WSOB, Was it a success? Print
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To be continued ...

That, in a nutshell, describes the first Professional Bowlers Association's World Series of Bowling, which started Aug. 1 and ostensibly wrapped up Saturday and Sunday with six great championship shows that were taped by ESPN for a series that will start Oct. 25.

The culmination of that series, however, won't play out until Dec. 13, when the four finalists in the PBA World Championship determined Friday night at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park -- reigning player of the year Wes Malott, Tom Smallwood of Saginaw, Bill O'Neill and Rhino Page -- meet at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kan., to fight for the title.

But the to-be-continued theme also applied to the overall event itself. Was it a success and will it be back next year?

"It was a great success, especially for an inaugural event," said Tom Clark, the PBA's visionary chief operating officer, who first proposed the WSOB.

Clark was particularly pleased by the number of international players who entered the events at Taylor Lanes and Thunderbowl, and with the increased traffic the WSOB generated for its Xtra Frame Internet entity, and, of course, the hundreds of thousands of dollars the PBA saved by not having to travel for six weeks.

Clark definitely wants to do it again, but now that the ice has been broken, there are other cities interested in hosting it next year.

Thunderbowl proprietor Tom Strobl hopes his center and Taylor Lanes will get first shot at it.

"We're definitely willing to do it again next year," Strobl said. "We hope to get together with the PBA later this fall to see what we can work out.

"It was a great experience, and I hope we can bring it back. Our leagues have been very supportive, and it would be nice for us and our 2,000 volunteers to have more time to prepare."