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Update: Wisconsin State Sport Championships effort delayed again to 2020 — for good reasons and with great hope

JEFF RICHGELS | Posted: Monday, January 14, 2019 8:00 am

Note: This story originally posted on Jan. 17, 2018.

Update Jan. 14, 2019: After a lot of discussion at the 2019 Wisconsin Bowling Hall of Fame induction dinner on Saturday night, it was clear that it is best not to try to run the debut of the Wisconsin State Sport Championships in 2019.

Don Hildebrand and Kandy Birmingham and all of the folks at the new Wisconsin State USBC Bowling Association have been working tirelessly to make the merger work and understandably creating a Sport Championships is something that takes a backseat to that.

Trying to get the tournament done for 2019 would have risked creating something not as good as those of us backing it and working on it want to see, which could result in long-term harm to the concept.

So we're going to focus our efforts on making the Wisconsin State Sport Championships debut in 2020 in Madison, site of the 2020 State Tournament. Getting it right is more important than a delay of one more year for an idea I've been tossing around for almost two decades now.

We also discussed making the Sport Championships be part of the Hall of Fame weekend in January, and perhaps including the Badger Queens in the weekend. However, after I asked for feedback it became clear that there are women who want to bowl the Sport Championships, which they could not do if the Queens were that weekend. 

If this concept were to be embraced by the WIUSBCBA, it could include team on Saturday, the Hall of Fame inductions on Saturday night, and minors on Sunday. Originally, we were looking at the Friday-Saturday of Mother's Day weekend at the end of the State Tournament with a rule that you had to bowl State to be eligible for the Sport Championships.

If it starts State, a reasonable rule would be you had to bowl State the year before, with some accommodation for those who, for example, just moved to Wisconsin or were injured the season before. Or it could be that you had to have an entry in for the State of that year to bowl the Sport Championships.

Please understand, that this is all just ideas I am typing up and represents no formal position of the WISUCBA!

I am willing to put my time, money and energy into this concept. I hope many others will too, and this is something WIUSBCBA finds feasible and can implement.

Jan. 17, 2018:

For a variety of reasons, the effort to create a Wisconsin State Sport Championships will be delayed a year to 2019.

Having a Sport Championships as an addition to our traditional State Tournament has long been a dream of mine, and 11thFrame.com will be among the sponsors if and when it happens.

I have been working with WSBT operator Terry Kulibert and Wisconsin State Bowling Association Executive Director Don Hildebrand on the plans and we mostly are set.

However, Koolie has had some serious health issues that have hampered his efforts to nail down many of the necessary details in time to debut it in May 2018 as we hoped.

In addition, the USBC merger mandate means a new Wisconsin State USBC Bowling Association will be created starting Aug. 1, and it was decided that it was better to work with the new entity that will arise from the mergers of the current WSBA and the state women’s and youth associations. Essentially, we didn’t want to create something that might be a 1-year effort with an uncertain fate.

The major, main meeting for the creation of the new WSBA is Saturday, May 19, in Fond du Lac — a meeting I can't cover in person because I will be driving home from the USBC Open Championships in Syracuse, New York.

When WSBA is formed and running, I will be ready to help present a proposal about the tournament.

The basic outline for a Wisconsin State Sport Championships is team, doubles, singles, all-events and team all-events on a Sport level pattern the Friday night and Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, with everything done in the afternoon, giving everyone time to get home for Mother’s Day. State Tournament traditionally ends the weekend before Mother's Day weekend. 

We hope to keep total entry fees to $100 or a little more, with significant sponsorship support. I have pledged $750.

Teams would be four players so companion teams won’t be necessary for doubles.

Competitors will have to bowl the regular State Tournament to be eligible for the Sport Championships, meaning it can't harm entries for the regular State Tournament. This is another reason for the delay since the 2018 State Tournament already has started and we wanted everyone to know they had to enter to be able to bowl the Sport State.

I apologize for Facebook posts that may have raised people’s hopes too high. Hopefully, those hopes will be realized — just a year later than originally planned.

A Wisconsin State Sport Championships is something that can make our State Tournament not only the  biggest in the country, but also the most prestigious with something we don’t believe any other state offers. 

I have no illusions that my 11thFrame.com group of old-timers is going to be winning a bunch of titles — I'd just like to see this happen as another piece to keep our bowling culture the best in the world.