Return of tournament could “bowl” over local economy


CHAMPAIGN — After fifty years away, a state tournament is coming back to town. The US-BC Women’s Bowling State Tournament kicks off this weekend and area lanes are gearing up for the event.

It will run for nine weekends in two locations: Arrowhead Lanes and Western Bowl. More than 2,000 bowlers are expected to attend throughout the nine weeks.

These lanes are empty now, but this weekend, it won’t be the case.

“A bunch of women are coming in from all over the state to come bowling here.”

The tournament hasn’t been in town since the late 60’s.

“It’s a little scary. It’s going to be busy. It’s going to be very busy.”

Cindy Born works at Arrowhead Lanes.

“We have teams over here. Western has singles and doubles over there.”

She says it may be quiet now, but they’re expecting hundreds to come through.

“We’re getting extra people in here. We want people in here so nothing goes wrong. We’ve got extra people. We’ve got mechanics. We’ve got all of our machines running good.”

It will run for nine weekends from February to the end of April and bring in more than $1 million to Champaign County.

“I think it will bring a lot more business to the hotels, people staying in the hotel, food business, that will be big.”

Arrowhead hosted a men’s tournament the last several years. She says the lanes are no strangers to a full house.

“We had to set bleachers up in the center, over here. We had extra tables out over here. It was non-stop. We had that snack bar open, that snack bar open. The place will be packed.”

Opening ceremonies will be Saturday, at 11 am. Mayors from both Urbana and Champaign will throw out the first balls at Arrowhead. 

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