By David Fong
TROY — Some of the best professional bowlers in the world will be in Troy this weekend for the fourth annual PBA Rex & Griffin Bigelow Memorial M&D Blacktop/BW3’s Central Open presented by Hammer.
“One of the big reasons I did this was not only to honor my dad and my son, but so that people in the community could also see this,” Troy Bowl manager Kyle Bigelow said. “I think it’s a great thing for the community. We’d like to get as many people as we could out here to watch it. It’s not often you get a professional sport — any professional sport — in Troy. We think it would be great if we got not only bowling fans, but just people who are curious to see what it’s all about, to come out and see what’s going on.”
Bigelow brought the professional tournament to Troy four years ago to honor both his late father Rex, who owned both Troy Bowl and Sherwood Bowl and was a legend in the local bowling community before passing away in 2013, and his infant son Griffin, who passed away in 2010.
Not only can fans meet some of the top names in bowling, but they also will have the opportunity to compete alongside them. The event begins from 3-5 p.m. Friday at Troy Bowl, 1530 McKaig Ave. in Troy, with the professionals practicing. The practice is free and open to the public. At 6 p.m. Friday, there will be a pro-am event in which bowlers of any skill level can compete alongside the professionals for three games. The cost to participate in the pro-am event is $30.
“It’s a great opportunity for fans to meet their favorite bowlers, bowl with them and get their autographs,” Bigelow said.
The tournament itself will run Saturday and Sunday, with all sessions free and open to the public. The competition will begin Saturday with two squads bowling, one at 8 a.m. and the other at 1:30 p.m. There will be 12 games of match play, followed by a stepladder final, to determine winners and placers beginning 10 a.m. Sunday.
“We’re hoping we can get somewhere between 50 and 70 people to compete this year,” Bigelow said. “We’ll be taking applications on the PBA website all the way up until Friday night.”
One of those who will be participating is Bigelow himself. He has competed every year, while also running the tournament. He said performing dual duties may have impacted his bowling — but he said his wife Lisa has taken on an expanded role this year, which he’s hoping will allow him to focus more on the actual bowling.
“I’ve bowled in it every year, but still have yet to make the cut,” Bigelow said. “It’s a lot of work, trying to bowl and still worry about everything else. My wife has taken over most of it, which is has been such a huge help. She’s done an outstanding job. Honestly, I couldn’t do this without her.”
Sponsors for the event include: M&D Blacktop, BW3’s Troy, Center Stage Dance, Heidelberg Distributing, Bug-a-Boo, Hammer Bowling and Lasting Impression Trophies.
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong