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ARLINGTON, Texas – Julian Salinas of Richmond, Texas, and Brooklyn Gagnon of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, have been selected by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee as the 2021 United States Bowling Congress Youth Ambassadors of the Year.

The annual award recognizes one female and one male USBC Youth bowler for exemplary academic accomplishments, community involvement and contributions to the sport of bowling outside of league or tournament play.

Winners are chosen based on submitted applications, and each will receive a $1,500 scholarship.

Gagnon, 18, is a senior at Lincoln High School, where she maintains a 3.9 GPA, challenging herself academically with a variety of accelerated and Advanced Placement classes and a focus on mathematics. She is a member of the National Math Honor Society and intends to build upon her classroom skills at Wichita State University, majoring in mathematics/statistics, with a minor in accounting.

“This is a very prestigious award, and I was super excited to be chosen, because it shows that all the work is being recognized, not only in Sioux Falls, but nationally, and that really means a lot,” said Gagnon, who also will bowl collegiately for Wichita State. “Heading into college and into the next stage of my career, this definitely will be a boost for my confidence. I hope to continue to learn and potentially get my foot in the door with the IBC Youth Committee. It would be an honor to serve at the highest level.”

Gagnon currently serves as a youth director on the Sioux Falls Regional USBC Board of Directors, helping implement ideas for growing and promoting youth bowling in the area.

As part of the Programs Committee, she is responsible for getting the word out about the organization’s upcoming events. Her service includes being part of the Audit/Finance, Youth and Publicity Committees.

In 2019, Gagnon put all her skills to use in the facilitation of the Next Big Thing Scholarship Tournament, an event that drew more than 50 youth bowlers from multiple states to Sioux Falls and awarded more than $5,000 in scholarship money.

Along with rallying her fellow youth bowlers to join her on the lanes and at events, or offering tips as a mentor to youth bowlers under 12, Gagnon has been able to help the local community in many ways through the Bowling Volunteer Group. Her volunteering efforts include working with Feeding South Dakota, Rake the Town, the Sioux Falls Marathon, Project Warm Up and the Serve & Learn Student Association.

On the lanes, she was named South Dakota Bowler of the Year in 2018 and 2019. She has a high game of 300 and a high series of 763 and has challenged herself by seeking out top-tier youth events, including local and state scholarship tournaments, the Chicago-area’s Elite Youth Tour and Storm Youth Championships.

Gagnon recently helped Lincoln High School to its second girls state bowling championship, a feat she also accomplished twice as a member of the bowling team at Roosevelt High School. She also has been named the 2021 South Dakota Star of Tomorrow.

In the future, Gagnon hopes to build on all the activities and passions that helped her become a 2021 USBC Youth Ambassador of the Year.

“One of my top goals is to be on the PWBA Tour one day, and I know bowling at Wichita State will help with that,” Gagnon said. “I also take incredible pride in my schoolwork, and I love numbers, so I hope that allows me to someday work in banking. No matter what, I’ll always love bowling and promoting the sport. I plan to continue serving on the local board, and hopefully at the national level, where I can continue to learn and contribute.”

Salinas, also 18, is a senior at Churchill Fulshear High School and a 2020 inductee into the National Honor Society. He has a 4.1892 GPA and is ranked 87th in his class of 363 students.

His academic excellence and bowling goals led him to the Savannah College of Art & Design, where he’ll bowl collegiately and major in user experience (UX) design, which focuses on how people interact with products and the quality of their experience with those products.

“I was honored just to be nominated for this award,” Salinas said. “To find out the news, there was a lot of excitement and some validation in seeing all of the hard work starting to pay off.”

Salinas also is a skilled artist and musician, often using his skills or creations to help raise money at fundraisers or charity events.

For the last few years, his artwork has been auctioned off to raise money during a variety of local and regional bowling events, including the annual Professional Bowlers Association/Professional Women’s Bowling Association Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Tournament in Houston.

“Especially with school, I’ve always tried to make each thing I do my top priority,” Salinas said. “I also love being able to give back and use my skills, like art and music, to help others or make a difference in my community. And, I enjoy any opportunity I get to promote the sport, whether it be at school, or in general, to help let people know all the great things that can come from bowling.”

Salinas has found continued success on the lanes, as well, collecting wins at a variety of local, regional and state events and finding the spotlight on the national stage with a Teen Masters victory in 2019 and a top-four finish in the U15 division at the Junior Gold Championships in 2018.

He has a high game of 300 and has multiple USBC-certified 800 series to his credit, but Salinas’ impact in the bowling community also translates beyond the scoreboard. He also spends time coaching younger bowlers and serves as a league officer.

Whether it’s on the lanes or off, Salinas loves supporting the sport and his fellow bowlers. That includes throwing strikes or setting up events, so others can have a memorable tournament experience.

“I’ve always loved the sport and all the things about it, even if I’m at an event, and I’m not the one bowling,” Salinas said. “I just love being in the environment and being involved in every way possible.”

Gagnon and Salinas will be recognized in April during the virtual 2021 USBC Convention.

This year’s award ceremony, which includes a variety of awards for youth and adult bowlers, will take place virtually April 28 from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Eastern.

