Vegas Set for Critical USBC Convention

by Bob Johnson 0

The 2016 United States Bowling Congress Convention and Annual Meeting is ready to unfold at The Orleans resort in Las Vegas April 26-29, with the 27th devoted to education, and the 28th and 29th to the annual meeting.

The 2016 USBC Hall of Fame induction ceremony — honoring Mike Durbin, Kim Adler, Steve Kloempken, Harry Sullins and Joan Romeo — will be held on the evening of the 28th.

There will be sessions devoted to increasing tournament participation, the future of associations, membership recruitment and retention, and information technology, plus networking opportunities for association managers and officers, as well as state association board members. There will be a chance to meet the board candidates prior to voting on them.

But it’s the legislative session upon which all eyes and ears will be focused, as delegates vote on two amendments related to league rules, one to tournament rules, and four to bylaws.

Bylaw proposals one and two would require non-merged local and state associations, respectively, to be merged by Aug. 1, 2018. At the 2015 convention, similar legislation just barely missed being approved, but things could be different this year.

Since last year’s convention, one of the most influential people in Texas bowling, proprietor Jamie Brooks, has gotten involved in getting the associations in Dallas to work toward a merger. Should the Dallas opposition turn to support this year, all other things being equal, the merger legislation would pass.

(Brooks, coincidentally, will be honored at the convention with the Joyce Deitch Unity Award. Other honorees include Rhonda Swaim of Harvest, Ala., the Helen Baker Award for Outstanding Association Service; and Jon Tang and Tom Burke of Beaverton, Ore., the USBC Proprietor of the Year Award.)

Mandatory merger legislation has been proposed several times since the USBC came into being in 2000, thus far without success. This year, USBC officials hope their “future for the sport” focus will motivate delegates to see the value of merging local and state associations and act upon it.

Even more critical, though, is bylaw proposal three, which would allow national USBC dues to be raised to a maximum of $15. Dues increases also have been proposed and shot down in the past by delegates, sometimes resulting in rounds of layoffs at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas.

Now, however, the feeling is that the USBC staff has been cut as much as it can be, so if new revenue isn’t generated through a dues increase, services will have to be trimmed — if not immediately, then in the not-too-distant future.

For that reason, the USBC Board of Directors is not taking a neutral position on the proposal; it’s fully backing it.

“Approval will support future funding for key association services such as regional managers, rules counselors and WinLABS support,” the Board wrote as part of its recommendation for adoption. “It ensures future investment in technology such as WinLABS, and the new mobile app. Approval also continues support of our investment in youth programs and competitive bowling such as the PWBA Tour, USBC Masters and Queens. It allows us to continue showcasing bowling on television to inspire the next generation and develop new coaching material for members everywhere.”

BJI will have full coverage of the convention in the June issue. Also look for breaking news from Las Vegas on

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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