It appeared to be the normal pre-tournament setup but with a slightly different look Thursday ahead of the start of Saturday’s Storm Youth Championship Louisiana event at All Star Lanes in Baton Rouge.
For starters, the center’s 64-lane meeting room was noticeably crammed with Storm bowling balls and products every bowler receives. That meant more than 170 balls this 25-state field will have picked up in registration for this 15-game stipend event.
And right in the middle, USBC and PWBA Hall of Famer and tournament host Leanne Hulsenberg was packing swag bags. The holder of 27 professional titles and two majors, including a US Open win on specially constructed tracks at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Hulsenberg is doing her part to give back to a sport she loves dearly.
“When I was inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Hulsenberg said, “I was writing my speech and I realized that everything I have in my life, like all the people I wanted to thank, owed to bowling.” were. So everything in my life, my husband, my job, my career revolved around bowling and that’s when I really realized I wanted to give something back to the sport that has given me so much.”
Her husband Gary is Marketing Director at Storm Bowling and Leanne, who included a 1994 tour stop in Alexandria, also works for the company.
This monthly event, which opened its 2023 season in Las Vegas in February, will move to New York in April and on to places like Indianapolis, Louisville, Kentucky and more this year, started with a few tournaments in 2017 and eventually reached nine stops. A local family, the Yoches, who were bowling at another SYC event, suggested that Louisiana might be the place to bring the show, and so comes to All Star one of the biggest and most important youth bowling events, the our state has seen.
“(The tournaments) are consistent. You run on time. People know what to expect,” said Hulsenberg. “There is value for money because the entry includes a bowling ball. So if you don’t bowl well or don’t get a scholarship, you’ll get a $200 bowling ball with your entry. So the value of our listing is really good.”