100,000 in Reno This Year for Historic Bowling Tournament - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

100,000 in Reno This Year for Historic Bowling Tournament

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About 75,000 bowlers are coming in and out of town this year for their Open Championships. They started back on March 1st and will be competing here all the way to July. Downtown Reno's bowling stadium is in the midst of 125 days of rolling balls and crashing pins. It's like that every day starting at 7am, and they don't take weekends off.

Bowlers and Reno go together like strikes and spares. It's been like that for years, for a reason. U.S. Bowling Congress tournament manager Duane Hagen told us Reno "shows great appreciation for the bowlers, we're always welcome here…we're kind of rock stars here. We're welcome everywhere, but here it's like they recognize the bowlers. They can tell a bowler walking down the street and say, 'Thanks for being here.' It's sort of a come-home feeling."

And Reno's bowling stadium has already been outgrown. They just built 10 new lanes on the ground floor, and there are 44 new lanes at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center for the women's championships. Altogether, 132 lanes are occupied and rolling all the way into July. Hagen told us, "This is the first time in our history we've hosted both the women's and the men's open championships in the same city at the same time."

Maureen Morrison from Canton Massachusetts is just one of the thousands of bowlers here for a shot at 10-pin glory. She told us, "My high for the 9 games was 191." Maureen wasn't happy with her score, but it's no doubt a very high score for Reno. Add the friends and family who come with, and you can imagine the economic impact of 100,000 visitors. The U.S. Bowling Congress estimates these visitors spend $120 million in town, but even that may be modest. Tournament manager Hagen says, "Of course gambling is one thing they like to do. Golf is a big thing, touring some sights, and Tahoe's obviously a nice draw."

Bowler Hickey Murray, visiting from Virginia told us he spends a lot on "the restaurants and the cafes, and the camaraderie is great. Oh yeah, I look forward to coming every year."

This largest bowling tournament in the world brings players from all states and several countries. It will bring a crowd here next year too. Hickey says he'll be here then. So will Maureen, hoping to top that 191 score. The bowling stadium may be looked upon as a white elephant by some, but for folks like Hickey and Maureen, it's a palace…in a very welcoming town.

-written by John Potter

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