The Lee Evans Tournament of The Americas is the oldest yearly
international tournament in the American Zone and was held for its
first 42 years in Miami, Florida at the Cloverleaf Lanes, moving on
the close of the Cloverleaf Lanes to Sawgrass Lanes, Sunrise,
Florida for its 43rd year. When Sawgrass was destroyed during
Hurricane Wilma, the tournament move for its 44th and 45th years to
Don Carters Tamarac Lanes in Tamarac, Florida , just north of the
Sawgrass. In 2008, the tournament moved to Orlando, Florida
and returned to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area in 2011.
The tournament has been credited by some as having had a key
role in developing the sport of bowling in The Americas. Indeed, no other annual
international tournament, bringing bowlers of the Americas together to represent
their countries, existed when Lee Evans conceived this idea and
traveled from country to country to make it a reality. The
Tournament of The Americas is the only major tournament to have
"mixed teams" of men and women. (See the beginning years
on our Scrapbook
This is an invitational competition for countries of PABCON (Pan
American Bowling Confederation - the American Zone of World Tenpin
Bowling Association) to send their best bowlers, most usually their
national teams, to compete in five divisions for men and women. In
2011 the new SuperSenior division was added. In each
division - adult, seniors (ages men 50+ and women 45+), the new
SuperSeniors (ages men 60+ and women 55+) and juniors A & B
(ages16-19, and as of 2006, ages 12-15)- one team, made up of two
men and two women, competes in singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and
mixed team event throughout the week-long tournament. After 36
total games of bowling, individual all events and national all
events champions are recognized.
In 2018 the tournament made some changes in how bowlers are
entered and how many teams in each age division. Now 2 teams
per division are allowed and direct entries are open to bowlers
where Federations do not enter players.
In the year 2000 a ranking system started for bowlers of the
American Zone using scores from tournaments designated as #1,2 or 3
in importance. We are proud to have been chosen by the FIQ
American Zone as a " #2 ranking tournament", however in
2004 the American Zone changed its rules for ranking to include only
"open-to-all" tournaments, making the ToA ineligible for
"ranking". Rules changed again and PABCON recognized
the Tournament of The Americas as a ranking event since 2007,
however PABCON suspended ranking for all tournaments in 2010.
We thank our long-time sponsors Brunswick AMF and QubicaAMF for their
past support , as well as those sponsors who join us periodically.
We have been fortunate to have also had the support of Dade and
Broward Counties when bowling in their area. Our present sponsors
are Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, Ebonite International and QubicaAMF.
We thank them for their ongoing support of the tournament.
changes in sponsors, venue and staff are always possible, but
whatever the changes, the Tournament of The Americas will go on
"Uniting the Americas" through bowling.
OF THE TOURNAMENT
Through bowling as a sport, the Lee Evans Bowling Tournament of the Americas was founded with
the purpose of furthering goodwill and understanding among the
people of the Americas. It continues to remain dedicated to this
goal with its theme "Bowling Unites the Americas",
allowing people to come face-to-face with their hemispheric
neighbors who have been separated by large distances, bodies of
water or high mountains.
In many ways a family, participants of the
Tournament of The Americas anticipate the arrival of each tournament
and compete enthusiastically for the opportunity to represent their
country, renew old acquaintances and make new friends.
Finally, but very importantly, is the publicity
and promotional benefits of the Tournament of The Americas, which
has gained prestige and importance throughout the world, and has made
many people in South and Central America and the Caribbean much more aware of their
welcoming Florida neighbors.
OF THE TOURNAMENT
The Lee Evans Tournament of The Americas has grown in size
and stature during its many years of existence.
It has developed from an idea, a
"fantasy", an "impossible dream", as it was
called by some, to become one of the top international amateur
sporting events in the world. More countries compete in the
Tournament of The Americas than participate in any other annual
amateur bowling event of its kind in the United States.
