June 15th, 2013 | Published in Business
2013 WILL MAKE 33 YEARS. A third of a century. Over three-fifths of Dave Husted’s life. The Dave Husted Invitational is the longest running of any PBA regional tournament or any PBA tournament of any kind at a single site.
In 1980, Husted was only a couple years into his PBA career. The growing PBA had decided to split the Western Region and form a Northwest Region, and was looking for tournament hosts. Both Dave and his father, Champ, jumped at the chance. The “Milwaukie Bowl Regional” started in 1981. At some point, the name changed to “Milwaukie Bowl Invitational.”
Husted smiles and notes, “It hasn’t ever really been an invitational; we never limited the entries based on a point list.” The tournament has borne his name since Husted “sort of retired from the tour.” He isn’t sure whether it was Northwest Region Manager Gary Mage or his dad who changed the name. “Knowing my dad, it was probably my dad.”
For bowlers starting a pro career, the PBA’s regional program is a training ground. Husted says that’s a big reason for conducting the tournament.
“I learned how to become a winner on the regional tour,” he says. “Winning is winning. It mostly feels the same way, whether it’s in a regional or national event. Becoming familiar with that feel is a good way to learn to conquer your nerves.”
Husted has bowled most of the tournaments through the years, “winning three or four times and finishing second three or four times” — a typical self-effacing observation. Actually, according to Mage, he has won three plus four times — that’s seven — and the PBA does not have a record of the number of seconds.
Except for three years as a doubles tournament, the format has not changed. There is a qualifying round on Saturday, followed by round-robin match play round on Sunday. Husted says that he does like to try different oil patterns.
Entrants have primarily been regional players, but when Husted was on tour, he recruited quite a few national stars. Marshall Holman used to bowl regularly when he was in his prime, but to everyone’s surprise, never won. Earl Anthony never bowled the tournament, but did take part in the Pro-Am once.
“A few women have bowled,” Husted says. “I don’t think any have cashed — yet. There are a lot of good young women bowling now around here.”
The Pro-Ams have been solid, with 350-400 entries lately. One year, the Pro-Am generated 903 entries in 21 squads at the 16-lane center — starting on the Monday before the Saturday/Sunday tournament. Mostly, the entrants are regulars from all over the area, not just house bowlers.
One year, the promotion included a canned food drive for the community Food Bank. Another year, a portion of the proceeds went to the fight against cystic fibrosis. In the early years of the tournament, there was local television coverage.
The center keeps a little database of the Pro-Am entrants, which is used to promote other tournaments during the year. With the center’s steady, long-term clientele of league bowlers, Husted has found that the Pro-Ams have not increased league participation much — but that’s not why he hosts the event.
“We never thought about not doing it,” he says. “We enjoy it. Customers like it. We like the Pro-Am. On the pro side, they like it.
“It’s good for bowling, period.”
Because of not only the success of the tournament and its historic longevity, but also the selfless motivation behind it, Dave Husted has been named Bowlers Journal International’s 2013 Proprietor of the Year.