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MailTribune.com
  • BOWLING

    Caveman Bowl to host PBA 50 event in June

  • The Rogue Valley embraced professional bowling once before. Kevin Croucher is betting that support is still there.
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  • The Rogue Valley embraced professional bowling once before. Kevin Croucher is betting that support is still there.
    Croucher, the owner of Caveman Bowl in Grants Pass, is bringing the Professional Bowlers Association tour to Grants Pass. The PBA 50, previously known as the PBA Senior Tour, will hold a tour stop for five days in June at Caveman Bowl.
    Croucher, also a professional bowler, used his connections with old friends on the tour to help make the event a reality.
    "We talked about it last year a couple of times," said Croucher. "I really wanted to see the event come to town. It worked pretty well when it was in Medford, and Medford and Grants Pass have a bowling society that understands and really embraces the game."
    The PBA Medford Open ran for two years starting in 2002 at Lava Lanes. It was renamed the Earl Anthony Medford Classic, making six more stops — the final one coming in 2009.
    The Grants Pass PBA stop will bring in a number of faces that have dotted the tour over the years, including Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams Jr., and Mark Williams, among others.
    "We've never had these guys in Grants Pass," said Croucher. "It's a great variety of great players. It's all the guys that people have seen on TV over the years."
    Prior to the PBA 50 event, the Grants Pass Country Club will host a charity Pro-Am golf tournament.
    "Not only do you get to golf with these players, but they're very good golfers," said Croucher. "I think that throws a different twist because people get to see them out of their normal environment. They get to see that these guys are pretty good athletes."
    Longtime PBA competitor and Medford resident Marshall Holman will not compete in the PBA 50 event but will participate in the Pro-Am.
    "I'm really looking forward to seeing my old friends," said Holman, who spent 20-plus years on tour before stepping away from full-time competition in 1996. "It's great to have back. It'll be a lot of fun for me and a lot of fun for the Rogue Valley."
    Holman is a member of the PBA Hall of Fame and Oregon Sports and Medford Halls of Fame. He entered the broadcast booth following his last PBA victory in 1996.
    He believes Croucher and the PBA 50 competitors will put on a great show.
    "I know Kevin will put on a great event," Holman said. "When the pros were here at Lava Lanes it was really supported by the community. I'm looking forward to having professional bowling back in the area."
    Money to support the PBA tour stop is around $15,000, with another few thousand added in related costs. In all, Croucher expects to have nearly 90 professional players vying for the first-place prize of about $7,500.
    "We have to have enough power for the big PBA trucks, power to set up the flat screen TVs "¦ there's a lot that goes into getting this thing up and running," said Croucher. "We have to rent a trailer because we'll have 90-plus pros that will have about 10 bowling balls apiece."
    Help won't be an issue, though, Croucher said.
    "We have plenty of volunteers," he said. "The city of Grants Pass has been very supportive and is absolutely on board with what we're doing. And we have the Grants Pass Women's Bowling Association and Men's Association helping out. We have a lot of help."
    The goal, said Croucher, is to put on a good show and hopefully make the Grants Pass stop a regular event.
    "It's a lot of work and there's still a lot of work to be done," said Croucher, "but I think it's going to work out well. We're trying to look at this as the first annual one. It would be great to do it each year.
    "It's something that everybody should like. We have a tremendous amount of bowlers here and in Medford. It's just a great thing for the local economy and for the community."
    Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 541-776-4483, or email kgoff@mailtribune.com. Find him online at www.twitter.com/kevingoff76
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