In an online interview, we asked a few of the key players for Reno, NV MY 2018, what it was like to prepare for IGBO’s first hosted event. Here is what they told us.
Joey LeBlanc, IGBO President
Q. How did the whole RENO Tournament idea start and why is this one special?
A. The summer of 2016 is when RENO Mid-Year came to light. Mark Conn, the director of sports and marketing for the Eldorado Resorts contacted me and wanted information on the process to host one of our major events. I informed Mark, IGBO does not have a local presence in the community there and, it would be difficult to host an event without a local IGBO presence. He was willing to assist in any way possible to have an event in Reno. After multiple conversations between myself, Greg Frey, Mark Conn and Bob Thomas from the National Bowling Stadium we finally were able to come up with a plan to host IGBO mid-year 2018 in Reno. Mark and Bob agreed to attend IGBO Mid-Year 2016 in San Francisco to meet with the IGBO board as well as attend the general membership meeting and also enjoy the weekend festivities.
Before arriving in San Francisco, I had been in contact with the mayor and the CVB and they had offered their support for our event. The current IGBO Board agree we would see this through even if our positions changed in the organization and, the letter of intent was announced in San Francisco. Our Bid presentation was presented at IGBO Annual 2017 in Ft. Lauderdale Florida and the membership approved and then we started to get to work!
IGBO Mid-Year 2018 is a very unique because this has never been done without the presence of a local IGBO bowling community but, we have received support from many bowlers in our IGBO Regions who are willing to volunteer in all aspects of making this conference and tournament a success.
Mark MacBain, IGBO Vice President
Q. As the head of recruiting volunteers to help run this event, how is it going? Any issues? Describe what/who you are looking for as a volunteer?
A. While we finalize what the national bowling stadium can and cannot do, we now have a better idea of the number of volunteers that we will need for registration as well as during the event while we are bowling.
Many people have offered their assistance in volunteering and, I think keeping it to one squad will make it easier to get volunteers. The challenge is since there is no local IGBO league there, we are going to have to rely on some of our own members and hopefully the local organizations that we are donating to for the event. Over all, I do not anticipate any issues with getting the volunteers that we will need.
For the event, we are going to need people to help during the registration on Thursday night and then during the event we will need people to help sell raffle tickets. The day of the team events we will most likely just need people to help check people in. As we draw closer to the event, we will start to schedule people into different roles. Anyone interested in volunteering on Thursday night, can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q - Having been to the National Stadium before, how would you explain your experience to bowlers that are thinking about attending?
A- The National Bowling Stadium is a very cool facility. When it's in full swing you have all the different ball companies that have booths set up there with pro-shops. Being able to bowl on those lanes, all in one shift is going to be pretty awesome. It's a great experience and for those that have never been to the USBC open championships, here is an opportunity to experience the stadium. It really is like nothing you've seen before. I am excited to share the experience with my fellow IGBO members.
The stadium is also great for spectators, as the permanent seating set up high is great for watching bowlers all over the stadium. I would encourage people to bring along their family and friends to watch.
Greg Frey, Tournament Director for IGBO Mid-year 2018, Reno
Q - How are things going so far?
A - So far things are going great. With the National Bowling Stadium as a partner in this event, they have all the bowling handled and Eldorado Resorts has everything taken care of from the hotel side. Our main concern right now is just fundraising so we can throw the best tournament possible for the 312 bowlers we’ll be hosting (that’s our max capacity, so ensure you register early!). We’ll soon be ramping up looking at our volunteer needs for during the event so we can ensure the whole event goes off without a hitch.
Q. We know that this is IGBO’s first foray into hosting their own event, and having been a Tournament Director before how is this different than TART?
A. Well, as Regional Director, I helped Tucson with Annual 2014 and Albuquerque with Annual 2016, so I am pretty familiar with what’s required to put on an IGBO Event. An IGBO Event (Annual and/or Mid-Year) is like your regular event, except on steroids. More shifts to fill, more bowlers to register, more fundraising, more volunteers needed, etc... Everything is just more. I’d say the biggest difference is trying to lead things remotely since we have no local bowling community in Reno. Everything has to be done via e-mail and conference calls and it’s hard to follow up on things when you aren’t right there to monitor progress.
Q. How has working with the National Bowling Stadium, Eldorado Resorts, and Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) been so far?
A. Everyone in Reno has been absolutely fantastic to work with. After Reno won the bid, Joey and I went to Reno to meet everyone. We got to meet with Mark Conn at Eldorado Resorts, Bob Thomas at the National Bowling Stadium, Phil DeLone the CEO of RSCVA, and we even got to meet the Mayor of Reno (The Honorable Hillary Schieve). That weekend, which happened to be the weekend of Reno’s Pridefest, was such a whirlwind of events, and they really rolled out the red carpet for us. Everyone is so excited to have IGBO come to the city and the Mayor even invited Joey and I to ride with her on the City of Reno’s float in the pride parade and Joey was interviewed for the local news. I don’t think we could ask for a better city to host an IGBO event in.
Paul Scheib, Northeast Regional Director
Q. One of the key roles on doing an event like this is fundraising, with no “Ground Troops” how difficult has this been, and where do we stand on fundraising today?
A. Despite not having any "Ground Troops," fundraising for Mid-Year 2018 has been going well. Many tournaments and leagues have done special raffles during their bowling season/tournaments to help support IGBO's efforts for Mid-Year 2018. We have set a fundraising goal of $30,000, and to date, we have collected over $17,000. We haven't received our donation from the Winter Mail In Tournament, yet, and there are still plenty of Multi-City Raffle tickets available prior to the drawing at Annual in Denver. Please see your league and tournament representatives for tickets! There are still many tournaments prior to Mid-Year, so there are additional fundraising opportunities for the committee.
During Mid-Year 2018 we will be having a 50/50 raffle during each set of the bowling competition, and we will have Rainbow Raffle tickets available for cash, free entries and other prizes to be awarded at the banquet.
Not having a local presence has hindered getting Sponsors, but I am confident we will make our fundraising goal.