Bowl Opinion- September 2016
By Jim Goodwin
Recently, CJ and I were back in Las Vegas, staying at our favorite place, the South Point Hotel, Casino, Bowling Center, and Tournament Arena. With 124 lanes under the same roof, no one in the world offers a better or more versatile venue for bowling than South Point.
Owner Michael Gaughan and Bowling Director Mike Monyak are rightfully proud of the facility, and after getting through the first major USBC Tournament over the past few months, they can relax a little and get ready for the next one.
But we know that Mike and Mr. Gaughan would not rest for long. They are already making improvements getting ready for future events.
By all accounts, the USBC Women's Championships was a tremendous success, and the
6100 teams that participated received first class treatment every day of the event from South Point.
"It was a very good event," said Monyak. "It was a learning curve on both sides as we melded our two systems, but we anticipated that and got through it very well. The USBC staff - James, Chip, Kathy, Robin, and all the rest were a pleasure to work with; very open minded, and we enjoyed the event. It was long hours and hard work, but it was also fun. "
Anyone who knows Monyak also knows he is a hands-on manager, and during the weeks of the event, he spent the majority of his days in the Arena. "I have a great staff on the bowling center side, so I was able to be there for the USBC and the women in the Arena. "It was so much fun seeing the women's teams, many of them in their matching outfits, enjoying the competition and the facility. I think the women are keeping the traditions of the past alive more than the men with their shirts and in other ways, and that seems like a good thing."
The event began with a fancy opening ceremony. Monyak shared that South Point's GM Greg Moore deserved most of the credit for making it special. "Greg did a great job, and our owner Michael Gaughan and USBC's Chad Murphy were happy, so that made us happy."
As I said, the good folks at South Point
will not sit on their laurels after a big success like the USBC Women's Championship. They listen to their customers, and are already making plans to make sure that future events big and small have the best experience possible.
One major improvement for the bowlers lucky enough to visit the Arena in 2017 and beyond will be "People Movers" - moving walkways like the ones you see at airports to get bowlers and those heavy bowling balls for point A to B in a hurry and without strain on the back.
If you have been there, you know that there is a veeeeery long carpeted corridor leading to the Bowling Arena; not the ideal surface for transporting those double and triple ball rollers, and if you have shoulder bags - forget about it! (my inner New Yorker just slipped out)
Solution - install moving walkways leading all the way to the escalators that go up to the arena. South Point is spending more than a million bucks to get this done before the USBC Open Championships roll in February. And we know the women who participated this year will really appreciate it when they return for their next event at the Arena in 2020.
Another improvement to be added soon is a food vendor in the Bowling Arena area to serve a light breakfast to bowlers who draw those early squads.
Details, details, details. Bowlers, rest assured that the great people at South Point are paying attention to your needs and input.
South Point will host the USBC Open Championships February 15 through July 9 next year, and again in 2019. After that, they will host six more - a total of nine USBC major events over the next dozen years; and perhaps many more after that.
Aside from the USBC events, Monyak and his outstanding staff will welcome many more tournaments. This month, The National Bowling Association will hold its Tri-Senate event there, followed by the ABT National Championships. The PBA Team Champion- ships will roll in November, followed by the U.S. Open. They also host Brad Edelman's Military Championships.
Mike Monyak shared that he is expecting the South Point Bowling Arena to be active for more than 300 days in 2017.
While we did have a chance to sit down
with Monyak on our most recent trip to glitter gulch, our main reason was to enjoy a five day vacation and share it with our daughter Heather and her new husband Mike.
We planned the trip a few weeks ago, and Heather and Mike, who have been together for more than two years, surprised us with a plan to tie the knot during our stay. Why not? Vegas is a great place for a marriage and a honeymoon, and we really en- joyed it and appreciated that we were asked to be a part of such a special part of their lives. We were moved - emotionally and otherwise. Heather and Mike said their vows in the little chapel in downtown Vegas where Elvis and Priscilla, and many more famous people were joined together. They had photos on the walls of some of the famous couples married there, including Betty White and Allen Ludden and Frank Sinatra and Mia
Farrow and others.
After the wedding, we spent the next four days as typical Vegas tourists. We celebrated the event at the wonderful Silverado Steak House at the South Point, visited the famous strip several times; made our way through Caesar's Forum Shops, rode the High Roller Ferris Wheel and saw the auto collection at the Linq. We watched the Bellagio fountain show from the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris. Two of us (guess which two) were brave enough to ride the Big Apple Roller Coaster at New York New York.
A couple of personal encounters made the trip even more interesting. While visiting the Martin Lawrence Art Gallery at Caesars, we were greeted by a very distinguished looking gentleman who had an amazing knowledge of the gallery and of many of the incredible painting and sculptures. Could it have been Mr. Lawrence himself? We are guessing it was.
While visiting Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage, we encountered Siegfried Fischbacher himself. CJ and Heather took a photo with him, and for some reason, he took a personal interest in CJ and gave her one of his 'good luck' coins and told her she would find luck very soon. They had a very nice conversa- tion during which he said that he thought she was a woman with a "very loving heart" - a perfect description. A couple of days later, she made his prediction come true by hitting a royal flush on a poker machine. An even bigger stroke of luck was losing her purse and finding it in the casino security office a few minutes later with everything still in it, proving that there are honest people every- where. You may have seen some of this on CJ's facebook page.
Another highlight of the trip was introducing Heather and Mike to our dear friends Jeanette Robinson and Dick Porter. We are truly blessed to know them, and it was wonderful to share a lunch and spend some time with them again. Article was posted with permission from Stars & Strikes, America's Bowling Newsmagazine. www.starsandstrikesbowling.com