Many of our youth bowlers are on the road to Buffalo, N.Y., for competition in the 2014 Junior Gold National Tournament at the Broadway Sports Center on Saturday.

Making the trip to Buffalo are Summer Salak, of Nolanville; Killeen residents Dakota Stutz, Samantha Kriner, Heath Fletcher and Jordan Garza; and Copperas Cove’s Megan Wehmeier, Amanda Morgan and James Norris.

The Junior Gold Championships is an annual national tournament for the top male and female youth bowlers in the United States. The tournament awards scholarships, and youth bowlers competing in the U20 and U15 divisions also have the opportunity to earn a spot on Junior Team USA. The tournament has six divisions: U12 Boys, U12 Girls, U15 Boys, U15 Girls, U20 Boys and U20 Girls.

Junior Gold qualifying events are held throughout the country and you must be a Junior Gold member to qualify for the national tournament. To be a Junior Gold member, athletes must be a USBC Standard Youth member and purchase a Junior Gold membership prior to participating in Junior Gold qualifying tournaments.

Over 2,000 of the top youth bowlers (under age 20) in America will be visiting Buffalo trying to crack into the top 64, and ultimately medal.

The local bowlers are hoping to bring home the gold.

According to the PBA, with the 2014 Oklahoma’s Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing in the books PBA Badger Open and King of the Swing winner Bill O’Neill topped the earnings list for the second annual event with $31,700 of the more than $264,000 total prize fund.

The five-day event, which allowed players to enter four events for a single entry fee, paid prize money to 55 of 115 players (nearly 2:1 prize ratio) with three players cashing for more than $24,000 and seven players cashing for more than $10,000.

Other players who won titles during the event were Sean Rash (PBA Wolf Open) ranking second in earnings with $28,400 followed closely by Jason Belmonte (PBA Oklahoma Open) with $24,500 and Ronnie Russell (PBA Bear Open), who ranked fifth earning $13,100. Tommy Jones, who finished second in the Bear Open, fifth in the Oklahoma Open, and fourth in the King of the Swing, ranked fourth in earnings, taking home $15,000.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation-owned Grand Casino Resort will return as sponsor and host for 2015 when the Summer Swing returns to Shawnee, Okla., with the finals of each event again televised by the CBS Sports Network. Preliminary rounds will again be held at nearby FireLake Bowling Center.

Upcoming Southwest PBA Regional Tour stops are: July 11-13, Lubbock Southwest Super Regional; July 25-27, Fort Sill (Okla.) Southwest Open; Aug. 1-3, Luci Bonneau Memorial Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Tournament, Houston; Aug. 8-10, Killeen Southwest Open; Aug. 15-17, Emerald Bowl Houston Southwest Challenge; Aug. 22-24, Greenville Southwest Open; Sept. 5-7, Grand Hotel, Casino, & Resort Southwest Invitational, Shawnee, Okla.; Sept. 12-14, McAlester OK Southwest Open; Sept. 19-21, Odessa Southwest Open.

Several of our local bowlers are currently hospitalized at Scott & White in Temple.

Dick Atkinson, Eric Odette and Bob Rathburn and their families need your prayers for a speedy recovery.

See you on the lanes.

Don Wright has been sharing insights on area/national bowling with Herald readers for more than 25 years. Contact him at

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