Knocking Down Pins For A Cure

By Blair Blumenscheid

4 min read

It was another wonderful year raising money for a great cause at the PBA-PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Tournament, sponsored by Storm. The field was filled with incredibly talented teams of PBA and PWBA athletes as well as some great amateurs from all around the world. Team SPI Athletes Anthony Simonsen and Danielle McEwan teamed up together and overcame the challenging lane conditions to earn the 2023 SABC Tournament Title.

The story of the tournament travels back several years. Donna Conners and Luci Bonneau met bowling together in Houston and became travel partners on the LPBT. In 1999, Bonneau was battling breast cancer and Conners stayed by her side. They discussed creating a bowling tournament to raise money for breast cancer research when her treatment was complete. Bonneau passed away later that year and Conners knew she had to create the event.

"It’s about people coming together for a dreadful disease,” Conners said. “When you think about it, breast cancer doesn’t ask any questions. It doesn’t care if you are a mother, if you are a father, or who you are. Breast cancer hits everybody.”

Conners and the Striking Against Breast Cancer Foundation have raised more than $1 million in the fight against breast cancer and starts preparing for the next event the day after the current year wraps up. The tournament fills up quickly. Players travel from across the nation and around the world to compete in the event. Conners has a team of volunteers that give their time and help the event run smoothly. She says each year the volunteers keep growing.

“It is truly the beauty of bowling,” Conners said “Everyone coming together to raise money for a cause! And to showcase the greatest female & male athletes on planet! I’m so blessed!”

Storm Bowling has sponsored the event since 2002 and each year the whole company tries to participate in the event in every way. In addition, Conners is a member of our Storm Team, and she participates heavily in our Paint the Lanes Pink Campaign each year.

“Storm has been a proud supporter of the Luci for many years,” Leanne Hulsenberg, Tournament and Events Manager at Storm Products said. “Not only do we sponsor the event, our pro staff and Storm employees participate in the tournament. Donna Conners and her staff of volunteers do an incredible job all year to prepare for this weekend and we appreciate all their efforts to make this special tournament happen each year.”

Knowing that Storm Bowling is 1000% behind her event means a lot to Conners.

“Having Storm Bowling Products behind me is like having wings that just lift me up and help me fly.” Conners said. “I feel safe. I know that they’ve got my back and they’re always there to help me. Without these sponsors that like Storm Bowling Products, High 5 Gear, and all the many, many sponsors who donate time and money to come bowl the pro-am, this event would not be possible.”

Each year, the Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles event also hosts two pro-ams that are always sold out. They host a silent auction as well as several raffles and giveaways for all the participants. Conners does everything in her power to make sure that there is “positive karma” throughout the entire event and good thoughts for all the spectators and participants.

Conners also tries to make the tournament environment as fair as possible right down to the lane condition. Kegel comes in to provide the tournament with a fair but challenging lane condition. Occasionally, a player will get caught up in the frustration of the tournament. It doesn’t take long for them to regain perspective.

“I had one player tell me one time that this (lane) condition is awful,” Conners said. “I said, you’re right now turn around. Do you see this lady standing behind you? She has breast cancer right now. When you are on these lanes you are fighting to win. That’s what she’s doing too. She is fighting for her life.”

Personally, I bowled the event this year for the first time, and I must admit I got a little caught up in the frustration of the difficult lane condition. When I look back on the weekend, raising funds for a meaningful cause and coming together as a bowling family is what’s important. I’m grateful for the opportunity to roll some of the best bowling balls on the planet and lace up my 3G shoes for a good cause. It’s a good reminder that giving back will always be in our DNA at Storm!

At Storm, we’re excited for October when we will Paint the Lanes Pink and we’re already looking forward to next year when we come together to Strike Against Breast Cancer in Houston!