Though Ryan Ciminelli will set the target scores for Beat the Champions for his first time, he already experienced the Chicago area in a good way.
He is fresh off winning his seventh PBA title in October, the PBA Xtra Frame Parkside Lanes Open, in Aurora.
“And every time I travel, I connect through Chicago, so I’m in the city pretty frequently,’’ noted Ciminelli, a lefthander whose career PBA Tour earnings are $523,449.84.
As to 56th BTC, the charity bowling event put on by the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association, Ciminelli emailed, “I don’t know much about Champs. All I know is that we bowl three games and the league players try and beat our score.’’
That describes it well. Contest week for league bowlers in BTC begins Sunday, Dec. 4 and runs through Dec. 10. This year the top prize for both the women’s and men’s champions is a cash prize of $7,500 instead of the usual car.
Ciminelli is very familiar with Liz Johnson, who is setting the target score for the women for the fourth time.
“Liz and I go way back,’’ Ciminelli emailed. “I grew up five doors down from her house in Cheektowaga, N.Y. Same street and all. I used to cut her lawn when I was a kid for a little spending money. And being around bowlers, especially of her caliber, was a nice bonus for me. She has always been sweet to me and that’s why we are close friends now.’’
The targets will be set at River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines. The target show will air as traditional on Christmas Day, this year early at 7 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet.
The BTC, for which the Sun-Times is the media sponsor, has raised more than $2.8 million for charity.
As to his approach to his first BTC, Ciminelli emailed, “Something like this is just fun for me. A little break from the stress of every shot paying the bills. But at the same time, I’m very competitive so I still would like to put up a decent score.’’