Travel warning issued

by Bob Johnson 0

Bowlers competing in the USBC Women's Championships in the Texas border city of El Paso are being urged to stay on the U.S. side, and not venture into Juarez, Mexico.

That town has been beset by violence, mostly connected to Mexico's drug gangs. Last month, three people with ties to the U.S. Consulate in Juarez were killed.

While the violence has been restricted almost exclusively to the Mexico side of the border, U.S. government officials have called for more law enforcement and U.S. troops in the region to keep it that way.

Some have blamed the violence in Juarez for the big drop in entries for this year's tournament. Others point to America's economic downturn, the worst since the Depression, and some speculate that the switch to an all-handicap format kept some bowlers from entering.

The El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau, while advising bowlers to stay on the U.S. side of the border, says the most popular attractions among tournament bowlers thus far have been the Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino, along with various downtown museums and malls.

The tournament runs through July 3.

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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