GALION — Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) senior bowling returns to Galion on the first weekend in April.
Victory Lanes, 739 Portland Way South, will once again play host to the PBA Sherry Bodkins Women’s Health Awareness Memorial Central Open on the weekend of April 2-4.
“This is an annual event usually on the first weekend of April,” said Laurie Rinehart of Victory Lanes. “Unfortunately, last year (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) we were unable to have it in April, so we ended up pushing it to October of last year to try to keep our yearly tournament going. When we opened the bowling center about 14 years ago, we started doing a PBA event. It was the Victory Lanes Invitational.”
Rinehart, daughter of Victory Lanes founders Ken and Sherry Bodkins, said they took “a few years off” from staging the PBA events due to her parents being ill at various times. Her mother Sherry passed away in 2017 following a battle with cancer. That prompted them to create the memorial event to honor Sherry Bodkins and promote women’s health awareness, Rinehart said.
The event has attracted senior professional bowlers from all across Ohio as well as West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and other states.
“This is something that area bowlers look forward to every year,” Rinehart said. “On the Friday night, we do have the pro-am that we put on for the juniors and the adults where they have the opportunity to bowl with the pros for three games. They get the chance to have fun with them, getting pointers, and just having the chance to bowl with a pro is an exciting thing.”
Rinehart said a host of professionals have participated in the event including Jack Jurek from Lackawanna, New York, and Galion native Mark Pickford, who now makes his home in North Carolina.
“We usually have 45 to 50 bowlers that come through each year,” she said. “We had 45 bowlers in October. We did lose a few because of COVID because they just didn’t want to travel. We’re hoping to get a few more this time around.”
Rinehart said the tournament is “a good time” and has been successful due to the support of the Galion community.
“Community support is what makes this tournament happen,” Rinehart said. “We have a lot of community businesses that contribute to it. If we didn’t have their help, we probably wouldn’t be able to do this on a yearly basis.”
What’s happening that weekend
The PBA Senior practice session is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 2. Rinehart said local residents are invited to watch the pros practice.
The Junior Pro-Am is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 2. The entry fee is $25. It includes three games in a 3-6-9 format with three different professionals.
The Adult Pro-Am is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 2. The entry fee is $30. It also includes three games in a 3-6-9 format with three different professionals.
The guaranteed prize for first place in the pro-am is $300. The amount awarded to places two through five will depend on the number of entries.
PBA Senior Qualifying will be held on Saturday, April 3. Squad A will bowl at 10 a.m. and Squad B will bowl at 4 p.m. Each squad will bowl eight games.
Senior round robin match play is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 4. The awards ceremony will be held after match play is completed.
Rinehart said all participants and fans in attendance will be asked to wear face masks and state and local health regulations related to COVID-19 will be observed.
For information, contact Victory Lanes at 419-468-4868.
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