San Antonio – On July 15, the United States Bowling Congress cancelled all remaining national events for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Open Championships in Reno, Nevada. The Open Championships – which include four straight months of bowling competition – is the world’s largest participatory sporting event.
With the cancellation some local bowlers will see impressive Championships attendance streaks come to an end. Justin Ledwig, who bowls three to four times weekly, would have been attending his 10th consecutive Nationals.
“I was really excited to go this year, you know, different group of people,” Ledwig said. “But, you know, it is what it is, you know, having to cancel flights, cancel hotel reservations – all of the travel plans got cancelled. So, I mean it was really, really disappointing.”
The Open Championships were initially postponed to the fall before they were ultimately cancelled. The event draws between 45,000 to 75,000 participants and has an estimated economic impact of up to 100 million dollars for the hosting community.
“It’s a little devastating for the industry and for the USBC. A big portion of their income comes from that bowling tournament,” said 1995 Long Island Bowling Hall of Fame inductee and San Antonio native, Phil Cardinale.
Cardinale, who owns Radical Bowling Technologies, has attended 24 Championships – 22 consecutive – and used the trip as a reunion with friends.
“I’m going to miss most not seeing my buddies, we got probably six or eight teams that go – that’s 40 guys that I’m friends with from New York and the one time of year we get together, everybody is at this tournament so it’s disappointing,” he said.
Registration is open for the 2021 Nationals in Las Vegas and both Cardinale and Ledwig are ready to start their streaks from the beginning.
“It stinks that we had to reschedule a year later,” Ledwig said. “It is what it is. So take it with a grain of salt and go.”