If your bowling activity is limited to one or two leagues a week, there's a strong possibility you've never bowled in a tournament.
Maybe you think tournament games are cutthroat or expensive, or maybe you find some mystery to a tournament.
I'm here to tell you there is no high stakes, expense or mystery to local tournaments. Most people are familiar with the professional tenpin tour, where the best men and women professionals battle it outfor cash prizes. But there are tournaments available to the average bowler as well.
They are strictly a local show, and many are conducted in the same center your league bowls in. That's great if you want to start near to home in familiar surroundings, but it's a lot of fun to bowl in different centers.
Lets start with expenses of a tournament. They're generally modest. Remember the centers want people to bowl in tournaments; it's good business so the price is kept withinthe range of the average person.
There's single tournaments, doubles tournaments, team events, scratch and handicap tournaments. If you're worried about letting your team or partner down, then look for asingles event. There are plenty around. Barring the relatively few bowlers who can hold their own in a scratch tournament, I'd suggest that you look for a handicap tournament.
Then I'd look for a tournament that's taking place in a center away from where your league bowl.In a new center, you can fade into the crowd and get used to the pressures of tournament bowling.
To give you a feel for how local organizations set up and run tournaments in Harford, here's a short profile of two groups, one for tenpins and one for duckpins that conduct handicap amateur tournaments regularly.
* Chet Gaffney's Amateur Duckpin Tour introduces lower-average bowlers (140 and under) to professional-style bowling. It's not a professional organization, but it'sconducted as if it were.
Membership is limited to men and women over 18 with a sanctioned league average of 140-or-less for the last three years. Bowlers with no average for the past three seasons may enter and bowl at 140.
There is an annual membership fee of $20.
The normal tournament fee is $33, and $17 of that is designated as prize money for each particular tournament.
The bowling balls must meet all National Duckpin Bowling Congress requirements for weight andcircumference. That's a weight of more than 3 pounds, 12 ounces, and4 7/8 circumference. Even if your bowling ball is over the 3-pound,12-ounce requirement, don't panic; you can drill out the extra weight.If you have any doubt about the bowling balls, check them with your local center manager before entering the tournament.
Entering handicaps are based on 70 percent of the difference between your average and 145.
For more information, call 426-0440.
* For tenpin bowlers, the National Amateur Bowlers Inc. is the organization to turn tofor local tourneys.
NABI has been around for nine years.
The cost to join NABI is $25 for the first year and $15 to renew.
Most tournaments have a $35 entry fee.
In 1991, NABI paid out over $1 million in prize money ($302,873 in the Baltimore-Washington area.)
The organization is for amateur bowlers who carry an average of 199 or less. If bowlers have averaged 200 or more during any of the last three years, they are not eligible to join.
The majority of bowlers have averages between 140 and 190.
Bowlers get 80 percent of thedifference between their average and 200.
NABI membership is opento men and women. However, men qualify against other men and women qualify against other women. Only after qualifying can they compete against competitors of the opposite sex.
Weekly tournaments guarantee between $800 and $1,000 for first-place prize money.
When you'rea member of the local NABI club, you can bowl in NABI tournament around the nation.
All tournaments are sanctioned by the ABC/WIBC. Bowlers who bowl an award game win the award as if they were bowling intheir own league.
For more information, call 987-4819.