NEENAH, Wis. — Wisconsin's state bowling tournament is underway and that means big business for some bowling venues in the area.

What You Need To Know

  • Wisconsin's state bowling tournament is underway and that means big business for some bowling venues

  • Thousands are expected to play and attend the tournament, running from Jan. 19- May 1

  • The tournament will be in Wausau next year

The tournament changes venues every year. This year it's being held in Appleton and Neenah.  

About 10,000 bowlers will visit those cities and the surrounding areas during the run of the tournament.

Rolling Thunder general manager, Bill Smith, has been involved with bowling since he was just 16.

(Spectrum News 1/Geno Perez)

Smith said he is excited the state tournament is being held at his location. Smith is making sure athletes and fans have a good time. 

“Basically, just watching people come bowling, have fun," said Smith. "I mean, that's really what it is. There's competition too, but they're basically here just to have fun, enjoy bowling and maybe win some money,” Smith said.

The tournament started on Jan. 19.

Competing bowlers are from Wisconsin and upper Michigan. Athletes are competing in singles, doubles or team events. 

(Spectrum News 1/Geno Perez)

Jack Zellmer has owned Rolling Thunder for nearly four years. He bought the 34-lane alley when he heard it was going out of business. 

Zellmer said he enjoys the camaraderie the sport brings. 

“That was one in September of 2020, you know, middle of COVID," said Zellmer. "I knew going in it would be wasn't going to be good, but it's been getting better every year." 

Smith said the Wisconsin state tournament is very popular. He said the tournament will bring millions of dollars to the surrounding areas through hotels, food and other spending. 

(Spectrum News 1/Geno Perez)

“I think the coolest thing is that it's the biggest tournament, the country,” Smith said. “A lot of people are shocked when they hear that 10,000 people are going to be walking through these doors because it's a lot."

The event happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through May 1. Next year it will be held in Wausau, Wis.