by Fred Eisenhammer
TRACY, CA – For the West Coast Senior Tour, it’s been Southern California, Nevada, Southern California, Nevada, Southern California, Nevada, Southern California, Nevada, Southern California. Now we have Central California in the mix.
This is what’s changed at the WCST. The longstanding club, nearing completion of its 25th season, will be deviating from its pattern of alternating tournaments in Southern California and Nevada.
For the first time in two decades, Dick Sanders’ tour will stage a tournament in Central California. That event has been scheduled for April 21-22, 2018 at 32-lane West Valley Bowl in Tracy, Calif., the second most-populated city in San Joaquin Valley with a population of more than 80,000.
It is the first time the WCST will hold an event in Tracy and Sanders is hoping to draw bowlers from such cities as Visalia, Fresno, Fremont, Bakersfield and Taft.
The last time the WCST staged an event in Central California was in October 1998 when McHenry Bowl in Modesto served as the host site for the event. “Central California was really good for us in the mid- ’90s,” said Sanders, the WCST’s owner and director. When a competing senior club popped up in the Central California area, Sanders took his organization to greener fields.
The mid-1990s was actually the heyday for the WCST, which averaged more than 100 bowlers a tournament. A whopping 233 bowlers competed in Ventura for one tournament in 1995.
At Tracy, Sanders also is planning another deviation from form. Instead of only 60-and-older bowlers being eligible, West Valley Bowl will offer two tournaments with different age divisions.
One tournament will be staged for bowlers 60 and older with two money places to be reserved for bowlers 70 and older. The other tourney will be for bowlers 45 to 59. Sanders hopes to lure 15 bowlers for the lower-age tournament and 35 bowlers for the 60-and-older event.
As for the WCST holding future events in Central California, Sanders was noncommittal. “It all depends on how this one goes,” he said