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Update: Splitting field into 2 squads, extra day among COVID-19 measures for 2020 South Point Senior Shootout

JEFF RICHGELS | Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2020 8:00 pm

Update Aug. 6, 2020:

As with any tournament held amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the question was not if the South Point Senior Shootout might adopt any mitigation measures, but what they might be.

The answer came Thursday in this email from tournament director Ron Mohr:

Senior Shootout Competitors,

As COVID-19 lingers, we believe it is incumbent on us to develop contingency formats for 2020 South Point Senior Shootout events based on the assumption local and state-mandated social distancing requirements will still be in effect in November.  Listed below are the significant changes likely to be implemented:

  1. Reduce the Steve Cook’s Bowling Supply Sweeper on Monday, November 16 to a maximum of 75 players (67 entries as of this message)
  2. Divide the Senior Shootout practice session on Monday into two squads: A Squad 2:00 to 4:00 PM and B Squad 5:00 to 7:00 PM.  30 lanes (every other pair) will be used for the first hour of each 2-hour practice session and the unused 15 pairs will be used for the second hour.  The Player Orientation will be conducted at 4:30 between practice sessions.
  3. Conduct the qualifying rounds for the Challenge Events on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (November 17-19) in two 6-game squads of 90 players each, with the first squad starting at 9:00 AM and the start time for the second squad to be determined
  4. Select the players advancing to each Challenge Event finals through a combination of per-squad and combined-squad qualifiers.  For example, in the Turbo Challenge on Monday 10 players plus 2 Super Seniors from each squad (24 total) advance to the finals, and the 28-player finals field is filled with next 2 players plus 2 Super Seniors from combined A and B squads.
  5. Conduct the Finals for all three Challenge Events on Friday, November 20.  The proposed time and number of finalists for each Challenge event is:
    1. 8:00 AM - Turbo Challenge: 28 finalists
    2. 1:00 PM - 900 Global Challenge: 16 finalists
    3. 5:00 PM - Haynes Bowling Supply: 24 finalists
  6. Extend the Senior Shootout by one day with the 32-player Logo Infusion Championship conducted on Saturday, November 21. 
  7. Limit the South Point Bowling Plaza to Senior Shootout players only.  Unfortunately, no spectators may be allowed in the Bowling Plaza throughout the week.

As originally planned, with a full field of 180 players all three Challenge Events AND the SPSS Championship will each pay 62 places (top 52 plus 10 Super Seniors).  The Championship also pays an additional four $250 prizes to the top Super Duper Seniors (age 70 and above) that do not otherwise cash in the Championship.  The Senior Shootout web site has been updated to show squad assignments as well as the revised event formats and schedule.

We’d like to extend a special Thank You to Noel Vazquez and Genesis for not only providing squad room supplies (ball cleaner, polish, etc.) but also making their new disinfectant available at no cost to Senior Shootout competitors.  The Senior Shootout staff sincerely hopes the proposed modifications and extended schedule works for all 180 players presently confirmed in the 2020 South Point Senior Shootout.  Please advise if you have a change of plans.

Not mentioned in the email is the always hot topic of masks. Mohr said in a message that currently “masks are required at South Point although we pull them down below the nose on the approach. My best guess is something similar will still be in place” in November.

Of course, predicting the course of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult beyond the short term, as all of us collectively control its course by our actions.

As I wrote earlier, I entered the tournament the day entries opened last November. My girlfriend Susie and I plan to drive to Vegas for the SPSS.

Update July 15, 2020:

The South Point Senior Shootout presented by Logo Infusion said in an email that the tournament remains scheduled for Nov. 16-20. The Senior Shootout sold out in January and, with no withdrawals to date, the field remains at 180.

Ron Mohr said in the email that "Ideally by November any virus-related restrictions will have eased and the Senior Shootout can be conducted normally. Over the next few weeks we’ll be in discussions with Mike Monyak, South Point Director of Bowling, to review available options if event modifications are necessary to accommodate COVID-19 limitations."

Update April 18, 2020:

The South Point Senior Shootout presented by Logo Infusion said in an email that the tournament remains scheduled for Nov. 16-20. The Senior Shootout sold out in January and, with no withdrawals to date, the field remains at 180.

Update Feb. 5, 2020:

According to the roster posted here, the 2020 South Point Senior Shootout is full with 180 players, and there is a standby list. Last year, many players got in off the standby list, so do sign up if you desire to compete.

