Tournament bowling in Las Vegas is evolving. Vegas bowling guys recall the glory days of the action packed High Roller’s, with six figure first place paydays. Norm Edelman’s theme of “anybody can beat anybody in a one game match” was brilliant.
The idea was everybody had a shot. Everybody was invited to the party. Everybody had fun, because the venue was Las Vegas.
We have fast-forwarded to a new day in the tournament scene. The new theme could be “no bowler who comes to Las Vegas shall be overlooked.”
The key is offering tournaments that appeal to every bowler! You don’t have to be a “professional amateur” to shoe up.
You love bowling? You love Vegas? You want an experience?
The glory days of the Roller may be gone, but Vegas Tournament bowling is still pumping. Don’t let the bowling doomsdayers sway you, bowlers from all over the world are still having fun in the funnest city in the world.
Watching the TAT (True Amateur Tournament) field on Thursday at the Orleans was encouraging and even refreshing. The players competing were from all age groups, all talent levels and from all over the country. There was a different synergy on the lanes than I was used to from all the Mega-buck years.
Sure the bowling scores were important. And of course, the bowlers were all hoping to make a buck or two. But from my take, it is evident that the TAT has a niche. A niche that may be a key to having successful tournaments in Las Vegas.
The players are having fun. They are competing and learning and most importantly having fun. It isn’t all about the cash. Yes, there are plenty of good players. But the divisions and formats of the TAT make it so most everyone has a chance at winning something. It might be the “Buddy’s Mystery Score”, or the Roto Grip Challenge (less than 9 and your out). You may have bowled a 300 in the 9 pin event. Or you could be the man or woman who wins the $20,000 first place prize in the main event. There is something for everyone and that is why the TAT is getting bigger.
Everyone can use the experience to get better. It might be from chatting with PBA star Rhino Page, or learning about equipment from the Roto Grip representatives. Or it could be from having a fantastic night on the strip. In the end, it is all about the experience.
In the current state of competitive bowling, it is clear that “no bowler should be overlooked.” And that means that tournament fields, formats, and prize funds should appeal to all bowlers who enjoy the sport, enjoy the venue and of course, enjoy the fun.
Like my buddy Chuck always told me, “if you can’t have fun in Vegas, where can you?”
If I had my way, I would incorporate show girls or Elvis impersonators performing on the lanes with Blue Man Group playing while they re-oil. You have to walk before you can run.
Viva Las Vegas...