After 26 years, the Chicago IGBO bowling tournament was getting a little tired. As incoming co-directors Jason Kallen and Scott Marz thought some steps could be taken to reinvigorate the annual tournament. It started with a rebranding, and Second City Open Tournament Chicago (SCOTCH) was reintroduced in 2013.
Fine-tuning SCOTCH has been an iterative and learning process and has spanned everything from sponsorships to fundraising initiatives through the year. Some initiatives were tried, dropped and then recast by Jay Lacy and Robert Volck, when they took over as co-directors for the 2018 tournament. For example, a drag show featuring many of our own bowlers was fun but a lot of work to organize. Jay thought it might be easier to just do a one-“woman” show, and introduced the “crazed and confused” Mrs. Eda Bagel to a packed house. (And came back the following month to bowl the tournament!)
SCOTCH is held the first weekend of March at the 40-lane Waveland Bowl in Chicago, the house for the two largest and oldest LGBTQ leagues in the Chicago area – Chicago Pride and Windy City Pride leagues. Since the rebranding, the combined efforts of the SCOTCH teams over the years have grown the event to an almost capacity crowd drawing bowlers from around the U.S. (and a few from beyond the borders). In 2018, 11 states were represented, and probably the record year was 2016, when bowlers from 17 states participated.
“It’s become a great event, and Scott and I are happy to have played a role reinvigorating it,” Jason says. “But Jay has continued the forward momentum, and it was great to actually be able to bowl the tournament ourselves this year!”
Jay says he and his team for the 2018 tournament appreciated the work of their predecessors, especially when they discovered for themselves what a big job it is to pull one off. With the first year under their belt, though, he’s looking forward to 2019 and strengthening the SCOTCH base even more.
“As we continue to build our team, we’ll also be able to identify bigger goals,” he says. “Like? Maybe we will top the list with successfully bidding for the annual IGBO tournament. Everything’s possible!”