DALLAS (AP) – Bowling balls will roll where footballs usually fly when Cowboys Stadium hosts the U.S. Women’s Open finals this summer.
The event is a first for the stadium and the Open, which has been “the pinnacle of women’s bowling” since 1948.
“It’s incredible,” said pro bowler Stefanie Nation of Grand Prairie. “This is going to be the first time a major women’s (bowling) event will be held at a non-traditional venue.”
The 80,000-seat stadium in suburban Arlington has hosted concerts, bull riding, boxing matches, yoga and motocross races — but never before bowling. An artist’s rendering shows shiny wooden lanes being placed on either side of the famous Dallas Cowboys star at midfield for the June 30 event.
The Open finals will feature the world’s top five women bowlers who advance through the tournament, which will begin June 24 with qualifying rounds at AMF Euless Lanes in the Fort Worth suburb.
The finalists will compete for a $50,000 prize and $5,000 Tiffany & Co. gift certificate.
In addition, the two ladies bowling in the championship match will vie for a chance to win $1 million. To claim it, one must bowl a rare perfect 300 game — nothing but strikes.
The hope is this year’s women’s finals will shatter the bowling attendance record set in 1995, when 7,212 spectators watched the Men’s Open at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, said Steve Johnson, executive director of the nonprofit Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, the event’s organizer.
Usually the tournaments are held in bowling centers limited to the few hundred who can squeeze in.
“That’s one of the beautiful things about Cowboys Stadium,” Johnson said. “We can get a lot of people in there.”
Temporary seats will be set up on the field behind the bowlers. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders are expected to entertain.
“What a great place to elevate and help showcase the sport of bowling,” Johnson said.
ESPN will broadcast the finals July 2.
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