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State bowling event, which was expected to generate millions for York economy, is canceled

BARRY SPARKS
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Rich Sanders

The Pennsylvania State United States Bowling Congress Board has decided to cancel the Pennsylvania Open Championship Tournament, which was originally scheduled to be held in York from April 4 through June 14.

In mid-March, the Pennsylvania USBC pushed back the start of the state tournament to May 1. With the uncertainty as to when it will be safe to return to normal activities, the association canceled all of its adult and youth tournaments through July 31.

In addition to the Open Championship Tournament, the canceled tournaments include: Women's Championship Tournament, Mixed Tournament, Women's Senior Tournament, Youth Open Tournament, District Pepsi/Handicap Singles Tournament and State Pepsi/Handicap Singles Tournament.

"It was disappointing news, but it was the right decision," said Rich Sanders, president of the York-Adams USBC. "We were geared up and ready to go."

Sanders said it's uncertain, at this time, whether York will be granted the right to host the state tournament in 2021 or 2022. The Butler County Association is scheduled to host the 2021 event. There's a possibility that could change.

"Our volunteers and board members had invested a lot of time getting ready for the tournament," Sanders said. "Our biggest financial investment, however, was the souvenirs, such as T-shirts, we purchased to sell to bowlers. They have the year 2020 on them. We still might be able to use them in some way."

The cancellation of the state tournament will have a financial impact on the York economy. The tournament, which was scheduled over 10 weekends, was expected to attract 6,000-7,000 bowlers and their families.

 "We projected the state bowling tournament would bring in $3 to $5 million in total revenue to the local economy," said Chrissy Tobias, communication specialist for Explore York.  "The event is unique in that it runs for 10 weekends. York hosts a number of events, but most of them are for just a weekend."

Tobias said the state bowling tournament offers an excellent opportunity for state residents to get to know York, visit some of its historic sites and visit local restaurants.

Despite the setback, Sanders is optimistic about the future.

"Whenever we host the state tournament, we will make it work," he said.

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com.