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Hornell hosts PBA East Region Players Invitational

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Hornell hosts PBA East Region Players Invitational
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One by one, bowlers knocked down their competitors in this year’s PBA East Region Players Invitational. The event drew in some of the nation’s top bowlers this weekend. YNN's Crystal Cranmore tells us why the event is a strike for one Steuben County community.

HORNELL, N.Y. -- Plenty of eyes were zeroed in on the lanes at Maple City Bowl as some of the nation's best bowlers vied for some top prizes this weekend.

“Came out to watch the pros bowl, see how they react and try to learn something,” said Pamela Burns, a spectator.

Forty-eight bowlers from the PBA's East Region competed in the Eastern Players Invitational. It's a new event that aims to entice bowlers in each of the nation’s six regions to take part in more tournaments. But for the very first time, the City of Hornell is in the bowling spotlight.

“It's awesome. I wish they would have more of them so you could see them up close and personal,” said Burns.

Elmira's own Ryan Shafer knocked down several players over the weekend.

“It's nice to inspire people to bowl. Not only is it my job to bowl, my job is to make people want to bowl because the sport needs to grow,” said Shafer.

That's just one of the many reasons why bowlers and sponsors like Maple City Dodge wanted to bring the event to Hornell.

Organizers say typically PBA events are held in larger cities. But with the area's own set of bowling enthusiasts, it was a good match.

“It's a great opportunity for the local community to see professional bowlers at this caliber come to Hornell,” said Steve Crandall, PBA Event Coordinator.

The lanes at Maple City Bowl were also part of the attraction. They offer a unique challenge to players.

“Being on a wood surface, it's old school bowling with these conditions they are bowling on, it makes the scores a lot tougher,” said Crandall.

“Bowling is more complicated than what people see. Anybody can bowl, anyone can enjoy it, but to do it at this level, it’s like any other sport. It's like golf, tennis, to do it at this level. That's where we're at. We're professional bowlers,” said Shafer.

Professional bowlers who are inspiring fans in this community.

The top bowler at this year's PBA East Region Players Invitational was Brian LeClair. He won $6,000, a free entry into the World Series of Bowling in Las Vegas and a chance to compete in the 2014 Tournament of Champions.

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