TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Events around Terre Haute brought more than 17,000 people to the Valley this weekend.
7,000 bowlers will crowd local bowling alleys over nine weeks. It’s all part of the Youth State Tournament.
On Saturday, bowlers ranging from ages 2 to 19 met for the second week of competition.
For 16 year old Kevin Nigh bowling is a family affair.
“Bowling has been in my family for years. My great grandpa did it, grandpa, dad, I’m just carrying on the generation,” said Nigh, of Rush County.
With scholarship money on the line, he hopes to be a strike above the competition.
“If I could get a scholarship out of this and go somewhere with it that would be a big improvement for my family,” he explained.
The tournament that makes its way to Terre Haute every 9 years pays off for more than just the bowlers.
“It’s a little mini vacation for the people here in town so they budget in a little extra money,” said Phil Cooper, Manager of the Terre Haute Bowling Center. “They eat out. They visit the mall. They are looking to spend a little money and have a little fun.”
From Girls State Basketball Finals to a Robotics Competition, this weekend’s events are expected to bring in nearly three quarters of a million dollars.
“We have around 2,000 hotel rooms here locally and they’re all full. We actually have a multi-county effort for these big events,” explained David Patterson, executive director of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We get increased food sales, and we do get paid for the use of our facilities, so it’s a nice little economic boost for us as well,” adds Cooper.
In return Cooper hopes the bowlers walk away with more than just a trophy.
“I hope they go home and tell people those people from Terre Haute were really great, they were really helpful, and it was a fun time,” says Copper.
The bowling tournament will continue for the next seven weeks.