A great amount of effort went into planning and
making the inaugural tournament a reality, and on July 26, 1963, as
promised, the Tournament of the Americas began. That year, fewer
bowlers participated in the event than countries did in 1988.
Twenty-eight countries of the Western Hemisphere are invited to attend and
generally, the tournament is host to twenty to twenty-four of the eligible
countries each year.
Through the years, the Tournament of the Americas
has grown, not only in number of bowlers, but in its variety of
competition. The first tournament included only one man and one
woman per country, with only singles and mixed doubles played. Since,
an additional man and woman have been added, along with doubles,
mixed foursomes, all events, and national all events. In the 10th
year, the tournament included junior teams for the first time. For
the 30th Anniversary, the tournament again expanded by
adding a Senior Division, starting with men only, and then in 1993
added Senior Women to this new division. A complete country’s team
then consisted of a total of 12 players. Adding to the country's
delegation are their support people -an Official Delegate and
Coaches. In 2006, the tournament split the Junior division into
two age groups - 12 to 15 and 16 to 20 year olds, encouraging
younger players to excel in bowling by giving them the opportunity
of more international competition on their age level. Now a complete
country's team numbers 16 players. In 2018 tournament rules changed
to allow 2 teams in each of it's five age divisions per country.
Entry rules also changed to allow for "open" entries for bowlers of
the countries where their Federation does not enter their players.
It took 18 years, until August 7, 1980, for a
perfect 300 game in this tournament– by Guatemala’s Bruno Moys
– and other 13 years, 1993, for the junior’s score to be matched
by two youngsters from the USA. It was in 1992 when the first Adult
Division 300 game was bowled by Marco Odio from Costa Rica. More 300
games have since been added to both Adult, Senior and Junior records.
It is most fitting that the tournament now
memorializes Lee Evans, founder and executive director for its first
16 years. Mr. Evans devoted countless long hours and extended
tireless efforts to nurture it from a dream to reality and then to
the huge success it attained under his care and direction. His
contributions will always be remembered as special awards will be
presented in his memory to those who have distinguished themselves
through either outstanding performances or other special qualities
in the sport of bowling.
For the next 11 years, John I. Smith, General Manager of Cloverleaf
Lanes and member of the tournament Staff from its inception, became
the Executive Director of the newly formed Bowling Tournaments of the Americas
Association and the Director of its tournaments. Through his inspiration and motivation, Mr. Smith continued
the traditions, expanded the junior participation and became the
positive force behind the tournament. Mr. Smith retired and moved to
Iowa in March 1990, promoted Paulette Crowers Watson to head the
Association and its tournaments but continued his involvement as a
member of the Board of Directors. John I. Smith passed away in
November 1996 and he and his direction will be greatly missed by
all. In our hearts, the tournament participants and staff will
always hear John start each squad with the words "Is everybody
happy? Let’s go bowling!"
Since its beginnings, the tournament has
been fortunate to have Brunswick and AMF as sponsors. In 1997, the tournament welcomed AMF Bowling
Worldwide as its first "title" sponsor and appropriately changed its name to
the AMF Lee Evans Tournament of The Americas. The new
century, the tournament's 39th in the year 2000, brought more recognition to the Tournament of
The Americas as it was chosen to be one of the "ranking"
events in the FIQ American Zone. In March 2001, AMF, a
sponsor since the inception of our tournament, with regret,
to cancel their sponsorship due to their financial problems. In
2002 the tournament instituted a multi-level sponsorship program. We
are now fortunate to currently have Greater Fort Lauderdale
Convention & Visitors Bureau, Ebonite International and QubicaAMF as our
The Lee Evans Tournament of The Americas has grown to be an event of great
prestige, not only because of outstanding efforts of those who work
on the event and its supporters, but primarily due to the
enthusiastic participation by the competitors. Though changes may
take place, the real traditions of friendship, camaraderie and
intense competition, started at its inception, will continue.