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USBC releases plans for 2021 bowling season, PWBA Tour

Johnny Campos
Journal Star
PWBA star Kelly Kulick practices bowiing in 2006 in Linden, N.J.

The United States Bowling Congress has been pretty busy in the past few days.

The organization distributed three major press releases, revealing its plans for 2021 after canceling virtually every major event in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And if you have a subscription to BowlTV, be prepared to spend some serious hours watching all of the USBC events currently planned for next year (some of them tentatively, of course, because of COVID-19).

The first major announcement was the 2021 schedule for the Professional Women’s Bowling Association, which includes 20 tournaments — up from 14 that were scheduled this year.

There will be about $400,000 added money to next year’s PWBA season, with most of the added money coming from the savings of not having live TV finals on the CBS Sports Network.

There also will be three “bubble” events, where players can bowl three national events and a regional tournament in one location.

BowlTV will offer wire-to-wire coverage of all 20 national events, including the USBC Queens and U.S. Women’s Open.

PWBA star Kelly Kulick, who often was the color commentator for the TV finals on CBS Sports, was in Dallas as part of the USBC Hall of Fame Committee when the PWBA Tour schedule was announced.

So, I asked her for her take on the new schedule.

“With the pandemic and its global exposure, I’m a little surprise that they were even able to put forth a tour schedule,” she said. “I’ve been on the board of directors, so budget-wise, it was a good idea to put more money in the people’s pockets and expand the tour (instead of having network TV finals).

“We do need the exposure, and I know that the CBS Sports Network is a huge supporter of us. But considering what happened in 2020, I think there’s justification for it, and the light at the end of the tunnel is that they’ve increased the events and still will have the same prize funds as they had in past years.”

Whenever Kulick did not make the telecast, she was usually behind the mic for the TV finals. That will not be an option next year.

“There will still be somebody on the other side of the microphone commentating on the ladies (on BowlTV),” Kulick said. “And there are a lot of positives coming out of this.

“Our membership hopefully will increase, and we’ll be going back to centers we’ve been to and even some new ones. That means we can have more exposure across the United States.”

The BowlTV coverage actually will start the first week of January with the USBC Team USA Trials, which have been moved from Las Vegas to Indianapolis.

The USBC also announced the dates for the 2021 U.S. Open (in February) and the USBC Masters (in March). The U.S. Open will be held in Green Bay, Wis., and the Masters in Las Vegas.

There also will be three new regional team tournaments, the Bowlers Journal Team Championship Series, similar to the Team Challenge events that were popular a few years ago.

BowlTV also will cover national youth tournaments and major senior events, for a total of around 90 live events and more than 1,600 hours of coverage. Go to Bowl.com to subscribe.

Trio champs

The team of Ryan Driskill, Dan Rogers and Mike Broogren won the Halloween Trios tournament last Sunday at Landmark Lanes. They beat a field of 37 teams to claim the top prize of $1,800.

In the title match, Team Driskill, which qualified for the top eight teams in sixth place, defeated the team of Andy Stone, Pete Stone and Adam Johnson, 460-439, in a two-game finale.

The teams of Mike McWethy, Jeremy Grigg and Kurt Riley, and Vince Pollard, Tony Wysinger and Jason Meeks tied for third in the event.

Team Pollard knocked off the top qualifying team of Kenny Combs, Gene Vincent and John Marsala in the quarterfinals.

Combs led the team with a 1,478 six-game total (246.3 average), Marsala added 1,457 (242.8) and Vincent 1,308 (218).

PBA Round of 16

The Professional Bowlers Association Playoffs continue at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on FS1, with four matches in the Round of 16.

A.J. Johnson of Oswego takes on Bill O’Neill in the opener. The other matches will be Nick Pate vs. Kyle Troup, Tom Smallwood vs. EJ Tackett and Brad Miller vs. Jesper Svensson.

Johnny Campos is the Journal Star bowling columnist. He can be reached at 686-3214 or jcampos@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @JohnnyCampos59.

Local bowling scores

Perfect Angle/Bill Mastronardi Masters standings (after 10 weeks): 1 Striketown 297-203; 2 Mt. Hawley Bowl 287-213; 3 Bullpen 281-219; 4 Potter’s Alley 280-220; 5 Linn Lanes 274-226; 6 Plaza Lanes 269-231; 7 Johnson Accounting 257-243; 8 Landmark Lanes 249-251; 9 Wingstop 219-281; 10 T&D Windshield 201-299; 11 T-Shirt House 198-302; 12 Sunset Lanes 188-312.

Last week’s results (at Plaza Lanes, Washington): Landmark def. Mt. Hawley 28-22; Johnson def. Wingstop 26-24; Striketown def. T-Shirt 38-12; Bullpen def. T&D 28-22; Potter’s def. Sunset 38-12; Linn def. Plaza 31-19.

High series: Dustin Hopkins (Striketown) 748, Gary Alstott 732, Luke Morris (Johnson) 720, Jack Ford (Bullpen) 719, Mark Walker 717, Kenny Shockency (Linn) 706.

High games: Rob Johnson (T&D) 279, Dan Rogers (T&D) 279, Ford 276, Eric Kendall (Wingstop) 268, Andy Stone (Mt. Hawley) 268, Dan Lee 267 & 254, Jason Jones (T-Shirt) 259, Alstott 259, Hopkins 258, Shockency 257, Morris 257, Josh Barnwell (Plaza) 255.

Johnny Campos