Working as Generations Bowling's tournament director is a perfect fit.
By PAUL TRGOVAC
BOARDMAN -- When Steve Sanders was looking for someone to serve as tournament director for the Generations Bowlers Tour, he called on a person he was familiar with.
Frank Ellenberg, a former PBA pro with two national titles, had worked with Sanders on the Mini-Eliminator events which were run by Sanders' Pinnacle Events company.
"I had worked with Steve for 20 years and this is a perfect fit," said Ellenberg. "The players have been bothering him for the last three years to get a tour and he decided to do this. With my daughter now in college she doesn't need me at home anymore, so I sold my vending business and came on out."
Ellenberg also served on the PBA Tournament Committee for 15 years.
"I served on the Tournament Committee and also on the Executive Board so we basically know what the guys want," said Ellenberg. "We are now just waiting for them to show up. It's great to be out here with the guys I bowled with years ago, and it is a perfect fit for me."
The format of the GBT tour is very similar to what was bowled on the PBA when these players were the tour.
"I guess you would call this format old school. It is what I grew up with and I know. In the last few years the PBA has gone to the 'elimination' match play formula. The guys bowling here right now told us that this is what they wanted. In this format the cream comes to the top, in that if you give the best players enough games they usually come out on top.
"We had a meeting with the players last week and they voted hands down that they wanted this type of format."
The GBT has seen a number of players bowl for one or two events but not full-time.
Work around schedules
"We found that we have about 40 to 60 guys who will bowl two-thirds or more of the events but we didn't realize how many of the guys still work," said Ellenberg. "These guys will take their vacation time to bowl one or two events so we will have to pick and choose the areas we go to so that we can get a big local draw of bowlers who will take off for the event."
Ellenberg also talked about the GBT running a senior tour.
"We as a staff are looking at this [Fall Tour] as our spring training. We are brand new, obviously we have some bugs to work out," said Ellenberg. "We are taking the baby steps first, and we have made a couple of mistakes. We could have done some things different but the guys like the format. We need to get the houses more involved with us on the Pro-Ams. We are working each week to rectify our mistakes."
Membership on rise
As for the growth of the GBT Ellenberg said, "Each week we see 10 or 15 new faces, so that means our membership is growing. By the end of the year we might have 400 to 500 members and as our membership grows so will the participation in our events."
Ellenberg also praised the local tournament.
"Bob Smith and his entire staff at Camelot have done such a great job helping us out. It is just like a little small family here.
"We are very happy with the event and the area. The crowds have been passionate, with people who have been happy to come out and see some of the legends of the game from 15 and 20 years ago."