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      December 30, 2002:

-ABC Tournament Team Entry Surpasses 12,000 Teams; Prize Fund Reaches $4.4 Million

12/30/2002 - Bowling Newsline
      GREENDALE, Wis. - Entries for the 100th American Bowling Congress Championships Tournament, scheduled for Feb. 8-June 22 at the Knoxville Convention Center in Knoxville, Tenn., have reached 12,060 teams, boosting the prize fund to more than $4.4 million.

      Based upon a $5 per-event entry fee increase that goes into effect with ABC's 100th Tournament, the field of more than 60,000 bowlers will compete for the second richest prize fund in history. With entries still being processed, it is possible the prize fund could eclipse the record of $4.5 million paid out in 1998 in Reno, Nev.

      The Knoxville event marks the first time in the ABC Tournament's 100-year history that 12,000 five-player teams have entered a Tournament held outside of Reno's National Bowling Stadium. Three previous Tournaments hosted by Reno's Stadium rank as the three largest in ABC history with 17,285 teams in 1995, 16,104 in 2001 and 15,925 in 1998. Knoxville surpassed the non-Reno entry record of 10,806 teams, which was set in 2002 in Billings, Mont., several weeks ago.

      The Enderlin Men's Bowling Association team from Enderlin, N.D., was the 12,000th team entered.

      "This is my first ABC Tournament," said team captain Jerry Lillejord. "The guys I'm bowling with bowled last year. They and told me how great it was and they convinced me to go."

      The world's largest participatory sports event will include men and women bowlers from all 50 states and several foreign countries. Competition includes team, doubles, singles and all-events categories in two average-based divisions.

      The record entry does not mean interested bowlers are locked out the Tournament. There are a number of teams looking to fill one or two spots to complete their rosters. Bowlers wishing to fill in on those teams should visit the abctournament.com Web site and click on the "sub board" line on the right side of the page. A limited number of doubles and singles spots also are available.

      Presenting sponsors of the 2003 ABC Tournament are the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation: Eldorado, Sliver Legacy and Circus Circus Hotels and Casinos in Reno, Nev. Other major sponsors include Pilot Corporation; Dollywood, the official Smokey Mountain entertainment destination; Calhoun's Taste of Tennessee, and Steve Ellis Tours.

      For more news and information on the ABC Tournament, visit www.abctournament.com.


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