The BR Tournament is one of the longest running tournaments in the South if not the longest one. Many tournaments have come and gone but this one has been around for nearly 50 years.
It began in 1973 when Circle Bowl manager John Snee and his friend, Bob Chatelain who owned a Baskin Robbins franchise came up with the unique format for the tournament which is still used today. Circle Bowl hosted the Baskin Robbins Singles Tournament and Bob was the sponsor providing a plaque to the winner and ice cream treats during the finals. After several tournaments the high game prize on each squad was added and the winners received $25.00 in ice cream certificates.
The tournament grew in popularity and a December event was added but we are unsure of the year. In 1989 the tournament was held five times. In March it was held at Plank Bowl (BR), in May it was held at Acadiana Lanes in Lafayette, July at Circle Bowl, September in LaPlace and back to Circle in December. The following year in 1990, the tournament returned to three times per year. In 1996, a September tournament was added and making the tournament four times a year through 2005. Since 2006, the tournament has been held three times a year, March, July and December. However, in 2015 the tournament changed its July tournament to its current date, the second weekend of August.
In July, 2000 the tournament was threatened with legal action for using Baskin Robbins in the tournament name. After much discussion it was decided the tournament would be renamed to the BR Tournament because after all it was held in Baton Rouge and it would acknowledge the original name.
At the December 2019 tournament we celebrated a milestone of 100 tournaments since we started keeping computerized records. Bowlers received a commemorative bag tag and money was added to the prize fund. There were random drawings for $100 on each squad and the 64 bowlers who did not make the semifinals were paid $100 each.
Looking back, the first tournament was held in July, 1973. Due to its popularity, a second tournament was added for December prior to 1989. Sadly, we are not exactly sure of the year when we added the third tournament in March. At that time, all records were kept manually and unfortunately, they are not available to us. Eventually when computers became more available by 1989 the records were kept in a Lotus spreadsheet format. However, the 1989 records are unavailable due to a corrupt file.
We would love to hear from you if you have any information to help us fill in the information for those missing years.