Are you tough enough to bowl with the modern-day equivalent of the action player?
Bowling sharpshooters from around the country are coming to town for the Grand Boot Hill Weekend that begins at Fox Bowl in Wheaton Friday night.
The showpiece event of the three-day event, the 24th Annual Grand Boot Hill, offers a $20,000 guaranteed first prize to the winner. Schaumburg, Ill.’s Walt Schaub walked off with the big money last year, outlasting two other Illinois bowlers – Jake Peters of Decatur and Anthony Jordan of Sycamore — in the final match.
The GBH format is simple. Bowlers compete in one of two age divisions: 39 and under, and 40 and over. Qualifying squads run Saturday, June 11, at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m.
Each entrant in Saturday’s squad bowls three games, and one of three bowlers in each age division advances. Those bowlers immediately roll two more games. This time, one of two advances from each age group to the finals, which begin Sunday at 2 p.m.
The process repeats for Sunday’s 10 a.m. qualifying squad. All bowlers who advance to the finals will take home at least $750.
In the finals, half the bowlers from each age group advance from one round to the next until the field is narrowed to the last three or four bowlers. They square off in a one-game showdown for the $20K.
(A format change this year calls for Round 3 to consist of two games, not one as was the case in 2010. Players live or die on the strength of one game in each succeeding round through the final match.)
In addition to the Grand Boot Hill, the June 10-12 weekend offers bowlers three high-paying sweepers. Bowlers can sign up for the 7 p.m. and/or 9:30 p.m. squads in the Friday night three-game sweeper, which offers a $1,500 first prize.
Two sweepers on Saturday – a six-gamer at 9 a.m. and a five-gamer with stepladder finals at 6:30 p.m. – boast first prizes of $4,000.
For those who like to lay it on the line and compete on their own merits, without benefit of handicap pins, the rewards can be handsome. Last year’s payout in the GBH alone came to $57,800 (including side pots and brackets).
“We get the better bowlers from around the country,” said tournament director Woody Demma. “The biggest complaint we hear is that the field is too tough. If you enjoy competition with good bowlers, this is it. They come for the tough conditions, the tough competition, and the guaranteed prize list.”
This is the second year that Fox Bowl is hosting the GBH Weekend. Demma says entries for the main event should “be very close” to last year’s total, which was 113. Walk-ins will be accepted for all sweeper and qualifying squads as long as spots remain available.
Entry fees, tournament rules and special prize information are all available online at www.boothillbowling.com. Contact Demma via email at Woody@boothillbowling.com or by phone at 847-955-1993.