Special Kegel Machines Debut This Week at Masters, Benefit Folds of Honor

by Bob Johnson 0

Each time the United States Bowling Congress and Kegel team up to dress the lanes at USBC’s championship events in 2015, bowlers and bowling fans are likely to take notice of the custom lane machines being used to get the job done.

As the official lane maintenance provider for all USBC tournaments, Kegel has created a limited-edition Patriot FLEX lane machine that will be used at the 2015 USBC Masters, USBC Open Championships and USBC Women’s Championships.

At the conclusion of those events, the machines will be sold, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Folds of Honor, a military organization that provides scholarships and assistance to the families of soldiers killed or disabled while serving the United States.

“It means a lot for us to be able to join Kegel in this partnership that will benefit a great cause,” USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy said. “We are grateful for all of the servicemen and women who serve to protect us, and we look forward to being a part of giving something back.”

The 13 lane machines were hand-painted by James Strickland, an airbrush artist from Sebring, Fla., located close to Kegel’s Lake Wales headquarters. Each machine features a patriotic red, white and blue stars-and-stripes motif.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to produce these special-edition lane machines and bring awareness to Folds of Honor,” Kegel President Chris Chartrand said. “We are excited that all the bowlers at the USBC Open and Women’s Championships will be able to see these special lane machines conditioning the lanes for them and this great cause.”

A similar initiative through the Open and Women’s Championships in 2011 helped raise nearly $5,000 for Bowl for the Cure, a year-round fundraising initiative sponsored by USBC in partnership with Susan G. Komen.

That year, each tournament featured a pink lane machine, as the color pink is synonymous with breast cancer awareness. There were a variety of contests and opportunities for tournament competitors and guests to check out the custom machines and donate to the cause.

The Patriot FLEX lane machines are making their debut at the USBC Masters, now underway at The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley in Green Bay, Wis., through this Sunday.

The 2015 Open Championships will be held at the El Paso Convention Center in El Paso, Texas, from March 7-July 12, while the Women’s Championships visits the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev., from April 10 until June 30.

Kegel was founded in 1981 with the primary goal of helping bowling centers operate with fewer problems. For more than three decades, the company has studied all the variables surrounding lane conditioning and expanded to several product divisions with more than 120 employees.

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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