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Junior Gold Bowling

The future of the sport of bowling lies with the youth programs and youth participation. Although it is volunteer work on the part of adults interested in seeing youth bowling grow, one program which has been extremely successful through the years is Junior Gold bowling. It all begins with becoming a youth league bowler and achieving a reasonable measure of success on the lanes.

No question the competition aspect in youth bowling as demonstrated by the Junior Gold bowling qualifying events and championship events are the incentive to keep the youth bowlers in America keen to remain in the sport. Other programs and tournaments which have been successful through the years dedicated to promoting youth bowling are high school leagues, youth tournaments such as YABA, Pepsi Junior Championships, state and county youth tournaments, and other such tournament events, all of which have been vehicles to promulgate the sport of bowling.

The USBC Junior Gold Championships is an annual national tournament for the top male and female youth bowlers in the United States. The tournament awards $125,000 in scholarships and youth bowlers also have the opportunity to earn a spot on Junior Team USA. Junior Gold qualifying events are held throughout the country and you must be a Junior Gold member to qualify for the national tournament.

To be a Junior Gold member, athletes must be a USBC Youth member, establish a minimum USBC Youth average of 150 for girls and 175 for boys, and purchase a Junior Gold membership prior to participating in Junior Gold qualifying tournaments. The Junior Gold Championships are held in a different city each summer. Youngsters start by bowling qualifying rounds on challenging lane conditions, not the normal, high scoring conditions found at most local bowling centers throughout the country.

After qualifying, bowlers making the cut bowl a round of semifinals and the top 16 boys and top 16 girls bowl round-robin match-play finals. To learn more about the Junior Gold program, details about the tournament format, how to enter, scholarships, rules, Junior Team USA and much more, check out the Junior Gold Handbook. salutes the volunteers and youth directors at local bowling center levels who invest time and resources to promote Junior Gold Leagues which are designed to prepare the bowlers for Junior Gold tournament competitions. These leagues are contested in a variety of formats including Junior Team USA Experience Leagues, Junior Gold Pro Challenge Leagues, and Junior Gold Scratch Singles, Doubles, and Trio Leagues. All of these league formats provide more than adequate preparation for participation in Junior Gold Championship events.

Gary Faulkner of Memphis, TN, and Natalie Jimenez of Rowland Heights, CA won national titles and claimed the top spots at the 2012 USBC Junior Gold Championships presented by Brunswick. Both players rolled to their respective victories at Sunset Station's Strike Zone in Henderson, Nevada with little drama down the stretch. They came out on top against 1,648 USBC Youth bowlers who started the week. Faulkner finished with a 46-game total of 10,241 (9-7 match play record) and Jimenez had a score of 9,819 (11-4-1).

The biggest youth bowling tournaments in the nation, the USBC Junior Gold Championships and the USBC Youth Open, will return to Indianapolis in 2012. Woodland Bowl, Western Bowl and Expo Bowl will be the host centers for Junior Gold with the semifinals and finals to be contested at Woodland Bowl. Expo Bowl will be the site of the Youth Open. The three centers played host to the events in 2009 and 2010.

The Junior Gold Championships will run July 14-20, 2012. The Youth Open is scheduled for July 13-29, 2012. The Western Bowl also will host the Survivor Tournament, a side event open to any USBC Youth bowler, in addition to Junior Gold qualifying.

The USBC Junior Gold Championships features the elite youth bowlers in the nation competing for national titles and spots on Junior Team USA. The tournament awarded $125,000 in scholarships to participants last year. The USBC Youth Open, which awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships last year, is the national championship for youth bowlers. The tournament is open to all USBC Youth members and there is no qualifying. It has four average-based divisions and bowlers are placed into a division based on skill, not age or gender. Each participant bowls nine games – three games each of singles, doubles and four-player team.

One thing which needs to be addressed is that the International Bowling Campus (IBC) is now the official title of the unified Youth Department which is jointly run by USBC and the BPAA (Bowling Proprietors Association of America). If you see future reference to IBC youth bowling, it simply refers to the former USBC Youth leagues, tournaments and programs in conjunction with the bowling proprietors who now have influence in Youth programs.

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