Bell-Wick to host PBA Hubbard Open
By John Bassetti
Bell-Wick Bowl will be the site of a tournament for a seventh straight weekend when the PBA Hubbard Open presented by the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau takes place Friday-Sunday.
Starting with the Youngstown-Salem Women’s USBC-WBA cancer benefit tournament, followed by two weekends of the Youngstown city men’s tournament and another three weekends of the Ohio state Pepsi Youth Bowling Scholarship Tournament, Bell-Wick Bowl has been busy.
The Professional Bowlers Association event with both Central and East region identity returns for a fourth straight year with approximately 100 pros scheduled.
The event kicks off on Friday with a practice session for the pros from 1-3 p.m., followed by pro-ams at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Tournament qualifying starts on Saturday morning at 9, with another squad hitting the lanes at 3. During the separate squads, bowlers throw eight games before total pins determine the top 16.
On Sunday, the top 16 from qualifying return for 12 games of “round robin” to set up a five-man stepladder finish to determine the winner. Past champions were Ryan Ciminelli (2011), Rhino Page (2012) and Joe Ciccone (2013).
Hubbard Open co-hosts are organizer Jim Bryant and Bell-Wick proprietor Francis Zitnik.
Touring pros expected so far are Ryan Shafer, Eugene McCune and E.J. Tackett.
Bryant said that the round-robin format is new to the event.
“The format for the finals on Sunday has been change,” said Bryant, a former Liberty High School bowling team coach, who was instrumental in bringing the Hubbard Open to the area.
He explained that the top 16 will bowl one game each against 12 different opponents before the final five bowlers are decided. Those five are seeded before using a step-ladder system: No. 5 meeting No. 4; the winner bowling No. 3 and that survivor paired against No. 2 until two are left standing to battle for the crown.
The round-robin format was installed to increase a bowler’s chance to stay alive.
“Before, those making the top 16 could then lose after the first three games,” said Bryant. “Now, they have 12 games to make their best case, especially if they have a slow start.”
For the first time, the Hubbard Open will be streamed on PBA.com’s online video channel: XtraFrame.
Craig Elliott of MichiganBowler.tv will be manning the equipment, which comprises a Newtek Tricaster, video cameras, tripods, lots of cables, sound mixer, microphones and more to put on a professional live steam event.
The Hubbard Open will be Elliott’s second PBA event. He did last year’s IGrind Regional in Tinley Park, Ohio, which had the biggest first-place prize in PBA regional history: $15,000 won by Ronnie Russell.
This will, however, be Craig’s first broadcast through the PBA’s Xtra Frame Online bowling channel.
“I have done over 60 streams since starting MichiganBowler.tv last May,” Elliott said of his business. “They range from local handicap events to PBA regionals with some of the best scratch events in the Midwest scattered in between.”
Craig said he’ll also be streaming the Boom Apparel Intercollegiate Club Championships in Indianapolis the first weekend of April.
“Live streaming is the future of bowling,” he said.