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St. Petersburg contributes to TNBA growth

Published Aug. 24, 2005

It began in 1939 in Detroit as the National Negro Bowling Association, formed because the ABCWIBC banned blacks and other non-Caucasians from membership.

The name changed to The National Bowling Association, Inc., (TNBA) in 1944, six years before the ABCWIBC dropped its racial discrimination clauses.

TNBA has grown to 37,500 adult and youth members, mostly black, in 44 states and Bermuda. It's organized into hundreds of local chapters called senates. TNBA runs handicap, scratch and junior tournaments on national, regional and local levels with Alesia Bryant of St. Louis as its president.

TNBA senates are active in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Tampa and St. Petersburg.

The St. Petersburg senate was started in 1989 and has grown to 90 members. Among its outstanding players are Odeen Walker, Justin Veitch, Leonard Jackson, Leroy

Goffer, Albert Mitchell and James McKelly.

Lenora Stewart, president of the St. Petersburg senate, said: "One of the problems with getting our senate started was that no one ever heard of TNBA. We had to convince the required 40 bowlers to form our senate and we were on our way.

"Now we are trying to recruit more members, and we have scheduled more tournaments this year," Stewart said. "Our 18-team TNBA Monday Night Mixed League bowls at Seminole Lanes because Sunshine is down now."

Stewart is a two-time senate president. Sunshine Bowl in Pinellas Park is closed because of hurricane damage.

TNBA has two upcoming tourneys at Seminole Lanes. The singles/doubles tournament is Jan. 22. Squad times are 10 a.m. and 1, 4 and 7 p.m. The entry fees are $15 for singles and $30 for doubles. The prize fund pays one in eight players. The mixed doubles event is Feb. 26-27, with a $20 entry fee.

Both tournaments, sanctioned by the USBC, are open to all bowlers, including advance entries and walk-ins. For information, call Bob Fryer, (727) 251-2356. Stewart is the tourney director.

USBC: The United States Bowling Congress made it official last Saturday, lowering the ABC and WIBC flags at bowling headquarters in Greendale, Wis., for the new USBC colors.

The headquarters staff, now USBC employees, watched former United States Bowling Congress CEO Roger Dalkin and USBC chief tournament officer Roseann Kuhn handle the ceremony.

"This is an exciting time in bowling history, but it also is with some sadness that we say goodbye to these grand organizations that have meant a great deal to all of us," Dalkin said.

USBC merges the ABC, WIBC, Young American Bowling Alliance and USA Bowling into one organization, serving more than 3-million adults and youth bowlers.

One of the USBC's major goals is to become the central brand for bowling in the United States.

It plans to do this by positioning the organization to grow the sport, encourage more people to participate and increase the power of the brand.

USBC also seeks to establish and maintain national governing-body status with the United States Olympic Committee and hopes to receive USOC approval of its application early in 2005.

A number of the ex-staff members are out of jobs. They include Ed Baur, ABC group executive-tournaments, communications and marketing; and Sylvia Broyles, WIBC president.

JUNIORS INVITED: The Florida Youth Scratch Bowlers Tour visits Lakeland's Orange Bowl on Saturday and Jan. 16 for a Junior Gold event with a $500 payoff to the top division winners, based on 30 entries.

The registration fees are $50 if you have bowled in three tour events, $60 for others and walk-ins. The upper division is for players with 185 or above averages, the lower for 184 and below.

AROUND THE LANES: High scorers _ Darrin Campbell, 300-742, Don MacDonald, 300-772, Ray Pannone, 300-739, and Jim Hamilton, 290-702, at Liberty; Ryne Podlas, 299-764, Jim Schultz, 298-653, and Cindy Hall, 290-769, Seminole; and Jerry Brownstein, 300-766, and Frank Sanna, 300 game, Countryside. The Suncoast Association City Tournament is scheduled for Feb. 19-20 and Feb. 26-27 at Lane-Glo North in Pasco County.

_ Phil Gulick can be reached at xerxes8