You can almost set your calendar by it. When the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships start up each March, Jim Schroeder will be there.
The 85-year-old USBC Hall of Famer from the Town of Tonawanda made the trip to El Paso, Texas, this week to do what he does each year – hand out awards to the winners of the Special Olympics Unified Tournament at the El Paso Convention Center.
The two days of Special Olympics competition traditionally take place just before Saturday’s opening of the national tournament.
Schroeder has been the international director of Special Olympics bowling since its inception.
“These athletes work so hard and are so happy and excited to be here,” Schroeder said. “It’s been very rewarding, and I hope to continue to help as long as I can. The friendships and kindness shared in the past 25 years have been very gratifying.”
Later on, Schroeder will take off his director’s hat and put on his bowling shoes and make his 67th appearance in the Open Championships. Schroeder will add to his all-time pinfall in the national tournament. He is third on the all-time list with a pinfall total of 116,418. The late Joe Norris leads with 123,770 pins over 71 tournaments. Bill Lillard Sr. has 122,918 in 67 appearances.
Schroeder, a charter member of the Pro Bowlers Association, was the Classic Singles champion in the 1976 ABC (as the USBC Open was formerly known) and the runner-up in Classic All-Events in 1969.
The Open officially gets underway on Saturday and will run until July 12. More than 7,000 five-player teams will compete for $5 million in prize money. The venue constructed inside the El Paso Convention Center includes 52 lanes for competition and 10 lanes for practice sessions and the Bowlers Journal Championships presented by the USBC, a side event.
The USBC Women’s Championships will kick off in Reno, Nev., on April 10 and run until June 29.
State tourney here in April
There will be the usual Buffalo participation in El Paso, but closer to home will be the 91st New York State Open Championships at AMF Airport Lanes. The competition dates will be April 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 and May 1-3.
Entry is still open although the 3 p.m. team squad on opening day already is full.
A revised entry form can be found online on the tournaments page of bowlny.com. Entry is $35 per person, per event.
Opening day, April 11, will be devoted to team competition with squads at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Doubles and singles will start off with squads on Sunday, April 12, at 9 a.m., 1 p.m and 5 p.m.
The Greater Buffalo USBC Association is assisting in running the event, which originally was scheduled for AMF Thruway Lanes.
• The Interstate Teachers Bowling Association will hold its 66th annual bowling tournament on March 21 and 22 at Classic Lanes in Kenmore. Fran Bax is chairman and director of the event, which will feature handicap bowling in team, doubles and singles and six-game combine.
Team squads will be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on March 21. Singles and doubles squads will bowl at the same time on March 22. Entry fee is $20 per person per event.
At least one person on the entry form must be a current or retired employee of an educational institution, or hold an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral college degree in education. The event is open to men and women.
• Brad Angelo of Lockport was 27th with a 2,549 total for 12 games after qualifying for the Kingdom of Bahrain International Open in Manama, Bahrain.
Angelo advanced through the first elimination round with 1,335 for six games (222.5 average), but was eliminated from the next stage on Friday when his 1,229 (204.9) just missed the cut to Stage 4. Top qualifier was former Wichita State star Tannya Roumimper of Indonesia, who won the H.H. Emir Cup in Qatar last week. With a handicap of seven pins per game, she was 62 pins in front of 2014 PBA Rookie of the Year Marshall Kent of Yakima, Wash.
• Angela Gabriele and Kyle Behr teamed up to win the 49th Tonawandas USBC Doubles tournament at Manor Lanes with a 1,354 total. Gabriele led the team with 698. The Tonawandas Youth Singles will be March 29 at Classic Lanes.