The top 4,000-plus youth bowlers from every state in the country plus Puerto Rico and Costa Rica will compete in the 2022 Junior Gold Championships July 11-23 at eight bowling centers across West and Central Michigan, with 8,000 spectators watching. The 13-day event represents one of the largest sporting events for the region in terms of attendees, tournament length and economic impact.
Hosted by the West Michigan Sports Commission, Junior Gold is a first for West and Central Michigan. The event showcases bowlers in four age-based divisions for boys and girls – 12 and under (U12), 15 and under (U15), 18 and under (U18) and 20 and under (U20) – who will compete at four bowling centers in the Grand Rapids area, two in Muskegon and two in Lansing. This is only the second region of Michigan to host Junior Gold, with the event taking place in Detroit most recently in 2019.
"We've enjoyed tremendous success with our past Junior Gold Championships that were contested in Southeast Michigan,” International Bowling Campus Youth Development Managing Director Gary Brown said. “We’re looking forward to coming to a new part of the state, which also holds a rich tradition and history in the sport. It’s a great time of year to be in West Michigan, and we know our young athletes are looking forward to exploring all there is to do in the region when they’re not competing in one of the outstanding bowling centers that are hosting this premier event.”
The tournament has 4,000 registered athletes from 50 states (including 315 from Michigan), Puerto Rico and Costa Rica, plus European countries Germany, Italy, France, and the UK where American youth are stationed with the U.S. Armed Forces. The event is estimated to generate $7,361,967 in economic impact and 10,000 hotel nights booked at more than 30 hotel properties throughout the three participating cities (Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Lansing) with the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Grand Rapids as the host hotel. At 13 days long, the Junior Gold Championships represents one of the largest events hosted by the WMSC in terms of number of venues and number of consecutive days, outside of multi-sport, state games-type events.
“We are thrilled to host this prestigious national youth bowling championship that will bring thousands of young bowlers and their families to our region,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) who bid on and won this event. “The bowlers will spend only a few hours each day in competition, giving them a lot of time with their families to enjoy all that West Michigan has to offer while patronizing our local businesses.”
The U20 division will compete July 11-15, with all competitors bowling four four-game qualifying blocks over two days to determine the players moving on to the advancers round. Advancers will bowl an additional five games before a second cut is made, and a final five-game block will determine the 16 athletes in the boys and girls divisions advancing to the double-elimination match-play bracket. Bracket matches consist of two games, with total pinfall determining the winner. Three players emerge from bracket play to compete in the stepladder finals to determine the champion. The two finalists in the match-play bracket will bowl to determine the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds for the stepladder, while the winner of the Elimination Bracket will be the No. 3 seed. The championship rounds in the U20 division will be held July 15 at 9 a.m.
The three youth divisions (U12, U15, U18) start with practice sessions on July 15-17, followed by competition July 18-23. The U15 and U18 divisions feature the same format as the U20 division. The qualifying rounds will be contested over four days versus two days for U20. The U12 division also will have four four-game qualifying rounds over four days before the first cut is made, and advancers will bowl an additional four games to determine the top eight competitors for double-elimination match play.
Last year, the event awarded $500,000 in collegiate scholarships and is expected to equal or exceed that amount this year. Bowlers also will compete for spots on Junior Team USA and Junior Team USA’s Developmental Team.
The tournament takes place at eight bowling centers, listed below from east (Lansing) to west (Muskegon):
- Royal Scot Golf & Bowl, 4722 W. Grand River Ave., Lansing (U18 B)
- Spare Time Entertainment Center, 3101 E. Grand River Rd., Lansing (U18 G)
- AMF Eastbrook Lanes, 3500 Lake Eastbrook Blvd SE, Grand Rapids (U18 G)
- Fairlanes Bowling Center, 3335 Fairlanes Ave. SW, Grandville (U20 G, U15 G, U12 B)
- Spectrum Entertainment Complex, 5656 Clyde Park Ave. SW, Wyoming (U15 G, U12 B)
- Westgate Bowl, 4486 Alpine Ave. NW, Comstock Park (U18 B)
- Northway Lanes, 1751 Evanston Ave., Muskegon (U15 B, U12 G)
- Sherman Bowling Center, 1531 West Sherman Blvd., Muskegon (U20 B, U15 B, U12 G)
Related Bowling Events
The Junior Gold Trade Show is at DeVos Place July 15, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., and July 16, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Trade Show will feature Official Junior Gold merchandise, autograph stations for pro athletes, concessions and more than 50 collegiate vendors, in addition to athlete registration and spectator pass sales and pick-up. Athletes also are invited to Party in the Park July 17, 2-7 p.m. at Millennium Park Grant Pavilion, featuring a State Athlete Walk at 6 p.m. where two athletes from each state and/or territory will participate, with recognition for all athletes.
Other Bowling Tournaments
Three bowling tournaments operated by International Bowling Campus (IBC) and one by Greater Grand Rapids USBC Association take place during the Junior Gold at various venues, giving bowlers and their families a chance to visit one region and compete in multiple events.
- 2022 USA Bowling National Championships, July 13-14, AMF Eastbrook Lanes and Fairlanes Bowling Center – This team event is for U12-15 athletes, consisting of 16 teams for each age bracket. Bowlers must qualify to compete in this event.
- Bowling.com Youth Open Championships, July 13-15, 22-24 & 30-31, Spectrum Lanes – Open to all USBC Youth members, the Youth Open is a non-qualifying tournament so participants don’t need a certain average and have to qualify from a league or state tournament. Athletes can bowl in singles, doubles or as a team. This brings in more than 150 teams in addition to participants in Junior Gold.
- Adult Youth Baker Tournament, July 14-22, Northfield Lanes (operated by the Greater Grand Rapids USBC Association) – This event is open to all 2021-2022 certified USBC Youth members. All adult bowlers must be a USBC-certified member in good standing. This is a runoff event for the Junior Gold.
- Survivor Tournament, July 22-23, Sherman Bowling Center – This runoff event is a 2023 Junior Gold Qualifying Championship, and at least 1 in 5 will win spots in the 2023 Junior Gold Championships.
Volunteers are needed throughout the tournament at all locations in a variety of tasks – from athlete check-in, to lane spotting, to trade show staffing. Volunteers age 18 and older must undergo a background check and be SafeSport certified (fees will be covered by IBC). Following are links to volunteer in each region:
For more event information, visit bowl.com/juniorgold.
About the West Michigan Sports Commission
The non-profit West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) identifies, secures and hosts youth and amateur sporting events to positively impact the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 978 events attracting more than 1.7 million athletes and visitors, generating over $466 million in direct visitor spending. Visit westmisports.com, Facebook.com/WestMichiganSportsCommission and @westmisports on Twitter and Instagram for more information.
About International Bowling Campus
The International Bowling Campus (IBC) is the headquarters for the bowling industry and directly serves the more than 67 million bowlers in the United States. The IBC houses the resources of the United States Bowling Congress, the governing body and membership organization for the sport; the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, representing the business interests of bowling centers; IBC Youth Development; Strike Ten Entertainment, the marketing arm for the industry; the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame; the International Bowling Pro Shop and Instructors Association; the International Bowling Media Association; the Bowling News Network; the Billiard and Bowling Institute of America; Bowlers Journal International and Bowling Center Management, the industry’s premier magazines; and the International Training and Research Center. Visit bowl.com for more information.