Boulevard Bowl pro shop operator Frank DePalma calls the 16th annual Blizzard Bowl the best deal in town.
And he may be right.
With a new title sponsor on board, the Blizzard Bowl has increased its top prize for the team event to $2,500 without raising the entry fee. The four-person team event still costs just $15 per person, and that includes either a continental breakfast for the morning squads or a buffet following the evening squads.
Plus, the proceeds go to a great cause, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady.
The six-week event kicks off Sunday at 11:45 a.m.
“I’ve been either bowling myself or in this business for 50 years, and I’ve never seen a tournament like this that feeds, gives you plenty of fun bowling with your friends, and allows you to give to a worthy cause,” said the 68-year-old DePalma.
“With Garelick Farms on board as our title sponsor, we were able to keep our entry fee the same. We didn’t raise our entry fee in these tough economic times, and one of the reasons is that [Boulevard Bowl proprietor] Mike Scaccia has been so gracious to us. He kept the lineage the same so we can have a successful event.”
Although the Blizzard Bowl has been a mainstay on the bowling calendar, DePalma has some new wrinkles this year.
“We have a couple of different things going this year,” he said. “Besides the increased prize fund in the team event, we’re going to have a completely different singles and doubles event at Burnt Hills Lanes this year. We used to include the doubles and singles event along with the team event and just use the same scores. Now, it’s a completely separate event with a guaranteed prize fund. They will bowl three Sundays in April with an entry fee of $15 per event. The doubles handicap will have a top prize of $500, and both the singles handicap and singles scratch events will guarantee $250 on top.
“We are trying to get more scratch bowlers involved, and I think they will like the fact that we have so many brackets available. The scratch bowlers really do well in brackets, and all our brackets are scratch. They only cost $5 each.”
As usual, DePalma plans on obtaining several raffle prizes for each squad.
“One thing I’d like to point out is that we have several sponsor signs still available,” he said. “And just like the entry fee, the sponsor signs are a bargain. Mike Scaccia leaves the same signs up for the entire tournament, and they cost just $100. To me, that’s a great bargain for publicity.”
Last year’s Blizzard Bowl drew around 180 teams. The previous year, 190 teams came to Boulevard Bowl.
“Last year, the teams were down, and I think it was the economy,” DePalma said. “We’re trying to get off to a good start this year, but usually, our first squad is always our weakest. We usually get progressively better from there.”
To entice more bowlers to enter the event early, DePalma is offering a special drawing on Sunday to earn their money back.
“I’m going to draw a lane number, and the team that is on that lane will get their entry back,” he said.
“We are really trying hard to expand our field. Hopefully, we’ll get some teams from out in the Oneonta area. We are also getting some people in for the State Elks Tournament at Boulevard and Town ‘n Country Lanes, and hopefully those bowlers will stay and bowl both events.”
DePalma, a lifelong Schenectady resident, said he donates his time and energy to the Blizzard Bowl because of his love for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Schenectady.
“I grew up without a father, and without the Boys Club, I would have ended up in juvenile court as a youngster,” he said. “It’s a place I care about a lot, but I can’t do this alone. I have a lot of help.”
DePalma said he can’t understand why more bowlers don’t flock to his event.
“You’ve got a shot to win $2,500 for a $15 fee per person. You get fed, and you can help a charity at the same time. It’s amazing that we don’t get more bowlers,” he said.
DePalma has been around the bowling business a long time. He averages 220 in the Boulevard Classic on Tuesdays and 226 in the City Catholic league on Thursdays. He also has 16 career 300 game and 13 800 triples. “Not bad for an old guy,” he said. “I got my first 300 in 1968 when very few guys got them.”
The Blizzard Bowl is held in memory of the late Jack Scaccia Sr.
Other squad times for the team event are March 13 at 11:45 a.m., March 20 at 11:45 a.m., April 2 at 9:45 p.m., April 9 at 9:45 p.m. and April 16 at 9:45 p.m.
Last year’s winning team was B&N.
My usual group of keglers competes in this fun event every year, and we plan to again. We’ll see you there. For more information, contact Boulevard at 374-4171.
SET FOR STATES
The Section II boys’ and girls’ teams will head to Syracuse for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Bowling Championship at Strikes & Spares Lanes this weekend.
The Colonie boys’ team, the Colonie girls’ team and both the boys’ all-section team and the girls’ all-section squad will be gunning for a state title. The girls’ all-section team, led by Liz Kuhlkin, won last year’s state crown. The boys’ all-section team is paced by Guilderland’s Ryan Wager.
HEADED TO NATIONALS
Local teams will be well represented at the National Junior College Bowling Championships in Buffalo this weekend.
The Hudson Valley Community College men’s and women’s teams, and the Schenectady County Community College men’s team earned spots in the national championship. The HVCC and SCCC men finished second and third, respectively, while the HVCC women were second.
