"It is expensive for anyone who can't drive to get there, but once you are there, it is very inexpensive and convenient. The hotels are cheap or free (if you gamble enough), you can walk from the downtown hotels to the Stadium and there are free shuttles from the airport to the hotels so a rental car isn't necessary. And there are plenty of decent and inexpensive dining options in the downtown area."
I live less than 150 miles from the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, NV, but I've bowled there only a couple of times. And even though I've been bowling leagues and tournaments for 46 years and lived in Sacramento for 6 1/2 years, I've never bowled the USBC Open Championships. I explain some of my reasons for this in this recent blogpost.
This year I had a chance to bowl the Open for free. Some guy on a Wichita team had to drop out at the last moment but had already paid his fees. I could have bowled in his place for just the price of gas to get myself to the Stadium and for lodging to stay there overnight. I declined. In a nutshell, I didn't want to inflict my lousy bowling on a team and doubles partner.
I also haven't bowled well at the Stadium, even on easier conditions. I'm very impressed by the size and majesty of the place, but there are things about it I don't like, including the ball returns. Also, I don't want to bowl there in the colder months, because I don't want to drive over treacherous mountain passes in the snow. Had I agreed to bowl for the Wichita guys, I would have had to "chain up" and drive in the snow during a winter that lasted almost all the way through spring.
Still, I'm glad that the Open has taken place in nearby Reno the past couple of years. I may still go take a gander at it one of these weekends before it's over this year. And I hope it comes back sometime in the future. The great Jeff Richgels posted an article to his blog about upgrades Reno officials are looking to make to the Stadium to book future USBC Opens there. Here are some of Richgel's suggestions:
"As for the Stadium improvements, here's a small wish list: a ball service of some sort that gets balls from the front entrance and/or parking areas to the locker room area without having to lug them, more space in the settee area, ball returns pulled back off the approaches, and a wireless system that will enable on-demand webcasting. I could list another dozen things but that's a start."
I hope they're able to do all of this and more, especially the suggested improvements to the ball returns. It's high time the National Bowling Stadium, of all places, gets those ungainly ball returns off the approaches altogether and helps usher in the day that they disappear from all the approaches of all respectable bowling centers.
You can read all of Jeff Richgels' informative article here.