The Northern Bowlers Association begins its 30th season overall this year, and its fifth under the leadership of tournament director Karl Bieber of Albany and a board of directors consisting of Schenectady’s Bill Buell, Mechanicville’s Ray Evans and South Bethlehem’s Russ Hunter.

The organization almost folded following the completion of the 2002-2003 season due to a lack of entries and the departure of its long-time tournament director. There were enough people, however, who felt it was important to keep the NBA a vital part of the Capital Region bowling community to ensure that the scratch bowler would continue to have a Sunday morning outlet for competition regardless of what else was going on in the area.

There were 10 tournaments that 2003-2004 season, a dramatic decrease from past seasons, and this bowling season there will be seven events.

The goal has always been and remains to serve the bowlers best, and that means not making them choose one event over the other. As a result, the Capital Region’s best bowlers have an outlet for competition and the opportunity to win some pretty good money nearly every weekend of the bowling season. By keeping its number of tournaments to seven this season, the NBA hopes to ensure the success of each event by offering an attractive prize fund and a relatively quick five-game sweeper format.

The Albany Bowling News will again sponsor the NBA’s first event of the season Oct. 21 at 10 a.m. at Town n’ Country Lanes in Guilderland, and the NBA’s Stockade Open, which will likely boast a $1,000 first-place prize based on 50 entries, will return to Boulevard Bowl in Schenectady Nov. 25. Hometown Lanes in Mechanicville (Dec. 23) and Sunset Recreation in Albany (Jan. 20, 2008) will also host tournaments, and on Feb. 10 the NBA will return to Sportsman’s Bowl in Schenectady. Its final regular season event will be March 30 at Hi-Roc Lanes in Saratoga Springs, with the Bob Guild Memorial Championships set for April 13 at Del Lanes. All the tournaments begin at 10 a.m. with the exception of the event at Sunset (1:30 p.m.) and Del ( 1 p.m.).

The NBA has been able to increase its prize fund through the generosity of sponsors such as The Daily Gazette, The Albany Bowling News, Mike’s Restaurant, Mohawk Honda and DiCocco’s Stop n’ Go, as well as several other local businesses. Their continued support is absolutely necessary to the success of the NBA and we intend to highlight these businesses on this Web site throughout the season.

The Capital Region has long been a hotbed of bowling since the sport became popular in the middle of the 20th century, and it is our goal to maintain and even enhance that status. Already, NBA events have attracted bowlers from beyond the Capital Region, including the Binghamton area and throughout New England, and we welcome them. More entries mean more prize money and bigger and better events.

In regards to lane conditions, the NBA strives to keep a competitive and low-scoring condition for all its events, similar to the shot put down in PBA tournaments. This doesn’t always happen as perfectly as planned, but the general consensus of the board is that easy conditions are bad for bowling and that “shootouts” week after week after week will have a negative impact on the competition.