by Lynn Matsubara, Tournament Director
The 2020 CA Pepsi Youth Championships were cancelled on March 11, 2020. The District Finals was originally scheduled for March 14-15 and March 21-22 at eight different centers. All of the qualifiers were set and we were ready to go. It was a heart breaking decision to cancel, but it was the right decision. The youth most affected were the 18 year olds that were going to ‘age out’ this year due to the lowering of the maximum age restriction going into affect for the 2020-21 season. We emailed Chad Murphy at USBC asking for a postponement on that change due to this unforeseen shutdown of the world. It was denied. Those youth that were looking for college recruitments would have to be creative in figuring out how to get noticed. Our Pepsi Championships that pays out $50,000 in scholarship annually would not be an accomplishment for their resumes, unfortunately.
It is now November and our centers are STILL closed. We are hopeful that re-openings will be coming soon, so we have planned our 2021 Pepsi Championships. All eight of the District Finals hosting centers and the State Finals hosting center from 2020 have committed to hosting our event IF the centers are allowed to re-open by February 1st. That will be our cut-off date on whether or not we can run this tournament in 2021. Normally, this event has local league level qualifying in November and January, but we were able to get approval from nationals to skip that level and allow bowlers to sign up directly into the District Finals in March. The only caveat is that the youth must be entered in a California youth league for the 2020-21 season. The other minor change is in the upper division, due to the lowering of the youth age eligibility restriction to 18. The five age divisions are now: U8, U10, U12, U15 & U18.
Handicap and scratch scholarships will still be awarded to the U8 & U10 divisions at the District Finals in March (they will NOT move on to the State Finals in May) and the first place scratch finishers in the U12, U15 & U18 divisions at the District Finals will earn scholarships and will also be competing to qualify into the State Finals for additional scholarships and FREE berths into the 2021 USBC Junior Gold Championships in Indianapolis, IN (if they have not already qualified).
The Champions in the U8 and U10 divisions at the District Finals will also earn a single entry ($80 value) into all four events of the California Youth State Championships to be held July 2022 at Forest Lanes in Lake Forest. Also new this year, the 6 division champions will receive a Strike 12 Creations jersey (California design) to wear at USBC Junior Gold! We also have the new Pepsi Championships jersey for sale at www.Strike12Creations.com. Each jersey sale will add additional scholarship dollars to the tournament scholarship fund as well!
We have been fortunate to have a special sponsor, BowlersParadise.com, who has been supporting our tournament for 21 years! We also hold fundraising raffles at each District and State Finals site where the in-center pro shop has donated a bowling ball to raffle. Please help us to thank these companies for their awesome support. The hosting centers are listed on our website at CalUSBC.com.
And thank you to everyone that has been helping to fight for the centers to re-open. We are extremely hopeful that the centers will re-open soon. These kids need to get back on the lanes to start earning their scholarship money and improve their skills as they are our future ‘Best Bowlers of California’!