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Bowling News USA - August 11, 2014 Open August 16-17 in Dubuque, Iowa

Matt McNiel cruised to a dominating win in the 2012 Open. Pictured left to right are Bob Hochrein (General Manager of Cherry Lanes), McNiel, runnerup Shannon Buchan, Mike Flanagan (, and Jeff Richgels ( Photo by Kim Richter.


Thanks to the great people and entities putting it on, the Open set for Aug. 16-17 at beautiful Cherry Lanes inside the Diamond Jo casino in Dubuque, Iowa will be a bowler’s dream.

Along with an innovative format and (hopefully) challenging lane pattern playable from multiple angles, the tournament will have at least $4,000 in sponsorship money and the entire $150 entry fee will go to the prize fund.

Yes, Cherry Lanes is graciously donating the lineage for the tournament. Thank you general manager Bob Hochrein and everyone at Cherry Lanes and the Diamond Jo. Hochrein is a USBC Open Championships and PBA regional title holder who cares about the sport and manages a top notch staff.

And yes, the Greater Iowa Bowling Association is graciously taking no expense fee for running the tournament, which will be part of GIBA’s schedule for 2014-15. Thank you GIBA operator Joe Engelkes and his family, who never take expense fees for running their events — all Joe ever does is take a portion of the bracket proceeds while donating the rest back to the prize funds.

Joe is one of the top tournament operators I know and I couldn’t think of a better guy and group to run the Open.

The only extra fee entrants must pay is the GIBA $10 season membership fee, and that gets you the right to compete in other GIBA events like the great Fusion Realtors Open tournaments in Waterloo, Iowa, and the end-of-season extras.

Joe and GIBA are taking entries now and the only way to guarantee a spot and make a squad request is to send in your entry fee! To reserve a spot and make a squad request, send your $150 check made out to GIBA to GIBA, c/o Joe Engelkes, 3018 Saratoga Drive, Waterloo, IA  50702. He can be reached at 319-236-0955 or

The only way to guarantee a spot and make a squad request is to send in your entry fee! To reserve a spot and make a squad request, send your $150 check made out to GIBA to:

Update June 28 and July 3: Mike Flanagan of Storm and has a conflict and can't webcast the event, but we have made a deal with Craig Elliott and so there will be webcasting of the tournament! 

And all we ask of you is to patronize the sponsors who are helping making this possible: drink Coors Light if you have a beer, eat and gamble at Cherry Lanes and the Diamond Jo, and patronize Storm Products. (The Diamond Jo officially will be part of Boyd Gaming by the time of the tournament, so whenever you are in a city with a choice in gambling facilities and one is a Boyd property, you could patronize the Boyd property and let them know why. Other Boyd facilities include Suncoast, Orleans and Gold Coast in Las Vegas.)

This will be the second Open — the inaugural event in 2012 was won by Matt McNeil, as I wrote up here, but we elected not to hold it last year because we could not get it done correctly.

I think everyone will agree it was worth the wait.

The format will be something different that started in the fertile mind of Flanagan, a true out-of-the-box thinker.

It will feature traditional qualifying squads at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday with pins carrying over and one-third of the bowlers advancing to Sunday and cashing. With three squads full, there would be a 144-bowler field and 48 players advancing and cashing. With three squads, the qualifying will be 6 games. If entries are 96 or fewer, we will go to two squads of 8 games.

Re-entries will be allowed, with priority given to first entries in this way: New entries will have priority if they are paid before Saturday.  Re-entries will come next if they are paid before Saturday. For those paid on Saturday, new entries will get priority over re-entries up to half an hour before the final two squads’ scheduled start time, then it will be first come, first served until the squads start.

As in the Fusions, bowlers can request to bowl with specific bowlers but lane assignments for pairs will be by random draw.

Sunday will feature 12 games of bowling with bonus pins based on score from highest to lowest.

For example, if 48 advance to Sunday in each game the highest scorer will get 48 bonus pins, the second-highest scorer 47 pins, so on down to 1 bonus pin for the lowest score each game. Whatever number of finalists there are, that number of bonus pins will go to the high scorer down to 1 pin for the lowest score each game.

Yes, it’s not head-to-head; instead, it’s all-against-one. The idea is to reward the consistently solid bowler and not the one who may bowl the right people at the right time. And everyone who makes the cut gets to bowl all of Sunday's games.

After those 12 games, the top five will compete in a stepladder finals on fresh oil.

The lane pattern will be a Sport compliant pattern, but I am less concerned with scoring level than with letting all parts of the lane play, depending how you throw it.

At least the basic parameters of the pattern will be released in advance at The actual pattern will be available at Cherry Lanes in advance of all squads.

The pattern will be put down on eight lanes on Friday, Aug. 15 if anyone wants to practice at a price of $2.75 per game, Hochrein said. Cosmic bowling begins at 7 p.m., he said.

There will be optional prize funds for seniors and women similar to the Fusions, along with brackets and pot games. And there will be a SMART option for youth bowlers, as GIBA offers with the Fusions.

Seniors and women each are guaranteed a 1-in-3 cashing ratio paying at least $150 per check. For example, if 15 seniors enter and two cash in the regular prize list there would be three separate senior checks so five cash.

There also will be brackets, pot games and a Bet You Win pot. And a separate $20 entry fee for a separate additional prize fund likely will be offered for both seniors and women — this is not noted on the flyer.

The total estimated prize fund, which is detailed in the flyer attached to the bottom of this blog, based on 144 entries is $24,950. That is well above the $21,600 from 144 entries at $150 each. (It's not exactly $4,000 extra to cover some senior, female and youth checks; if there are not that amount of senior, female and youth checks the extra funds will go to the regular prize list.)  

The top five spots will be $2,500, $2,000, $1,500, $1,100 and $900, down to $200 for the 48th and last check.

If additional sponsorship is obtained, it will be used to pay extra spots, senior and/or female checks, or improve the overall prize list.

Like the Fusions, the field will be open to anyone, including the top pros. However, with a first prize only around $2,500 and Brian Kretzer’s big PBA Regional in Ohio and the New Mexico Open that weekend, it's unlikely many will enter. But any who do will be welcome.

Entry information is on the flyer at the bottom of this blog.

There is a room block at the nearby Holiday Inn in downtown Dubuque, which is about a 5- to 10-minute walk. The room rate is $94 plus tax through July 31 and you must ask for the Cherry Lanes room block. The Holiday Inn is very nice and convenient.

Finally, Susie "Fever" Dyhr has been working to develop a charitable relationship for the tournament with Green Acres Boxer Rescue of Wisconsin. Anyone who knows of the two Boxers I've had in my life — the famed Norman and Clifford — will understand how near and dear Green Acres is to my heart. It's likely where Sue and I will get our next dog at some point. She is designing some T-shirts for the tournament with Green Acres benefiting from each sale. Details to come.

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August, 2014