For HVCC, Will Coons and Ryan Sickler, both from Guilderland, won the doubles event at the Region III Championships, with Sickler finishing first in the overall with a total of 1,741. Also earning first-team All-Region was John Pulver. Other HVCC bowlers on the team include Brandon Davis Eric Birdsall, Bill Pulver, Dan DiRizzo and Mike Corcione.
For the HVCC women, Nicole Sheldon (Columbia) was first in singles with an 838, while Rebecca Duncan (Voorheesville) was second. Both finished first-team All-Region.
SCCC’s men’s team was led by Ernie Costello, who was second in singles with an 863 and third in the overall with a 1,685 pinfall. Other Royals headed to Buffalo are Dillon Davis, Luke Ciccarello, Joe O’Toole, David VanNatten, Chris Kichton, Kai Pisila and Mike Liberatore.
STRIKES AND SPARES
* The next event on the Huck Finn/Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York schedule will be a doubles tournament. Qualifying will be Saturday at 3 p.m. at Spare Time-Latham and Sunday at 10 a.m. at Spare Time-Clifton Park. The field will be limited to 48 teams on Saturday and 54 teams on Sunday. At last week’s singles scratch event at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy, Kyle Haines, Pete Linck, Don Baker and Tom Reed earned spots for the next television finals.
* Qualifying for the ninth annual Joe Donato Scratch Singles tournament continues this week. North Bowl in Plattsburgh will host a qualifier Saturday at noon, while Twin City Lanes in Barre, Vt., will host a qualifier Sunday at 9 a.m. Qualifiers continue Monday at Imperial Lanes at 9 p.m., Tuesday at Del Lanes at 9 p.m., Wednesday at Sunset Lanes at 8:45 p.m. and Thursday night at Hilltop Bowl at 9:30 p.m. Entry fee is $60.
* The 19th annual Charlie Bechard Memorial Tournament, for male senior bowlers, will be held March 17 at 9:30 a.m. and March 19 at both 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Green Island Lanes. Entry fee is $20. The field will be divided into Class C (50-59 age division), Class B (60-69) and Class A (70 and over). Call Green Island Island Lanes at 273-2322 or Uncle Sam Lanes at 271-7800 for more information.
* The New York State Masters Championship is set for March 26-27 at Boulevard Bowl. Entry fee is $90. Qualifying is set for March 26 at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. One in five bowlers will advance to two-game head-to-head single-elimination matches until a winner is determined. Contact bowlny.com for more information.
* The Schenectady/Scotia USBC Women’s Bowling Association’s annual membership meeting will be held March 20 at 1:30 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl. On the agenda will be the adoption of the budget and the election of officers, including the directors and delegates to the state and national conventions. Refreshments will be provided.
* The U .S. Women’s Open Qualifier, sponsored by 2001 Central Insurance Agency, the New York State BPAA. and the New York State USBC WBA, will be held April 9 and April 10 at Redwood Lanes. At stake will be a paid entry to this year’s U.S. Women’s Open and $1,000 for travel and expenses. Second place is $500 guaranteed. Entry fee is $50. The first day will be a six-game qualifier. If there are 36 entries or more, the top eight will advance to the mathc play finals. If there are 35 bowlers or less, the top six will advance to the match play finals the next day. Call Redwood at 869-3581.
* The fourth annual March Madness tournament will be held March 13 at Spare Time-Lake George. Sixty-four bowlers will be put into a bracket. The double-elimination tournament has a $60 entry fee, with first-place guaranteed $1,000. Contact Doug Bohannon at 668-5741 for more information.
* The Bowl for Our Veterans 3-6-9 Tournament will be held Saturday at noon and 2 p.m. at Playdium Bowling Center. Entry fee is $12. The tournament helps raise funds for the BVL, a national organization that provides entertainment and recreational activities for veterans in medical centers, as well as active military men and women all over the world. Entry forms are available at all bowling centers.
* Joe Quist Jr., 20, rolled his first perfect game in the Thursday Night Men’s league at Imperial Lanes recently. He shot his 300 between games of 257 and 198 for a 755.
* The Capital City 600 Club Tournament will be held March 12 at 1:30 p.m. at Del Lanes. Only 600 Club members can compete. Call 458-7639 or 489-0829 if interested in joining.
* The 38th annual Electric City 600 Tournament will be held March 13 at 1 p.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl. Entry forms have been distributed to all current members, and additional ones were left at the bowling centers. If anyone needs a copy, call Marianne Hogle at 393-8907.
* The 500 Club’s annual singles tournament is scheduled for March 26 at 2 p.m. at Boulevard Bowl. If anyone needs an entry form, contact Marie Moorhead at 399-3063.
* The Town ‘N Country Bar & Tavern Tournament will be held March 19 and March 26 at 2 p.m. each day. Entry fee is $100 per team, and handicap is 80 percent of a 920 team average. First place is $1,000 guaranteed. Brackets, music, raffles, 50-50 drawings, pizza and soda will also be available.
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