "We look for things to do together, and it's a neat sport. She's ready to rock and roll. We love to come to Reno, and this is what we do. We're bowlers."

Valerie, who competed in Division 2 Singles and All-Events this year at the RSCC, has been participating in the Women's Championships for approximately a decade. She, too, is excited about the new opportunity beginning in 2015.

"It would be awesome," Valerie said. "I would love to bowl in the tournament such as this. I would love the opportunity for us to actually bowl together. I think we would absolutely do it."

The USBC Mixed will run during the same time as the 2015 Women's Championships, from April 10 until June 30, and then join the Women's Championships in 2016 as it heads to Las Vegas for the first time since 1983.

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