The third annual WIBC-ABC National Mixed Championships opened Friday night at Sunshine Bowl with 160 bowlers starting doubles competition.
More than 3,344 men and women from across the country and Canada were expected for daily competition in mixed team and doubles. The three-week tournament endsJuly
4. The winning team earns $6,000 and the doubles winners get $3,000 from the $100,000 prize fund.
Every state is represented with at least one doubles entry. Canada will send eight four-person teams and Florida has 173 team entries, with 152 coming from St. Petersburg. Texas will send 87 teams.
"We are grateful for the St. Petersburg turnout and we are doing more to increase entries," said incoming ABC president Larry Schafer. "We have to get more bowlers talking up this event in their home states."
Last year's tournament in Reno, Nev., drew 1,834 team entries. Portland, Ore., will host next year's tournament.
Outgoing WIBC president Gladys Banker and Schafer cut the ribbon in opening ceremonies and Pinellas Park mayor Cecil Bradbury rolled out the first ball. Others present were ABC vice president Duncan McPherson; WIBC director Betty Barnes; and Dr. Ed Minor and Carolyn Johnson, presidents of the St. Petersburg men's and women's associations.