Auburndale – Some of the best and the brightest bowlers in
the state – and surely the youngest – will soon descend on Cypress Lanes in
Winter Haven for the youth bowling championship, commonly known as “The Pepsi
Tournament.” Over five weekends, from the end of March throughout April, more
than 3,000 participants will battle each other for strike and spare supremacy
during the 2017 Pepsi Florida State Youth Championship of the Florida State
United States Bowling Congress Youth Bowling Association.
But this isn’t the first time Cypress Lanes has hosted the
event. This year, beating out three different Florida destinations in the final
round of presentations in Ocala, was the staff from Polk County Sports
“We could not have been awarded this event without the
support of the Polk County Sports Marketing team,” said Michael Ducat, the
owner of Cypress Lanes. “They were critical in us getting the event.”
Last year, the event was held in Brandon, Florida. The significance
of returning to Winter Haven was not lost on event organizers.
“It’s been six years since Cypress Lanes last hosted our
event so we’re excited to be returning to the area,” said Allen Solomon,
tournament director. “Winter Haven offers easy access for almost every region
of Florida, and some of our largest events have been held there. We look
forward to working with the entire staff at the Cypress Lanes – they are like a
big family, and treat us like family too."
Youth bowlers must qualify for the tournament though
competition at their home centers, before coming to Polk County to compete in
14 divisions spanning ages 4 to 19. The Pepsi Tournament is expected to draw
nearly 3,000 young athletes from more than 110 bowling centers all over
Florida. Including participants, coaches, family members and spectators, the
tournament is projected to generate $2.3 million in economic impact for Polk
Dates of the event are March 25-26, April 1-2, 8-9, 22-23
and 29-30. There will be no bowling Easter weekend April 15-16.