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A 15-person delegation will fly to Reno, Nev., next month to try to bring the American Bowling Congress' six-month-long national tournament to Niagara Falls in 2006.

Led by Mayor Irene J. Elia and officials of the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, the group will present the city's bid to the bowling organization's selection committee on March 8, said Joe Holody, the bureau's vice president of convention sales.

"We're going to show them the support that the American Bowling Congress has in the local community," Holody said. Besides the officials and local business representatives attending the presentation, the committee can also consider a stack of supportive letters from officials in Niagara Falls, Ont., as well as Niagara Falls, N.Y., he said.

The delegation will make a point of how close the convention center is to Casino Niagara in Niagara Falls, Ont., because American Bowling Congress demographics show that at least 80 percent of the bowlers also enjoy casino gaming, Holody said.

Niagara Falls has hosted the event twice before, in 1983 and 1987. This time, it's competing against Albuquerque, N.M.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Syracuse; and Wichita, Kan., Holody said.

If accepted, the bid would cost Niagara Falls about $1.7 million to $2 million, Holody said. That includes the cash payment to the American Bowling Congress, the cost of providing the convention center, storing bowling equipment after the 2005 convention, and other related expenses.

The money would come from a temporary 2 percent increase in the city's bed tax, which will be enacted if the city wins the bid, Holody said.

In return, the convention could generate an economic impact estimated at $48 million or more, Holody said. About 50,000 delegates would come to Niagara Falls from January to June, much of which is during a lull in the regular tourist season.

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