A similar presentation will be held at the same time April 27 for award winners from 2020. The 2020 Convention was canceled due to COVID-19.

Visit BOWL.com/ScholarshipsAwards to learn more about scholarship opportunities for youth bowlers.

ARLINGTON, Texas – The United States Bowling Congress has canceled all remaining national events for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“These decisions are tough on everyone, but mostly our players, athletes and members,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. “USBC’s mission is to serve our bowlers, and canceling the most significant events in the sport certainly is heartbreaking for all involved. Nevertheless, USBC has a responsibility to consider the health of its members and their communities. Given the increasing spread of COVID-19 in several states, along with constantly changing guidelines and travel restrictions, we sadly do not see a responsible way to conduct national events in 2020.”

This cancellation includes the previously postponed USBC Open Championships, USBC Women’s Championships, USBC Masters, USBC Senior Masters, USBC Senior Queens and Super Senior Classic.

The 2020-2021 USBC Collegiate season will be postponed until January 2021 and be conducted as a second-semester sport. The dates for the Intercollegiate Team and Singles Championships will be determined at a later time, with plans to hold them in the late spring or early summer. 

USA Bowling events and in-person coaching seminars for 2020 also have been postponed to 2021.

USBC previously announced the cancellation of the 2020 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour season, with a possibility of conducting events in the fall and winter months. In light of current conditions, plans for a PWBA event in late 2020 now are indefinitely on hold. 

USBC plans to resume a traditional schedule of events in January 2021, starting with USBC Team USA Trials, as conditions allow.

“While USBC national events are canceled, bowling certainly is not shut down for 2020,” Murphy said. “USBC is confident competitive bowling can take place locally, and we are seeing many proprietors taking proactive steps to responsibly host leagues in accordance with local guidelines. Those steps will help leagues begin and tournaments to take place during the rest of the summer and into the fall. Our hope is that conditions improve to allow national events again in 2021.”

Teams registered for the 2020 Open and Women’s Championships may request to have their payments rolled forward for the 2021 tournaments, or they can request full refunds. 

Individuals who have submitted entries for any USBC short-duration event (Masters, Senior Masters, Senior Queens, Super Senior Classic) will be refunded in the upcoming weeks.

ARLINGTON, Texas – The United States Bowling Congress Open Championships will head to Las Vegas in 2022 with the South Point Bowling Plaza serving as the host venue.

The event previously was scheduled to be conducted in a newly built facility in Houston but because of business interruptions caused by COVID-19, the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and USBC mutually agreed it is not feasible for Houston to host the event in 2022.

The Sports Authority planned to have a new building in a dynamic North Houston setting completed by January 2022. Plans had been approved and was on schedule until the economic disruption from the pandemic made the project timeline unworkable.

“The USBC is an incredible partner and we are disappointed that we will not be able to host this prestigious event,’’ said Sports Authority CEO Janis Burke. “Our organizations put in years of planning on the building and event, but we hope to have a chance to host the USBC Open Championships in the future.’’

USBC and HCHSA plan to work toward a new agreement for Houston to host the Open Championships in the future. Currently, the next available date is 2028.

“We continue to believe Houston is an ideal city for the Open Championships and the partnership with the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority has been strong through these unexpected challenges,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. “Thankfully, South Point in Las Vegas stepped up to provide their amazing venue for 2022, once again showing tremendous support for our tournament bowlers.”  

With the schedule change, the Open Championships will be conducted at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas in 2021 and 2022. The event is the world’s largest participatory event, attracting over 50,000 bowlers who compete over a four-month period.

Visit BOWL.com/OpenChamp for more information on the Open Championships.

 
ARLINGTON, Texas – A survey of United States Bowling Congress members conducted in late May found an overwhelming majority of bowlers were planning to bowl in a fall league when the 2020-2021 season starts in August.

USBC asked its members to respond to a one-question survey that asked: Assuming local government allows your bowling center to open and operate leagues, do you plan on bowling in leagues(s) this fall?

Respondents were asked to select from three possible answers: Yes, No or Unsure.

USBC received more than 47,000 responses in the first week, with 75% answering “Yes” and just 5% responding “No” as to whether they planned to bowl in a fall league.

With 20% of members responding as “Unsure”, the timing of the survey in late May could have been a factor. The survey was sent prior to the opening of bowling centers in many states, and respondents likely were not aware of any restrictions and how their center planned to address a return to bowling.

When the 20% responding “Unsure”, plus those who answered “No”, were directed to a follow-up question asking the reason, an overwhelming majority (80%) answered it was because of health and safety concerns.

The survey was distributed to USBC members through email, the USBC Facebook page, a pop-up on the BOWL.com homepage and in the weekly BowlTV newsletter. More than 47,000 answered in response to the email, while the remaining distribution channels delivered a combined 525 responses.

Statistically, USBC has a 99% confidence level, with less than a 1% margin of error, of the survey results and that it is a relevant and accurate representation of the entire USBC membership.

The survey also showed responses were slightly different depending on age and gender, as 78% of those age 59 or younger plan to bowl in a fall league, and men (77%) were four percent more likely to respond “Yes” to bowling this fall compared with women (73%).

Visit BOWL.com/USBCSurveys for the full results of the survey and to see a state-by-state breakdown.

 
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