By David Fong
TROY — Kyle and Lisa Bigelow were looking for the perfect tribute to honor Kyle’s father and their infant son, both of whom have passed away.
It’s no surprise they found it through bowling, the sport with which the Bigelow name has been synonymous in Troy for decades.
The 2016 PBA Rex and Griffin Bigelow Memorial Central Open will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Troy Bowl, 1530 McKaig Ave. in Troy.
This is the third year for the event, which is named after Rex Bigelow, who passed away in 2013, and Griffin, the infant son of Kyle and Lisa, who passed away in 2010. Rex Bigelow owned and operated two bowling alleys in Troy for decades and helped build the Troy High School bowling program into a state powerhouse.
“To me, this means everything,” said Kyle Bigelow, who grew up bowling in his father’s alleys and currently is a member of the PBA. “It’s so important to me because I’m able to do something for my dad and it’s a way to honor my son, who is my whole inspiration for bowling.”
The event begins Friday with practice rounds from 3-5 p.m. There will be two squads participating in qualifying games at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturday. There will be 12 games of match play, followed by a stepladder final, to determine winners and placers beginning 10 a.m. Sunday.
Every round is open to the public and there is no charge for admission.
Bigelow said its an opportunity for the Troy community to see some of the best bowlers in the region, as some of the top professionals from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan already have signed up to participate in the tournament. He said he expects between 40-50 bowlers — some of which have participated in televised matches — to play in the tournament.
“I think it’s a great thing for the community,” he said. “We’d like to get as many people as could out here to watch it. It’s not often you get a professional sport — any professional sport — in Troy. We think it would be great if we got not only bowling fans, but just people who are curious to see what it’s all about — to come out and see what’s going on.
“Some of the best bowlers in the Midwest are going to be here. A friend of mine, E.J. Tackett, is going to be here. He’s been on TV several times. He bowled in a tournament that will be airing on CBS Sports Network. Tom Smallwood, who won the 2009 PBA World Championship, is going to be here. So we’ve got some pretty big names who are going to be here.”
Bigelow also will be playing in the event — although he said trying to bowl while also running the event is never easy.
“I would not miss it,” he said. “With those two names — my dad and my son — on the banner, there’s no way I could not bowl in this. It is hard to concentrate on my bowling with everything else that’s going on, but I definitely wouldn’t miss it.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong