Saturday, April 3rd, 2021
PBA tour set to return to Coldwater
By Gary R. Rasberry
After a year's hiatus due to the pandemic, professional bowling returns to Coldwater this August as the Professional Bowlers Association's Bowlerstore.com Open will take place Aug. 13-15 at Pla-Mor Lanes. The tournament is part of the national tour's Summer Swing.
Pla-Mor owner Rick Hartings is happy the PBA will be back in the area.
"We're super-excited because last year was a big disappointment," said Hartings. "We were going to try and pull it off (last year) but with COVID and trying to get sponsors, we were really hurt. The PBA was really unsure how it would play out, so we decided in June (2020) to cancel and take the year off like the tour did. Now they're back with a few restrictions and regulations (regarding safety)."
Hartings said the process of gaining sponsors is underway.
"I feel they believe in what we're trying to do here," said Hartings of the sponsors. "We're trying to put on a show here and bring money to the area in terms of restaurants and hotels. We have our work cut out for us."
Pla-Mor has hosted PBA events on the regional and national level since 2008, first with the PBA Central Region hosting a tournament that was sponsored by Lefeld Implement/Kenn-Feld Group before moving up to a national tournament in 2019. Top stars, including PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III and stars like Rhino Page and Kyle Troup have won in Coldwater.
With the tournament being a points tournament, Hartings expects to see the top bowlers make their way to Mercer County. The priority for applicants starts with the top 75 in the points standings followed by PBA Hall of Famers, tour title winners and then members and amateurs.
The reputation that Pla-Mor has gained as an enjoyable stop for the professionals should ensure top stars making the trek to the county again this season.
"In 2019, it was best field ever. We had nearly everyone (among the points leaders) here," said Hartings. "They should all be here this year because it's a points tournament. If you miss the tournament, you don't get any points and could fall behind."
The format features practice and pro-am competitions on Aug. 13 with qualifying taking place Aug. 15. The top third of the field advances to the Cashers round (players guaranteed prize money) on Aug. 15. The field will be whittled to 16, then to eight and then the top four advance to the stepladder finals at 5 p.m.