Last Tuesday morning when I opened the South Point Senior Shootout website seeking the results from Monday’s Cooks’ Bowling Supply Sweeper to write them up, an entry form for the 2020 SPSS popped up.

So I filled out the form and paid, becoming the first entry for the 2020 SPSS, other than those who had paid for the 2019 tournament, couldn’t make it, and carried their entry fees over to 2020. (The entry fee is $750 until Jan. 1, when it rises to $800. I paid $775 because I used a credit card.)

Although I get less competitive every year, there is not a better-run tournament outside of the PBA, and it's great for us non-superstar raisins because it bans anyone with three or more PBA Tour and/or PBA50-Tour titles who are age 50 to 62, with no title restrictions for 63 and older.

Most important, it is a week in Las Vegas at South Point Casino Resort and its fabulous Bowling Plaza, renewing friendships with so many great people I see way too little of.

The World Series-like format is a fun grind, the lane patterns are challenging, and the SPSS has great sponsors: South Point Hotel, Casino, and Bowling Plaza, Logo InfusionStorm ProductsTurbo 2-N-1 GripsHaynes Bowling Supply, Steve Cook’s Bowling Supply, Sun City West, Western Trust Wealth Management, Genesis, Kegel, and Arizona realtor Lona King. 3G Bowling Shoes' sponsorship enables the tournament to be webcast by BowlStreamTV.

Tournament director Ron Mohr said the 2019 SPSS webcasts enjoyed more than 20,000 hours of viewership in more the 25 countries, and more than 300,00 impressions.

The 2020 SPSS presented by Logo Infusion will be the fifth annual when it is held at South Point Bowling Plaza next Nov. 16-20 (yes, a week later on the calendar than this year).

Mohr said that the formats would remain the same, with changes being considered including increasing the size of the field for the Steve Cook’s Bowling Supply sweeper from 75 to 120, and re-oiling the lanes for the Haynes Bowling Supply Match Play Round. "With the increase from 5 to 6 players per pair during qualifying and no re-oil for the Match Play Round, it became readily apparent the condition breakdown was greater than desired," Mohr said in his email to competitors after the tournament.

He also said the three daily Challenge tournament prize lists (with a full field of 180) would change from 54 places plus eight Super Seniors to 52 places plus 10 Super Seniors. And with at least 18 Super Duper Seniors (at least 10% of the full field), guaranteeing at least one of those 10 Super Senior prizes is awarded to a Super Duper Senior.

The Logo Infusion Championship prize list will remain at 54 places plus eight Super Seniors as $1,000 already is dedicated to Super Duper Senior players (courtesy of South Point).

The SPSS includes three daily events on separate 35-, 39- and 43-foot lane patterns leading to the SPSS Logo Infusion Championship featuring the 35- and 43-foot patterns. The 2019 patterns are attached to the bottom of this story. 

First prize in the daily events is $3,000, and in the Logo Infusion Championship it is $5,000. There are separate $1,000 prize funds for super-duper seniors (70 and older) and women. And there are daily sweepers for additional entry fees.

The Turbo Challenge features six games of qualifying on the 35-foot lane pattern, with the top 52 in the 180-player field, plus the top 10 super seniors outside the top 52 advancing to a 4-game cashers round without pins carrying over. The cashers round is followed by an 8-person stepladder, with the qualifying leader guaranteed to be in the first stepladder match, even if that player didn’t finish in the top eight in the cashers round. If the qualifying leader also leads the cashers round, that bowler must be beaten twice.

The second daily event is the Storm Challenge. The format is six games of qualifying on a 39-foot lane pattern, with the top 14 plus the top two super seniors advancing to bracket match play. Three in 10, plus the top 10 super seniors not advancing to bracket match play, cash.

The final daily event is the Haynes Bowling Supply Challenge. The format is six games on a 43-foot lane pattern. The top 32 qualifiers plus the next eight super seniors advance to match play. Three in 10, plus the top 10 Super Seniors not advancing to match play, cash. Pins carry over and match play is five games with 30 bonus pins for each win and the fifth game being a position round. The top five advance to a stepladder finals.

