Wow! Majors never get old! There just isn’t anything quite like a bowling center packed with people bowling for thousands of dollars! We have had many major events over the years but, they never get old. We may not be breaking records over and over again like we did in the early years, but it’s still a lot of fun, and we look forward to it every time! This year’s Labor Day event drew 207 entries, had 56 cashers a 1 in 3.7 cash ratio and paid out over $11,000.00 in main and side event prize fund. This payout included over $1,500.00 in high game pots, nearly $1,000.00 in the 3-day mega sweeper, and an $8000.00+ tournament prize fund!
They players bowled on the 40ft Stars and Stripes which was a custom oil pattern for the major event. It was everything that we look for in a major event oil pattern. It allowed the players to play practically any part of the lane they liked, and made it not incredibly difficult to get to the pocket. However, it was difficult to put up a large score. There were players here and there that avoided the one bad or mediocre game, but most didn’t. The average cut scores for the weekend hovered around +70 which required most players to bowl 10-15 pins over average per game to make the cut.
As always, we like to welcome all of the new bowlers to the SFT AHT family! Emily Johnson, Eric Carroll, William Bedker, Autry Dogans, Cory Vanderpoel, Shaun Newman, Brooke Carroll, Josh Mullen, and Jennifer Byrd all joined us this weekend for their first event. Out of the 9 new members, 3 of them made it to the quarter finals, which is 1 in 3! Just like our tournament cash ratio! We are glad to see the new rules for entering average are allowing new bowlers to compete in their first event at a fair level. A special congrats to those three players; Jennifer Byrd, Brooke Carroll, and William Bedker! We only had two parlay power players; Dave Durand and Rene Sandoval.
The quarter finals were bowled on fresh conditions which kept the scores a bit lower, but the best of the best were bowling so it didn’t slow them down as much. The cut scores to advance to the semi-final round were again averaged in the +70’s. Each division advanced the top 4 players, with the #1 seeds being Dan Quilt in A, Zack Huglin in B and Brooke Carroll in C.
The semi-final matches were pretty good. We had quite a few that were won and lost in the 10th frame. In the A division, Dan took on Dylan Taylor, but had the match decided pretty quickly. However, the other match in A between Ben Spencer and Barry Gilituik Sr. went to the 10th frame with Barry missing a 4-7 to give Ben an opening. Ben needed a double to take the match, but a 7 pin cut that effort short and allowed Barry to advance to bowl Dan. In the A division final match Dan and Barry went back and forth, but a big 5 bagger by Dan to finish his game put the pressure on Barry to throw a strike to win, and Barry was unable to do so, making Dan the A division champion.
B Division semifinals paired Zack Huglin vs Phil Thompson and KJ Martinez vs Carlos Vejar. Zack was able to disable Phil with a pretty big score, and KJ the same for Carlos. Zack and KJ both looked hot and a close semi-final match was expected. This was pretty much the case for most of the match, but a big open in the 10th by Zack allowed KJ to only have to mark for the win which he was able to do. KJ Martinez would join Dan quilt in being finalists that haven’t made a title match before.
The C division also had some exciting matches. Krysta LaRue took on Stacie Huglin in a knockdown, drag out fight that ended with Stacie squeaking out the win. The other match was Brooke Carrol vs Rene Sandoval which went down to the wire. Rene was the only male left in the C division and needed a mark to win in the 10th frame and wasn’t able to finish it out, which gave Brooke the victory. Stacie and Brooke then went head to head, with Stacie putting on one of her best performances in match play and taking home the win to become the C division champion.
The finals in the major events are always a little different. We use the eliminator format during Memorial Day weekend, and for this event we do a step ladder event. The first match was between Dan Quilt and KJ Martinez, and it DID NOT disappoint. Both players threw a ton of strikes and never backed down. They were dead even going into the last few frames and an errand shot by KJ gave Dan a slight opening. Dan got up to bowl his 9th and 10th first and could strike out to shut KJ out and did so in a convincing fashion with 4 great shots! His performance certainly made everyone think he was the man to beat! It was a tough loss for KJ who bowled 262 with handicap, and it wasn’t enough!
The final match for the $1,500.00 was nothing at all like expected. Dan got off to a very slow start, and only continued to struggle. However, as Stacie finished her 10th frame with an open, he looked at his score to realize that three strikes in the 10th would give him not only a 169 game (far below his average), but would also give him the tie with Stacie and would force a roll off. Unfortunately, his first shot was like much of the game for him, and he was unable to strike. This gave Stacie Huglin the $1,500.00 Labor Day Championship title!