CROSSVILLE – From golf capital to bowling kingpin? The City of Crossville can lay claims to both, it seems, after officials announced Thursday that they won the rights to host a series of three Tennessee Women’s Bowling Association tournaments in 2016-2017.
Officials made the announcement during an event at Crossville’s Plateau Bowling Lanes, which will serve as site host for the trio of tournaments: two this year and one in 2017. Tennessee State Women’s Bowling Association President Jinnie Henry said the bid packages was “one of the best bid packages we have ever received.”
It’s the first time the state tournament has been held in the Upper Cumberland since 2012, when Cookeville hosted the event. It’s also the first time a city has swept bids for all three events. Henry said Clarksville and Nashville also submitted proposals.
“We’ve been looking for a bid from Crossville for several years,” Henry said. “Bowlers come from all corners of the state of Tennessee, and Crossville seems to be within easy reach for about any lady wanting to compete.”
Bowlers will first converge on Crossville Aug. 20-21 for the State Senior Women’s Tournament. The 2016 Queen’s Tournament will follow Oct. 8, and the 2017 Tennessee State Women’s Championship Tournament is set for March 2017.
Plateau Bowling Lanes, located on Highway 70E, will serve as host site for all three events. Co-owners Debbie Blaylock and Kim Robbins told the UCBJ they have invested around a quarter of a million dollars in various improvements at the alley – with no guarantee Crossville would get the bid. Plateau Bowling Lanes has been in business since 1962 and has a total of 24 lanes.
Blaylock said they’ve made software improvements (“without, it’d be really tough to host tournaments like this,” she said), a lane machine (“we can host pro bowling tournaments with what this thing can do,” she added), added two outdoor patios, and more. Overall, around 2,000 bowlers are expected between the combined events. She said bowling is the single largest organized sport in the country.
“I had to go to the bank and convince them that – if we would do this, we would be able to do what we’re doing today,” she said. “I was pretty determined to make it work. They believed in us and what we wanted to do.
“We are ready,” Blaylock added. “Bowlers expect to compete on lane surfaces offering a challenging but consistent shot, and they can be assured of that when the first tournament begins in late-August.”
The Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce assisted in the bid packaging process and helped “sweeten the pot,” officials said, with additional prize funds for the three tournaments. Chamber President Brad Allamong said they invested around $2,000 in all, $500 for the first two events and $1,000 for the 2017 Tennessee State Women’s Championship.
“The board of directors reviewed the project and not only accepted the staff recommendation to put some money toward the prize funds but wanted to increase the chamber’s overall commitment – hoping to make a difference,” Allamong said. “I think it worked.”
The proposal included letters of support. City Mayor James Mayberry, in his letter to the state association, said, “Getting a major state bowling tournament to Crossville would be a big deal…A VERY BIG DEAL.” He added he would like to see a local host committee come together to assist those folks making the trek to the area, and leaders hope local businesses will step up with discount offers to help spur spending
“It is now up to us to show off what we are capable of (and) invite folks to see the community, visit some local attractions and patronize our local businesses,” Mayberry said. “Coordination of marquees welcoming bowlers to Crossville and potential discounts at retail and eateries would be fantastic.”