CLINTON — There’s been a lot of preparation and planning over the last few months at both the Plaza Bowl and Imperial Lanes, and it’s going to continue until March.
That’s because forthe second time in thelast three years, theIowa State Women’s Bowling Championship is being hosted by Clinton and Camanche.
After half a century of absence from the area, the tournament returned to Clinton in 2016 after Clinton and Camanche won the bid. For the Clinton Bowling Association, it was an easy decision to go for it again in 2019.
The tournament draws Iowa State USBC Women’s Bowling Association members from all over the state to compete at both bowling alleys. The singles and doubles events will be hosted by the Plaza Bowl, and then the team events will be held at Imperial Lanes.
It happens March 2-May 5 of 2019.
“There are people coming from all over the state, and they’re just here to have a good time,” Clinton Bowling Association’s Becky Graves said. “Last time, I think everyone was happy to be here and there were no complaints about either house. We’re excited to have it back.”
Graves and her team put in a lot of work to put on the last event and are sure to do the same. It will draw between 2,200 and 2,500 women athletes in the ten weekends it occurs.
“I think it’s very smart seeing the opportunity,” Plaza Bowl owner Mike Pelham said. “I think it’s really good for our bowling community as a whole. They see all the people, they see the activity. Hopefully, it gets other people interested as well.
“Bowling has been changing a little bit and maybe doesn’t have a ton of presence, but there are a lot of neat things like this that go on.”
Pelham was not the owner of the house in 2016 when the event was first hosted, so is in for a new side of things. On the plus side, the CBA has taken care of a lot of that already.
“A lot of the organizing and planning has really been done,” Pelham said. “We have other things to do between now and March to make it as nice and presentable as it can, we just want to make sure we have everything ready to accommodate everything.”
It’s mostly fine tuning between now and March: deciding on food, hiring extra staff, warning local businesses and so forth. Either way, everyone in Clinton is certainly excited about it.
“I think they’re proud to have it and they should be,” Pelham said. “ They worked really hard on the bids, they go to all the meetings, they do a really good job.”
Plus, they have recent experience with hosting the large scale event. For new Imperial Lanes owner Kenny Garvey, that’s going to be a huge aspect.
“Now, knowing what to expect, hopefully we can make it better than before,” Garvey said.
Garvey took over the ownership role in September, but is not new to the house. His father, Jay Garvey, owned it before while Kenny took on a managerial role with him, so the transition was small. He was around the first time the tournament was hosted.
For the Camanche owners, the visitors are a huge part of the excitement.
“They didn’t know where Camanche, Iowa was,” Jay Garvey said.
“It brings some notoriety to the area,” Kenny Garvey said. “I know when we had it here previously a lot of people said they had never been to this part of the state, and they were excited. Hopefully that excitement continues.”
It all starts the first weekend of March. The tournament happens on weekends until the first week of May, not interfering with any of the regular leagues. Clinton Herald Sports will have more coverage as the event approaches and throughout the tournament.