MANDAN, N.D. - In 1987, Jim Mellon had an idea to start a bowling tournament and to have the stepladder finals of that event televised live on television.
Mellon's vision is alive and going strong. This weekend, it's year number 32 for the KFYR-TV Budweiser Bowling Classic from Midway Lanes in Mandan.
"The tournament is full and we're ready to go. One hundred and twenty strong, nine past champions coming back, it's going to be big with a lot of big names coming in and we have 40 new entries in this year. Every year we cycle out of the 120 about 30 to 40 new ones and we just counted it up. We have 40 different players that we had last year so it's going to be fun," said Mellon, Midway Lanes.
"This is the high lite of the year for anybody who lives in Bismarck-Mandan or North Dakota. This is the biggest two-day, scratch tournament in the state and it means everything to most of the bowlers. It's a great event to bowl and it's wonderful to win and it's against very, very good competition and if you can make the top five in this one you're doing pretty good," said Jack Nelson, 3-Time champion.
After eight games on Saturday, only 32 will qualify to continue on Sunday. They will roll ten more games before reaching the television portion of the weekend. Mellon says to survive and advance, you better be able to make adjustments.
"About halfway through the lanes make a big transitional change to being dry. The ball's move the oil all over and if they don't know how to identify that quickly, change equipment, change spots, change speed, change releases they're not going to be here on Sunday. It's that tough. It's a tough tournament," said Mellon.
Mike Green is the defending champion.
Five guys have bowled 30 or more times in this tournament. They are: Dan Baille, Bruce Rauser, Jim Anderson, Duane Sandvick and Jack Nelson.
The stepladder finals of the KFYR-TV Budweiser Bowling Classic is Sunday at noon CST live from Midway Lanes in Mandan.