Site of SoCal Bowling Awards Banquets to Be Razed

by Bob Johnson 0

Among the most popular Bowlers Journal features in recent years have been the “travel” pieces that have transported readers to historic and/or interesting bowling venues in Detroit, Milwaukee, Las Vegas and along historic Route 66. The next travel feature is scheduled for the May issue.

Unfortunately, putting together such a piece on Southern California is becoming increasingly difficult because so many history-steeped centers have been bulldozed to make room for commercial and residential developments on the ever-more-expensive property.

Now, Bowlers Journal has learned that another historic “bowling” site in the Southland has been designated for redevelopment. According to the L.A. Curbed website, the Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center will soon give way to a nearly-100,000-square-foot mixed use development to include retail stores, restaurants and a health club.

For many years during the 1970s and ’80s, the Sportsmen’s Lodge Events Center was home to the annual All-Star Awards Banquet staged by the Southern California Bowling Writers Association. At that banquet, the Southern California All-Star Teams and Bowlers of the Year for men, women and youth bowlers were announced, bowlers and contributors were inducted into the Southern California Bowling Hall of Fame, and industry leaders were honored.

It was considered the bowling social event of the year in the Southland, and attendance regularly topped 500.

But soon, the facility that hosted so many of those banquets and helped create so many memories for bowlers and bowling center owners and employees will be but a memory — just like dozens and dozens of Southland bowling centers.

The renovation plan does have some opposition in the community, but according to L.A. Curbed, the developer is expected to prevail.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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