I started NDBowling.com back in October of 2012. After spending another Sunday evening pondering the fact that all bowling tournaments were losing entries year to year, I came up with an idea to revolutionize bowling in North Dakota and the surrounding areas. I know what you are thinking, “Daren, how can a simple website revolutionize the sport of bowling?”. I know it seems far fetched, but the idea goes beyond being a simple website.
Two months after the launch of NDBowling.com, I stood on the concourse of North Hill Bowl in Minot awaiting the start of the 2012 10 Game Marathon. Like every other tournament, the 10 Game Marathon had suffered from the decline in bowling participation and the weak economy. By 2011, the tournament was averaging a shade over 30 entries per season. When I was in high school (01-05), the tournament regularly drew over 70 entries. For many, this tournament was a must each season. On that day in 2012, however, I was shocked. As bowlers kept walking through the door, people kept wondering what was going on. It was a welcoming sight, but an unusual one at that. As I walked down the concourse a good friend of mine crossed paths with me and said, “can you believe this turnout?”. I was just as shocked as him, but that’s when it hit me. I turned around and said, “I know what it is, it’s the NDBowling.com effect”. I will admit, when I said it I was half joking because at that time there were still many doubters when it came to NDBowling.com being a success.
That brings me to today. It has been almost 2 years since the launch of NDBowling.com. I decided to look back on the tournaments that have been covered by NDBowling.com to see what the trend in entries have been. Here were the results:
Ten Game Marathon – Minot, ND
2012 – 58 Bowlers
2013 – 62 Bowlers
King of the Hill – Minot, ND
2012 – 30 Bowlers
2013 – 42 Bowlers
Hemi-Bowl – Minot, ND
2013 – 45 Bowlers
2014 – 46 Bowlers
Super Bowl Doubles – Mandan, ND
2013 – 29 Doubles Teams
2014 – 37 Doubles Teams
NDBPA State Scratch Doubles
2012 – 24 Doubles Teams (The Bowler in Fargo)
2013 – 24 Doubles Teams (Million Dollar Lanes in Williston)
NDBPA State Scratch Team
2012 – 15 Teams (Buffalo Lanes in Jamestown)
2013 – 17 Teams (Sunset Lanes in Moorhead)
CMA Memorial Shootout – Minot, ND
2013 – 126 Bowlers
2014 – 135 Bowlers
I understand that many things factor into the amount of bowlers attending each event such as weather conditions, time of year, and location among many others, but the numbers don’t lie. Entries have increased in most events since the launch of NDBowling.com. I know many bowling regulars could also tell you that, within those entries, many new faces have been seen at these tournaments as well.
So what does it all mean? The NDBowling.com effect goes beyond being the result of a simple website. When I created NDBowling.com, many thought it would be a simple website designed to inform bowlers of when tournaments are and where they were at. That was true, but I had bigger plans. I wanted NDBowling.com to be a way of creating a passion among bowlers. I wanted the site to motivate bowlers to practice, create goals, and instill a winning attitude in the minds of bowlers and fans of bowling.
I feel like bowling has gone away from the passion of simply wanting to win. Our world revolves around money and that has become especially true around the sport of bowling. Bowlers won’t attend an event if it doesn’t pay out enough. Bowlers won’t attend events if the travel costs are too high. While these are all understandable reasons, do bowlers simply not attend an event because of what it means to win? Before NDBowling.com, winning an event meant you took home a decent amount of money and that was about it. Many soon forgot about the tournament and would go on to the next one. With NDBowling.com, bowlers are recognized for their accomplishments. Winners are tracked via the NDBowling.com History page. Tournament recaps make it easy for bowlers and fans of bowling to relive the great moments of the past, and tracking NDBowling.com Major Championships give some of the best bowlers in our state something to shoot for. Also, with NDBowlTV, bowlers will now have a chance to be featured on live stream telecasts which will be archived for viewers to watch whenever they want.
Ultimately, I feel as though if I provide bowlers with opportunities to experience small moral victories, such as earning NDBowling.com Team of the year honors, reaching an NDBowlTV live stream telecast, or reaching a certain point on the NDBowling.com Scratch Players Ranking System, that bowlers will become more driven and motivated to practice and simply want to win. The passion and drive to win will lead many more bowlers to tournaments. I call this the NDBowling.com Effect.
I challenge all bowlers to visit our Upcoming Events page and enter into a tournament that you have never been to before. Also, enter the NDBowling.com Tour and Scratch Players Ranking System and see how you stack up among the regions best. Its just like in golf. Its a frustrating game for many, but all it takes is that one shot where you hole out from the bunker for birdie and you are back playing rounds of golf for several weeks after. Give yourself a chance to experience that thrill. NDBowling.com has given you the opportunity.