The first of more than 8,700 teams took the lanes Thursday as the 2007 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships began for the first time in the state of North Carolina.
Over the next three months more than 43,000 bowlers from across the country will descend upon the suburban Charlotte, N.C., area to take part in the Women's Championships, which is the largest participatory sporting event for women in the world.
Cheerleaders from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte helped usher in the Women's Championships for the 88th time. Bowlers on the opening team squads at Northcross Lanes also took part in the traditional mass ball shot to get things going.
"I really want the ladies to see what the South is all about and how friendly we are here," said USBC Director Tamoria Adams, who also serves as director of the Greater Charlotte Bowling Association. "If we can show everyone just how special this is for us and how much we appreciate them spending their time with us, then I know it will not only prove to be successful on a tournament level, but it will be successful for each and every woman who comes to Charlotte."
Local youth bowler Valerie Pittser, the 2005 Young American Bowling Alliance Female Youth Leader of the Year, helped kick off the festivities by throwing out the ceremonial first ball.
"It was so exciting to be a part of getting this event started," said Pittser, who was recently selected at the USBC Convention to serve a three-year term on the USBC Youth Committee. "I first heard about the championships coming here two years ago, and I can't believe it's finally here. We are all so proud and honored to host this event."
The Women's Championships will continue through July 2 at two suburban Charlotte bowling centers. Northcross Lanes will host team squads each day while doubles and singles competition will take place at AMF Carolina Lanes in Matthews, N.C.
The USBC Women's Championships are sponsored by Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Hotel/Casinos in Reno, Nev., as well as Kegel, the official lane maintenance provider.
For more information on the USBC Women's Championships, visit www.usbcwomenschampionships.com.
United States Bowling Congress
The United States Bowling Congress, as the national governing body, ensures the integrity and protects the future of the sport, provides programs and services to nearly three million adult and youth members and enhances the bowling experience.
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