The SPSS Logo Infusion Championship features the top 32 bowlers as determined by their composite qualifying positions from the three daily Challenge events competing in the SPSS Storm Championship elimination bracket. Seeds 1 through 8 earn two byes; seeds 9 through 16 earn one bye. Seeding position ties will be resolved using the bowler's highest 6-game block from the three Challenge events. The 43-foot pattern will be on the left lanes and the 35-foot pattern will be on the right lanes of each pair.

There also will be optional Super Century doubles (combined age 120 or more) and brackets and side pots each day.

Details on the events and the sweepers are at this page. The schedule is here. The rules are here. The Steve Cook’s Bowling Supply Sweeper on Monday has been expanded to 120 entries. Priority is given to players entered in the 2020 Senior Shootout, but the sweeper is open to all seniors eligible for the Senior Shootout until the sweeper field is full.

The SPSS concept and event formats were developed by a Las Vegas-based committee consisting of Mohr, Dick Baker, Bill Hewlett, Howie Loosbroock and Tim Shirlock.

The 2019 winners were:

  • Steve Cook’s Bowling Supply Sweeper: Bo Goergen
  • Turbo Challenge: Dan Miyamoto
  • Turbo Sweeper: Mike Healy
  • Storm Challenge: Corbet Austin
  • 3G Bowling Shoes Sweeper: John Burkett
  • Haynes Bowling Supply Challenge: Steve Badovinac
  • Western Trust Wealth Management Sweeper: Jimmie Montgomery
  • South Point Senior Shootout Logo Infusion Championship: Pete McCordic
  • Shooting Star: Paul Fleming and Super Senior Shooting Star: Mike Mineman

You can find my stories on the South Point Senior Shootout through the years here. And attached to the bottom of this story is Mohr's interesting statistical breakdown of entries by age and left- and right-handed and the cashing performance by those groups.

Mohr said this in his post-tournament email to competitors:
Even after more than 35 withdrawals, we enjoyed a full field of 180 players for the Turbo Challenge, and 179 competitors for the Storm and Haynes Bowling Supply tournaments. Sincere gratitude to South Point Director of Bowling Mike Monyak who provided additional support to fully fund the prize list of every event. Over the five days a total of over $180,000 in prizes was awarded, and 127 of 180 players cashed in the Challenge and/or Sweeper events. And for the third consecutive year, we had a different champion in each of the eight events.
Events of this magnitude are not possible without the generous support of our sponsors. In addition to the supporters mentioned above, genuine appreciation to 3G Shoes along with Craig Elliott and BowlStreamTV for event live-streaming, Sun City West, Arizona realtor Lona King for the Ladies’ Supplemental prize fund, to Noel Vazquez and Genesis for outfitting the squad room with the essential supplies, to John Janawicz and Kegel for assistance with the lane patterns resulting in an ideal scoring pace, and to Jeff Richgels’ 11th for helping spread the word. Attached please find the 3G Shoes order form with which you may purchase 3G bowling shoes delivered to your door for $150.00 (great Christmas gift idea?!)
Entries are being accepted now for the 2020 Senior Shootout scheduled for November 16-20. The 2019 Senior Shootout sold out in April, and our fingers are crossed hoping for a similar reception for 2020. A mail-in entry form is attached, or players may enter online here. A $400 deposit will hold a spot in the 2020 event with the balance due by October 1st. Fully paid entries submitted by December 31, 2019 earn a $50 discount ($750 instead of $800); beginning January 1, 2020, entry is $800.00. In each case, there is an additional processing fee for entries paid with a credit or debit card. We hope the 2020 South Point Senior Shootout is included in your bowling plans.

For the South Point Senior Shootout staff, South Point Hotel is offering reduced room rates of $65 Sunday thru Thursday nights and $105 Friday and Saturday nights, plus $14 resort fee per day. Call 866-791-7626 or click here for reservations and request the "South Point Senior Shootout" room block (room code SOU1114). Reservations must be made no later than Oct. 24. 

Bowlers will be able to ship their balls to South Point at this address:
South Point Hotel and Casino
9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89183
ATTN: Pro Shop – SPSS

Also attached to the bottom of this story as a PDF is an entry form for the 2020 Lona King Senior Saguaro Open Nov. 13-15 RH Johnson Lanes in Sun City West, Arizona, about a 4½ -hour drive from Las Vegas. Sun City West realtor Lona King is a long-time supporter of senior bowling events, and is guaranteeing $5,000 to the 2020 Senior Saguaro Open Champion.