Wichita’s bowling heritage, its bowling centers and a hefty financial package helped convince the United States Bowling Congress that Wichita should host the 2019 United States Bowling Congress women’s tournament.
The tournament, the 100th for the women, will run from April to June 2019. It will be held at Northrock Lanes, 3232 N. Rock, and Thunderbird Bowl, 2440 S. Oliver.
City officials made the announcement Wednesday and said they actively campaigned to get the tournament for the past six months, said Susie Berglund Santo, Go Wichita president and CEO. She said the three-month event will attract more than 30,000 bowlers from across the United States and have an economic impact of $14 million.
“We are thrilled and honored the USBC has chosen Wichita for this great event,” Berglund Santo said.
“We will roll out the red carpet and welcome them to this incredible community and showcase all the wonderful things Wichita has to offer.”
Winning the bid was a joint effort by the city of Wichita, Go Wichita, Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission and the Great Plains USBC Association, according to Wichita Vice Mayor Janet Miller. A group of Wichita officials traveled to Arlington, Texas, last month to bid on tournaments in 2017 and 2019. The 2017 tournament will be held in Baton Rouge, La.
“Although not everyone is a bowler, Wichita is a bowling community,” Miller said. “Our citizens come out and support bowling activities and certainly they will this tournament championship.”
The city was host to the 2004 Women’s International Bowling Congress tournament. The WIBC became part of the USBC the next year.
In large part because of the city’s bowling reputation and the success of the 2004 tournament, Wichita was awarded the 2011 men’s tournament. But the tournament eventually relocated to Reno, Nev., after a contract dispute in 2007 between Wichita and USBC officials.
“We put that behind us,” said Brian Lewis, managing director of tournaments for the USBC. “We are confident of reaching contract terms with Wichita. We already had a letter of agreement with them in time for this announcement. So I think we will go through the contracting phase, and I expect everything to go well.
“There are no lingering concerns from 2011.”
Lewis said Wichita presented a financial package that exceeded the $650,000 minimum required by the USBC. Neither Lewis or Go Wichita would detail what the financial package included.
“When we looked at the comprehensive package, Wichita had a great presentation in terms of bowling centers,” Lewis said.
“We have a history with Wichita. … We are comfortable and confident we made the right choice.”
Marci Williams is the director and past president of the Great Plains USBC Association. Her voice broke Wednesday as she described why she was excited to have the women’s centennial tournament in Wichita.
“To a bowler like me, it is amazing that my hometown is going to host the 100th anniversary tournament,” Williams said.
“In the bowling world, and for women, this is huge. We should be so proud that they have entrusted this particular tournament to us.”