MUSCATINE, Iowa — Professional bowlers from all over the Quad Cities area have a new regional tournament to compete in.
The 1st annual PBA Mike Berlin Midwest Classic was held Sunday, Oct. 10. at the Rose Bowl bowling alley in Muscatine.
Bowler Laurie Lanfier organized the tournament in honor of the legendary pro-bowler Mike Berlin, who has since retired and currently spends his time coaching youth.
“He's got an accolade of tournaments and championships that he's won, and not many people know that … I just wanted to bring it to light," Lanfier said.
The Berlin tournament is one of the first in the Midwest that allows women to compete.
"It’s the first time it's ever been in the Midwest that I've been aware of, and it feels absolutely amazing," Kayla Crawford, PBA Mike Berlin Women's Midwest Classic winner, said.
Before the tournament, Berlin and other bowling greats held a pro-am game with youth players. Berlin said he hoped it inspired them to continue bowling as they grow up.
“(I'm) trying to give back what I've done and what I've learned over the years and hopefully show some of the younger bowlers things that I know that can help them," Berlin said.
Winners Crawford and Nick Decesaro said there was real competition at Sunday's tournament.
“It was pretty hard," Crawford said. "The lanes played a little bit different today, and it got a little tricky at the end. But I just tried to stay within myself, make my spares and do the best I could."
Saturday's qualifying games also proved difficult.
"(It was) really hard yesterday in qualifying, and it was all about making spares and just grinding it out," Decesaro said.
Both winners expressed excitement for the opportunity to work with successful professional bowlers they admired.
“Like when you're younger, you always look up. I've always wanted to be a professional bowler so looking up to the greats and then finally getting to meet them, it's very inspiring," said Crawford.
Decesaro said the experience of bowling with his "idols" was "unbelievable."
The tournament was a two-day competition.
Berlin said the tournament hopes to par women and men in 2022.