Nestled just off of Route 113 is one of the premier bowling centers in Sussex County — Millsboro Lanes — which will be hosting a regional Professional Bowling Association qualifying event this Friday, Sept. 21, through Sunday, Sept. 23.
It is an event they’ve hosted in the past, and that is a testament to the job that Jess Dalton and her father, Scott Smithson — the center’s manager — do in operating Millsboro Lanes.
“We host the PBA regional Over-Under Tournament annually in September,” Dalton — who is the center’s marketing manager — said of the tourney, which features bowlers from the pro tour. “This is a doubles event where one bowler is under 50 years old, and the other is over 50. The weekend includes pro-am events for local bowlers to be paired with the pros, both youth and adults.”
The weekend kicks off with the Pro-Am events on Friday before qualifying on Saturday for the showcase on Sunday.
There are several professionals who will be attending this year, include Danny Wieman, Anthony Pepe, Sammy Ventura, Greg Ostrander, John Furey, Sam Maccarone, Danny Wiseman, Brandon Hinderer and Joe Paluszek.
Returning champions John Conroy and Alex Cavagnaro will be hoping to defend their title from last year.
Local bowlers entering the tournament include Tim Foy Jr., Josh Schmehl, Mike Hastings, Pete Bryan, Bryan Knauer, George Banks, Stanley Waite, Dustin Weller and Jay Boyle.
The schedule for the weekend features practice sessions on Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. The youth Pro-Am begins at 5 p.m., and the adult edition takes over at 7 p.m.
“The Pro-Am tournaments are where the professionals bowl as event with amateurs,” Dalton explained. “The youth are bowling for a guaranteed $250 scholarship, and the adults are bowling for a cash prize fund. Currently, we have almost 40 entries in both divisions.”
On Saturday, there will be two sessions of action, kicking off at 8 a.m. with the A Squad bowling eight games; then, at 2:30 p.m. the B Squad will follow with another eight games. The Saturday action is the qualifying rounds for Sunday’s showdown.
The Sunday spectacle will commence at 8:30 a.m. with the Rounds of 5-12. The Round of 8 begins around 10:30 a.m. The semifinals follow at 12:30 p.m., before the finals wrap up the weekend at 2:30 p.m. All rounds will be in best-of-three formats.
The qualifying and all of the finals will be live streamed on the Millsboro Lanes Facebook page all weekend.
There is no admission cost for spectators.
Center hosts hundreds of local bowlers each week
The center is also a hotspot for locals to hit to the lanes for leagues, fun or clinics.
“Millsboro Lanes is home to close to 1,000 bowlers, between seniors, adult and youth bowlers,” Dalton added of the bowling center. “Most any day, you can stop in and see all skill levels practicing or competing in leagues.”
The youth program at Millsboro Lanes has also continuously grown as people look for other sports to get their children involved in.
“The youth program has 100+ kids ages 3-19 that compete locally and nationally for scholarships,” Dalton said. “Last year, the youth league gave out over $500 in scholarship money to its league bowlers, and they won even more than that in tournaments.”
The lanes also play host to several other special events, including college-level tournaments.
“We host University of Maryland-Eastern Shore’s Hawk Classic college tournament in November, which draws teams from all over the country,” Dalton added. “We host various local and state tournaments throughout the season as well.”
For those just looking for fun and games, Millsboro Lanes is the spot as well.
“We have hosted birthday parties, family reunions, office holiday parties, guys’ weekend of bowling and so much more,” Dalton noted.
The center’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and then Sunday from noon to 11 p.m.
For more information, contact Jess Dalton at the Millsboro Lanes at (302) 934-0400, or check out the website at www.millsborolanes.com.
By Jason Feather