Junior Gold youth national bowling tournament gets down to final qualifying event in Upper Peninsula

Steve Brownlee

It may or may not be their final chance, but youth bowlers shouldn’t take the risk if they can help it.

A Junior Gold qualifying tournament will be held at River Rock Lanes in Ishpeming on Sunday morning.

It’s an opportunity for teen bowlers — and a few that might only be 11 or 12 years old, along with some 20-year-olds — to grab a spot at the Junior Gold national tournament, which is coming to Michigan this summer in the Detroit metro area during mid-July.

There may be one more Upper Peninsula qualifier held in May, likely in Escanaba, according to Marquette County U.S. Bowling Congress President Pat Gingras, who has been the point man for several years with U.P. Junior Gold qualifiers. However, he said nothing has been set in stone yet.

So the only sure thing left is in Ishpeming this weekend.

It really doesn’t matter how many bowlers enter, since a ratio of about one in four gets to advance. The more bowlers show up, the more get to go to Detroit.

And with this tourney getting late in the season, you don’t have to directly compete — at least for national qualifying — with those bowlers who have already won their way downstate.

They include Keenan Johnson of Marquette, Brayden Vickstrom of Westwood, Dawsen Emanuelson of Ishpeming, Matthew Meyer of Gladstone, Brooke Fornetti of Iron Mountain (and currently Alma College) and brothers Jacob and Joshua Worthen of Escanaba.

They’re already qualified.

Some of these boys and girls — or young men and women — may still come to Ishpeming just for the competition and a chance to compete for what’s expected to be some scholarship funds also available that day.

They bowl on the always-tough sport shot, where accuracy and the reading of lanes is put at a premium, rather than pure power that the game often turns into on league conditions — or even with the pros on TV.

Registration will be held at 9:30 a.m. and bowling practice to commence at 10 a.m. sharp. Entry fee is $70 with a Junior Gold season membership also required at $34.

The last U.P. event held in Escanaba way back between Christmas and New Year’s had enough funds backing it up that organizers could award $100 scholarships to all 11 entrants in the event.

For more information, call Clay Sandberg at River Rock Lanes at 486-8000.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.