When Graves took her idea to him 10 months ago, she said the Chamber president was enthusiastic about the prospect.
“I had told Nathan, ‘It’s my first year as my bowling association’s manager... I’m too stupid to know we can’t do this,’” Graves said. “He said, ‘It’s my first year on the Chamber — I’m too stupid to know I can’t, too.’”
Alongside Donaire, Sondgeroth supplemented Clinton and Camanche bowlers with organization and proper planning.
“Neither Clinton nor Camanche have done this themselves, so only by working together could this objective be achieved,” Sondgeroth said.
Four cities submitted bids by the July 2013 deadline: Des Moines, Mason City, Waterloo and Clinton-Camanche. Mason City (another new contender with the rule change) withdrew its bid after a fire destroyed part of its facility. By fall, the field was down to Clinton-Camanche and Waterloo.
The communities had roughly four months to prepare final presentations for the March 2014 annual meeting.
“The best way to tell the story was to show the state association that it’s basically been a lifetime since we had this,” Donaire said. “As we learned more about how ingrained the sport and culture of bowling is in people’s families, it really just helped us tell this interesting story of how it’s been a lifetimes since we hosted the tournament.”
Combined with the Chamber, local bowling associations came up with the slogan, “Clinton-Camanche: We’re right up your alley!” When the contingent arrived for the March 22 annual meeting in Dubuque, dozens of Gateway area supporters donned pink shirts carrying the slogan. They partnered with Wide River Winery to offer samples, and presented a timeline to site selectors of the rich bowling history in the region.
Despite all the enthusiasm and hard work for their pitch, there was a sense by local organizers that Clinton-Camanche was the underdog bidder.