Kickoff event shares Stadium with WC

2012YouthEventRENO, Nev. - With the beginning of the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships just a few days away, the championship lanes received a warm-up as the Greater Reno Sparks USBC Kick-Off Tournament rolled into the National Bowling Stadium over the weekend.

In its first year as a youth/adult event, 47 teams from northern Nevada hit the lanes to compete in three games of doubles competition. In previous years, the GRSUSBC Kick-Off Tournament was held as a youth event in conjunction with the start of either the USBC Open or Women's Championships.

The event not only gives bowlers the chance to compete at the "Taj Mahal of Tenpins," it also serves as a warm-up for the Women's Championships staff, which will welcome the first of more than 6,100 teams (30,000 bowlers) on Saturday. The 2012 tournament will conclude its 86-day run on July 8.

"The kids have always loved coming here," GRSUSBC Youth Director Cheryl Sines said. "When the parents started to ask if they could bowl as well, we decided to turn it into a youth/adult tournament. The parents really love bowling with their kids."

The GRSUSBC Kick-Off Tournament featured four divisions based on combined averages. Kolton and Mike Ferro took home the Division 1 title with a 1,359 total. Division 2 went to Katlin and Russell Nichols with 1,325. Daniel Barnes and Sandra Neeld captured the Division 3 crown with 1,338, and Trevor Higgins and Dolly Belzman won Division 4 with 1,343. More than $1,900 in scholarship prizes was given away.

The GRSUSBC will look to run warm-up events in 2013 and 2014 as both the Open and Women's Championships are scheduled to call Reno home. This will mark the first time both events have been held in the same city during the same year. The Open Championships will return to the Stadium, while the Women's Championships moves across town to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.

The Reno-Sparks Convention Center will feature 44 specially-constructed lanes as well as the world's largest mobile scoreboard and a unique vendor area. For the third time in a four-year stretch, the Women's Championships will been held in a convention-center setting, which debuted at the 2010 event in El Paso, Texas.

"We're always excited to be back in Reno, and this was a great way to start our tournament run," Women's Championships Tournament Manager Eric Pierson said. "We hope the competitors enjoyed the Women's Championships atmosphere and the chance to bowl on one of the biggest stages in the sport. Our staff is ready and eager to kick off the 2012 Women's Championships."

Presenting sponsors for the 2012 USBC Women's Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado Hotel Casino and Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Harrah's Reno Casino, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Humana, official registration sponsor, Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, Nationwide Insurance, Sands Regency Casino Hotel and Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and