BATON ROUGE, LA – When it comes to tournaments, it is hard to find one that continues to last for decades on end.
I’m not talking about your traditional city, state, regional or national event. I’m talking about the local house event or the event that a group may put on at the local center.
But when it comes to the BR Singles event which has its March running this coming weekend at Circle Bowl, one has to say it is a long-standing keeper of an event.
It is believed that when the tournament runs its three events in March, August and December, the tournament will be in its 46th year according to some documentation we have been told about.
While the number of tournaments has varied, with up to two in some years at the old Metro Bowl in addition to two at Circle Bowl, before it became a regular three-time a year event at Circle, there are some fascinating aspects about this tournament.
One is there is usually no way to predict what the finalists will look like. They have been young, old, men, women, high average and/or high handicap. That has made for some interesting final matches and usually some interesting discussion while the finals are taking place.
Another thing is the money. This tournament has paid well and while it is very hard to calculate, and this may be an under estimate, but the actual BR Singles, which for many years was sponsored by Baskin-Robbins, has to have paid out something on the order of three-quarters of a million dollars. Maybe it’s more than that in overall prize money. It’s hard to say what the entry fees and prize funds were worth back in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
But it’s a good event and squads seem to fill a lot earlier and quick than they used to. The first shift of qualifying bowls Saturday at 10 a.m. with the top 96 bowling in the semifinals on Sunday morning with the 32-player finals to follow. The estimated prize fund for this March event is over $18,000.
Another event that has drawn well of late is the Friday night sweeper for the BR Singles that will bowl at 7 p.m. This is a scratch event with four games across eight lanes that could pay around $500 for first.
I don’t know if the rankings will be updated later Tuesday by the LHSAA with the state basketball going on, but we are in the final couple of weeks before the field of 32 boys/coed teams and 16 girls’ teams will be announced for the one championship in boys and girls, no split playoffs.
As of Feb. 27, Central of Baton Rouge, St. Paul’s, Brother Martin and Central Lafourche are all undefeated and in the first four spots in the power rankings in the Boys/Coed Division.
Dutchtown is sixth, Jesuit seventh, Catholic High of Baton Rouge ninth and East Ascension tenth.
In girls play, five undefeated teams lead the power rankings led by Archbishop Chapelle, Parkway of Bossier City, Central, South Terrebonne and Holden. East Ascension is sixth with Academy of Our Lady seventh with two losses ahead of undefeated and No. 8 Lafayette High.
Four-time champ Denham Springs is 15 in the qualifying field with Albany just behind No. 16 Holy Savior Menard for the final qualifying spot.
He’s almost 55
I’m been watching all these younger guys and their fancy rev rates and ability to shred racks taking charge of the PBA on the Fox coverage this year and then the last two weeks, here comes 54-year-old, soon to be 55, Norm Duke who wins his 39th and 40th professional titles in back-to-back weekend. Just amazing.
Only Walter Ray Williams (47) and the late Earl Anthony (43) have more. Plus Duke has beaten Jason Belmonte and Anthony Simonsen the last two weeks who are two of the best right now. My friend Jeff Richgels of 11thFrame.com suggested that Duke could win Player of the Year if he continues doing this well and right now it is hard not to agree with him.
The World Bowling Tour Finals, taped in January, will air Sunday on FS1 at 9 p.m. CT before the World Series of Bowling in Detroit leads to five consecutive nights of prime time bowling on FS1, March 18-22.