Legends, amateurs to battle for 80,000 in prize money
The new Generations Bowling Tour will make a stop in Boardman on Oct. 27.
By JOHN BASSETTI
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
BOARDMAN -- If you haven't had enough of the Mike Tyson build-up and how he's trying to reinvent himself, there's another new movement just around the corner.
Instead of the Chevrolet Centre, however, this is coming to Camelot Lanes.
Thursday afternoon at Camelot, professional bowler David Ozio gave a preview of what he's promoting.
It's the Generations Bowling Tour -- a 35-city tournament for bowlers 50 years and older. Some like Ozio -- a 13-time champion, including 11 PBA nationals -- and some like yourself, an amateur.
At Camelot from Oct. 27 to Nov. 1, both legends and local bowlers will compete for 80,000.
"This is a brand-new senior bowling tour," said GBT media director Jim Goodwin. "We're in the middle of an eight-tournament fall swing now."
The tour, the brainchild of founder and president Steve Sanders, kicked off Sept. 29 in Bay City, Mich. Prior to Camelot, the GBT is at Southwyck Lanes in Toledo this week for one of its five major events. Although there is no regular national TV coverage for GBT, the finals at Southwyck will be aired in Toledo.
Goodwin said that Camelot proprietor Bob Smith has embraced the GBT.
"He's taking a chance on the new guy. What we're bringing to Bob and his customers is some of the greatest bowlers in the history of our sport. These are the guys who built the game."
Good for area
Smith said he was approached by the Generations tour.
"There wasn't any doubt because I thought this was a fabulous thing for Northeastern Ohio and Boardman," he said. "We'd love to have pro bowlers and their families and others interested in bowling come to Boardman and generate some good income for our township."
The laid-back Ozio, a PBA Hall of Famer, said Camelot is helping raise the level of bowling.
"The players on the tour now -- Mark Roth, Roger Bowker, Bob Chamberlain, Dave Davis, Pete Couture and myself, are some of the legendary names that have created the sport of bowling over the last 25 years," Ozio said. "Nowadays, the PBA Tour focuses on the younger crowd and it kind of neglects the older generation, who really started this whole thing. When you come out next week and watch, you'll be marveled, not only at the ability, but how good a shape the bowlers are in and how many games they can bowl and how versatile they are at playing different lane conditions."
The only difference in senior pros, Ozio said, is that they're a little bit older and wiser.
The 52-year-old Ozio said he's looking forward to bowling at Camelot because of its short ball returns.
"No matter what conditions they put up, I'll be able to stand in front of the ball return and play anywhere on the lane I want," he said. "I think that's a bonus. We don't have that luxury every week."
Ozio said that Sanders is attempting to make the GBT more fan-friendly.
"He's doing things the PBA and other entities never did," he said. "He's doing things at pro-ams that involve interaction between patrons and pros like never before. We bowlers are trying to get behind him to make sure those things happens. Once this grows upward and outward, I think we're going to have something that is monumental down the road. Our goal is to have national exposure on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. There's still 3 million diehard bowling fans. Those are people we can appeal to and let's hope we grow more spectators."