For Immediate Release
NEBA Contact: Becky Kregling
New England Bowler’s Association Celebrates Its Golden Anniversary
Holds Record Setting Tournament to Kick Off 50th Season of Monthly Scratch Events
East Hartford, Conn. (January 9, 2013) – The New England Bowler’s Association kicked off its 50th anniversary season with a record setting tournament at Silver Lanes in East Hartford, Conn. on January 5th and 6th, 2013. NEBA is America’s longest running USBC sanctioned monthly scratch tournament.
The event was NEBA’s 768th consecutive tournament. Founded in 1963, NEBA has been the stepping stone for many national champions and touring pros including Larry Litchstein, Paul Moser, Patrick Allen, Barry Warshafsky, Bill Spigner, Pete Couture, George LeCain, Brian Boghosian, Mike Fagan, Jimmy Pritts, Jr., Wayne Webb, and many others.
“We are incredibly proud to be continuing the fine tradition of NEBA,” said Tim Healy, newly elected President of NEBA and three-time titlist. “NEBA bowlers know they can find a professionally run event with great competition and lucrative prize funds due to our high entry counts and added sponsorship money. To still be active after 50 years is a testament to the great bowlers, sponsors, and supporters of NEBA.”
At the event, NEBA Champion Marcel Lessard emceed a ceremony honoring NEBA’s history, recognizing champions from all decades back to the 1960s, mentioning key events in NEBA’s evolution, and coordinating the tournament’s first-ball kickoffs. George Chicar, 91, long time NEBA fan and honorary member, threw out the first ball and scored nine. After that, 18 notable former champions including Larry Dube, George Tignor, oldest champion Butch Paternasto, Ed Roberts, USBC Masters Champion Brian Boghosian, former NEBA President and fourteen-time titlist Alex Aguiar, 1968 Champion Buddy Sequin, and first female titlist Jennifer Swanson threw out ceremonial first balls. Current and former officers were recognized for their service to NEBA. Parker Bohn III also addressed the crowd, citing the great bowlers that NEBA has produced, how the celebration reminded him of the PBA’s 50th celebration, and how the ceremony was an excellent way to honor NEBA’s past, present and future.
The event drew 300 entries and paid out a record $25,000 in prize money. 64 bowlers advanced to the match-play finals with two additional cash spots paid. The winner was Jon Van Hees from Charlestown, R.I., who collected $3,000 and his sixth title. The finals were televised by CPTV. Pictures from the event can be found here.
“This event was truly special,” said Healy. “To see all the past champions and officers recognized was exciting. We attracted 300 entries and had full squads. And I would especially like to thank our sponsors: Ebonite, Cambridge Credit Counseling, BuddiesProShop.com, High Roller, and the Bud Light Challenge.”
NEBA is rich with history. The organization was formed in 1962 in Worcester Mass. by a group of 38 bowlers from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, led by Al Javery, former pitcher for the Boston Braves. NEBA’s first tournament was in January of 1963 and had 137 entries. The entry fee was $10.00, and Joe Picanzo picked up $450 for first place. In 1965 NEBA hosted a tournament with 455 entries, a record that still stands. In 1968, NEBA held a tournament in Madison Square Garden, won by Bill Spigner.
NEBA opened up membership to women in 1991, and Jennifer Swanson, current NEBA Secretary/Treasurer Becky Kregling, and Amanda Beck have captured titles.
NEBA is now in its sixth decade of existence. Mike Litchstein, son of Larry, owns the most titles with 27. Four bowlers are in second place with 14 titles. Bill Webb owns the Bowler of the Year title race, having won his eighth BOY in 2012. Barry Warshafsky is the only bowler to have won titles across five decades. Larry Litchstein holds the record for most years between titles with 28.
NEBA’s format has remained virtually unchanged over its storied history. The three five-game qualifying squads and single game elimination match-play finals format has stood the test of time. NEBA also has a closely enforced dress code, requires players to sign score sheets, provides a full and public financial accounting of each tournament, and keeps detailed statistics on all tournaments and players. NEBA champions are recognized at the beginning of each squad and are the only bowlers allowed to wear white shirts. NEBA is run by and for the membership with elected officers and a full and active board of directors.
The event at Silver Lanes kicks off NEBA’s 50th Anniversary season. 22 events are planned throughout the New England area. Singles, doubles, and other special formats are planned. NEBA uses primarily Challenge shot patterns with an occasional Sport or Recreational pattern used. Commemorative white champion’s shirts will be awarded to all 2013 champions, and other memorabilia will also be available.
NEBA’s next tournament is the point-leaders invitational event at Silver Lanes on January 20th, 2013. The next regularly schedule event is on February 9-10, 2013 at Wonder Bowl in New Bedford, Mass.
NEBA is America’s longest running USBC sanctioned monthly scratch tournament. NEBA was formed in 1963 and is celebrating it s 50th anniversary in 2013. NEBA tournaments are professional managed and provide the best scratch competition in New England. NEBA is sponsored by Ebonite, Cambridge Credit Counseling, BuddiesProShop.com, High Roller, and the Bud Light Challenge. More information can be found at http://www.bowlneba.com.