Come Rain or Shine…International Bowl Expo 2008 Once Again Wows Attendees in Orlando
ARLINGTON, Texas - Despite bowling centers and bowling industry suppliers battling economy woes, rising travel costs, as well as natural disasters in various parts of the country, International Bowl Expo 2008 (IBE08) experienced another exciting turnout by bowling center owners, managers/staff and exhibiting companies. IBE08 continued to receive high marks from bowling industry leaders, suppliers, manufacturers and attendees as thousands gathered in Orlando, Fla. June 22 - 26 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort Hotel along with the Orange County Convention Center.
Contingencies from BPA of Canada, the European Bowling Proprietors’ Association, the Japanese Bowling Proprietors Association, as well as numerous industry colleagues from Australia, South America, Mexico, Middle East, Russia, and Southeast Asia among many other countries were also in attendance. Online registration for the IBE 2008 continued to be a popular avenue for registrants with hundreds of Bowl Expo attendees signing up through International Bowl Expo’s official website, www.bowlexpo.com. IBE 2008 also welcomed back the Bowling Writers Association of America’s annual conference, the IBPSIA Annual Conference and USBC Coaching Summit along with the Annual Armed Forces Bowling Conference mostly held at Orlando’s International Plaza Resort Hotel.
The 2008 trade show presented attendees with a lively exhibit floor comprised of a range of new and standard products and services available to the bowling industry. Thousands of bowling center, military, pro shop and other bowling-related operators spread throughout the Orange County Convention Center exhibit floor, which was sponsored by Pepsi-Cola, the official soft drink of bowling, on Wednesday and Thursday in search of the industry’s most current and innovative products and services. Overall reports from IBE Exhibitors reported a rewarding experience in trade show floor sales. Many Pro Bowlers appeared all over the show floor signing autographs while an increase in trade show activities kept buyers on the trade floor throughout both exhibit days.
Monday, June 23rd was also very busy as the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA) conducted their annual membership breakfast meeting. BPAA member delegates welcomed their new President, Jim Sturm of Dunbar Bowling Center in Dunbar, W. V. and elected the balance of new officers to their first one-year term, John Snyder of Thunder Bowl Lanes in Alpena, Mich. as Vice President, Cathy DeSocio of The JOMA Company in Wichita, Kan. as Secretary and Tom Martino of Majestic Lanes in Hopelawn, NJ as Treasurer. Also elected to two-year term at-large director seats were Dave Bardon of Elkhart Lake, WI, Nancy Baum Schenk of Fayetteville, NC and Jim Stubler of Peru, IL. New Regional Directors included Illinois Region - Bob Crawford, Ohio Region - Bob Smith, New York Region - Joe LaSpina, Southwest Region - Rick Goins, Southeast Region - Kevin Krauss, West Central Region - Mike Warring and Northwest Region - Wally Studer. BPAA also honored outgoing President Joe Schumacker as well as unveiled the new joint BPAA-USBC youth branding initiative, Bowlopolis® that saw more than 250 centers sign up to run the program during IBE08 alone, not including Army, AMF and Brunswick who are considering it for their centers.
In addition, Monday’s meeting marked the recognition posthumously of Ed Zitnik, past BPAA Officer and Military Bowling Program liaison from Bell Wick Bowl, Hubbard, Ohio as the 2008 President’s Medal recipient, Bruce Davis, marketing "guru", received the 2008 V. A. Wapensky Award, Minnesota State BPA Executive Director Kenn Rockler was presented the 2008 Ruben A. Dankoff Legislative Award and Carmen Salvino, renowned professional bowler received the 2008 BPAA/Dick Weber Bowling Ambassador Award. Wally Hall, BPAA Past President and Hall of Famer received the 2008 Special Projects Award. In addition, several of the BPAA Golden Pin (Best Practices) and Proprietors of the Year recipients were recognized. Several educational seminars were also held on Monday, including an educational keynote session presented by Jones Loflin, speaking on "Juggling Elephants - Success without Getting Squashed!"
On Monday evening, everyone enjoyed a Welcome Reception sponsored by newly acquired Diamond-level Sponsor Anheuser-Busch featuring the Fourth Annual "International" Bowling Karaoke SuperStar Finals, presented by The Lighting & Sound Karaoke Store, where 8 regional finalists performed in front of a prestigious panel of judges and hundreds of IBE 2008 attendees vying for the $5,000 top prize. Julianne Bouwens, who qualified at Fairlanes Bowling Center in Michigan and won the regional contest at Michigan’s Ford Lanes, came away the winner of the very entertaining contest.