HISTORY of the ETC

The Elkhart Team Challenge was started in 1996 as an idea for a Team Scratch Tournament in the Elkhart Area. As a bowler who has bowled in hundreds of Tournaments, I wanted to start one myself.

I then brought the idea to the then owner of Country Club Lanes Marv Bowlby and he said sure, give it a shot. That was amazing in that I had only been an Elkhart resident for 6 months or so after moving from New Jersey. The Tournament has been with Country Club since it's inception and through ownership changes.

The Tournament was intended to be a smaller version of the now defunct Brunswick World Team Challenge Tournament conducted by the then ABC now the USBC.

The first year the ETC drew 14 teams. There was a 3 game qualifying set with a 4-team, 4 game semi finals, which preceeded a 3 team, 2 baker game stepladder finals. Starting the 2nd year, the format was changed to the top 8 teams making the cut for an 8 team head to head semi-finals baker rounds. It has been this way ever since with a 1 in 3 cashing ratio. The finals consist of 3 teams with a stepladder head to head matches. Each team bowls 2 baker games, one game shot on each lane with total wood determining the winner. The format is / was an exact copy of BWTC on a smaller scale. We tried to style it the same way even when they made changes.

As the years have past, the entry count each year has increased due to popularity and word of mouth from the bowlers. We went to 18 teams the 2nd year, 21 the 3rd year and 4th year, 22 the 5th year, 27 the 6th year, 28 the 7th year, dropped to 26 the 8th year due to a schedualing change and finally in 13 of the past 14 years, the field has been full at 32 teams.

The ETC has had only one repeat Champion in the 18 year History of the Tournament. That was the 7th & 8th year when Froberg's Pro Shop won 2 straight years. Bowlers are Dennis Weatherman, Billy Hendrixson, John Veld, Jack Logan and Billy Froberg.

In 2008, the ETC has it's first Baker 300 game shot by Cellular Consultant's of Lafayette, In. during match play and in 2012, Ebonite International of Lafayette, In duplicated that feat. Then in 2015, 1 of Each from Chicago shot one as well. In 2011, Natural Disasters of Elkhart was the first team to go undefeated in match play at 8 - 0.

The ETC has had over 967 different bowlers compete from 5 different states. There has only been one bowler to win 3 titles and that is Todd Brown. 8 bowlers have won the Tournament with 2 different teams, Jerry Healey Sr., Phil Vince, Sammy Stewart, Wayne Wooten, Steve Gard, Mike English, Ron "Doc" Jonas, John Verbich Doug Cutler and Jeff Fox. We have had 34 women compete in the Tournament and in 2009 had two ALL Female teams. One team in 2008 (Hoffman Sharpening #2) made the cut and finished in 8th place. They shot 3458 during qualifying.

The ETC has had Eight 800 series's shot and Thirty One 300 games Todd Brown is the only bowler to have two 300 games during the 22 year span. See ALL Time Records Link for the bowlers.

I wish the best to all bowlers and bowling fans and thanks to all who have supported me and the Tournament over the years.

Roy Kolaya

ETC Tournament Director

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