In April, I wrote this blog about a new tournament with the headline: “What a deal! A long weekend in Vegas and entry in a doubles tourney paying $5,000 for first for just $500.”
That was the entry fee for the inaugural "Bowling's Hall of Fame Xtravaganza," which was held this weekend at the awesome Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.
Some people won their entries in qualifying tournaments, including Mike Kaul, who won one at Super Bowl in Appleton that had just a $40 entry fee. That made it an even better deal.
The Xtravaganza is a doubles tournament and Kaul chose his brother Eric Fritton as his partner.
And the duo ended up winning the tournament, which carried a first prize of $5,000 out of the $25,000 prize fund. That led to a great Cheesehead celebration Saturday night that included myself, my girlfriend Sue, Marc McDowell and his wife Kerri (Mac is bowling the Senior U.S. Open starting Monday). Thanks Mike and Eric for the hospitality!
The event also raised $15,000 for the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas, which is why I was in Vegas: representing Storm Products and the Hall of Fame.
The others appearing for their companies and the Hall of Fame were Bob Hart of Storm, Sean Rash of Brunswick, Kim Terrell-Kearney, Clara Guerrero and Dave Wodka of the Ebonite/Hammer/Columbia family.
It was a great weekend and the format of the tournament made it an unbelievably fun event for the 79 doubles teams.
If this event doesn’t turn into the next big thing in bowling I will be shocked: The deal is great, the event is fun and Red Rock is awesome. What more could you ask for?
The format featured four games on Friday and four on Saturday. The Friday games were individual doubles and the Saturday games were Baker format doubles.
The first game each day required the bowlers to get odd numbers to score — 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9.
The second game each day required the bowlers to get even numbers — 2, 4, 6 or 8 with a strike not counting.
The third game each day was low ball, with zero counting as a strike on the first ball and a spare on the second.
The fourth game each day was target score, with the bowlers picking a score between 100 and 200 to aim for. Hitting it exactly was zero and however much you missed by was subtracted from your total.
There were bonus pins and some other tricks to the scoring, but no handicap.
The bottom line is that it was fun to bowl and to watch, and high level bowlers had little to no advantage, except in low ball.
Kaul and Fritton used a couple of big games in odd numbers and low games in low ball to take the title, moving up from third on Friday.
I believe the event has a 10-year deal with Station Casinos and I can’t imagine it won’t grow much larger as more people learn about it.
Below is the news release with results of the event:
Wisconsin Bowlers Fritton and Kaul Win Inaugural Hall of Fame Xtravaganza
In an event filled with fellowship and laughter, Eric Fritton and Michael Kaul from Wisconsin are the winners of the inaugural Hall of Fame Xtravaganza event held at the incredible Red Rock Resort and Red Rock Bowling Center in Las Vegas May 31-June 2.
Fritton and Kaul accumulated a total of 980 points over the two day eight game event featuring a unique format to win the $5000 top prize. The team of Andy and Wes Johnston from Ohio finished second with a point total of 950 to earn $4000.
This was one of the toughest challenges I have ever seen” said Kaul. “Trying to get an even count without striking is tough.” Fritton agreed that the Xtravaganza format challenged the players and made it fair for everyone. “I played a lot of low ball growing up, and I think that helped us in this event,” he said.
The format for the event was designed to accommodate bowlers of all abilities and most agreed it was challenging. Bowlers were required to get even counts in game one and odd counts in game two. Game three was “low ball” with everyone trying to pick off the corner pins for the lowest count possible; and game four was “Target Score”; the challenge being to get as close as possible to a pre-selected number.
The reactions of the players were classic, with frowns for strikes when trying for low counts, and jumps for joy on getting a single pin in the low ball game.
“I wish we had video of the bowlers reactions” said tournament director John Losito. “They were having so much fun.” Xtravaganza event chairman Pat Ciniello was also pleased with the event. “I think we hit a home run,” said Ciniello. “I can’t wait until next year.”
Xtravaganza finalists were treated to a 4 day 3 night stay at one of the best hotel resorts in the world, and they won more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. The event had more than a dozen industry sponsors including Brunswick, Ebonite, and Storm. Each had their bowling ball experts on site to demonstrate their products and give tips during practice.
A great time was had by all, but the real winner was the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame. A contribution of $15,000 was made to the IBMHF from the event.
And the best news is that this was the first of a 10 year annual commitment from Station Casinos to host this annual event. “I think we have a diamond in the rough, said David Garber, Director of Corporate Bowling Sales. “We are looking forward to seeing where this event goes in the years to come. Based on this start, I think it will be sold out every year. Everyone did a great job on this first event.”
The Xtravaganza is an event presented by the IBMHF and sponsored by the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America (BPAA), the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), Station Casinos Lanes of Las Vegas, Strike Ten Entertainment (STE), Storm, Brunswick, Ebonite, and industry sponsors Jack Link's Beef Jerky and Musselman's Apple Sauce. For additional information, visit the websites bowlingmuseum.com, bpaa.com, or bowl.com. For more info, contact Stefanie Nation, Stefanie@bpaa.com.
1st Annual Xtravaganza Final Results
Red Rock Lanes, Las Vegas, NV - June 2, 2012
Place Name City ST Day 1 Day 2 Final Prize
1 Eric Fritten- Michael Kaul Appleton/Milwaukee WI 498 482 980 $ 5,000.00
2 Andy Johnston-Wes Johnston Lima OH 476 474 950 $ 4,000.00
3 Peter Davis-Greg Martin Edmonds/Seattle WA 457 492 949 $ 3,000.00
4 Harry Mickelson-Ed Roberts Braintree/Yakima MA/WA 454 488 942 $ 2,000.00
5 Gary Evans-Randy Niehaus Rockford IL 471 470 941 $ 1,000.00
6 Ernest Silva-Dorraine Araiza Harlingen TX 488 442 930 $ 950.00
7 Walter Kruetzer-Mike Kruetzer Louisville KY 500 428 928 $ 800.00
8 Paula Vidad- John Debenedetta Las Vegas/Sun City NV/CA 453 467 920 $ 750.00
9 Melissa Goodwin-Gary Goodwin Howell MI 452 466 918 $ 700.00
10 Marc Ciniello-Jerry Hudson Bonita Springs/Howell FL/MI 479 436 915 $ 650.00
11 Fred Nelson-Mary Nelson Naples FL 450 450 900 $ 575.00
12 Ed Novak-Michael Strnad Riverside IL 444 456 900 $ 575.00