By John bassetti
Eight current PBA Tour players are due to compete in the third PBA Hubbard Open at Bell-Wick Bowl this weekend.
Ryan Ciminelli, Jack Jurek, Mike Machuga (Erie), Eugene McCune, Rhino Page, Ryan Shafer, Brett Spangler and John Szczerbinski are those among an entry list of 102 as of Tuesday afternoon.
The tournament — the PBA Hubbard Central/East Open presented by DV8, but also presented locally by the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau — begins Saturday when professional and amateur bowlers from the PBA Central and East Regions get down to business in pursuit of a projected first-place prize of $2,500.
Today from 6-8 p.m. at the Quaker Steak and Lube in Sharon, a meet-and-greet will take place with defending champion Rhino Page, 2011 champion Ciminelli and Shafer.
On Friday, a two-hour practice session starts at 2 p.m. followed by a high school/youth Pro-Am at 5:30 and later by an adult/junior Pro-Am event.
Jim Bryant, a Hubbard Open co-director with Bell-Wick proprietor Francis Zitnik, was very pleased with the early entries figure.
“At this time last year, we had around 80,” Bryant said Tuesday evening. “We’re already at 102, so we’re getting bigger. We’ll probably get close to 115-120 — that’s my best guess — which would put us in the top 5 for regionals in the country.”
Although a PBA event could take up to 180 bowlers, size of the house is a factor, too.
“I’ve never seen a PBA tournament with 180,” said Bryant, who was in a senior over-under doubles event in Cuyahoga Falls in January when the field was full at 96.
One woman is entered: Rocio Restrepo, a regional member who is out of college.
Several of the bowlers have regional staff status, meaning that they have contracts with a company to use that company’s equipment.
Ciminelli is on the DV8 staff.
“The purpose of this three-day event for a third year is to not only showcase some of our local bowling talent and create awareness for our sport,” Bryan said, “but also benefit the Liberty and Hubbard high school bowling teams.”
Trumbull Tourism Bureau Executive Director, Stephanie Sferra has been assisting organizers with the Hubbard Open.
“We jumped at the chance to help,” Sferra said of being contacted by Bryant. “It provides us the perfect opportunity to not only promote something good that’s going on in Trumbull County but it allows us to personally showcase our area to hundreds of out-of-town visitors coming for this competitive event. The visitors, bowlers, high school teams and our community will all benefit from this tournament. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Saturday’s PBA Regional qualifying times are 9 a.m. for Squad A an d 3 p.m. for Squad B. Sunday’s championship round of the top 16 commences Sunday morning at 10.
Also, 12 area high school bowlers will compete for two spots in the national finals of the Teen Masters in Florida.