Teens compete in bowling tournaments first year in Columbia

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COLUMBIA - High school bowlers competed in the Teen Masters tournament Saturday morning, which is also known as the Columbia Open.

Through the event teens can qualify for national tournaments, and win more than one hundred dollars in scholarships. Hosted by the Columbia Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the tournament is in its first year in Columbia.

"This is the very first time that we’ve had a qualifier here in Columbia – it’s kind of interesting because we're starting something at the ground level. Next year we’re hoping for a much bigger turnout than we had this year," said John Youngblood, the tournament coordinator.

The tournament's first year featured ten high school bowlers from mid-Missouri and nearby states. 

For many of the young bowlers, the tournament is not their first rodeo. At fourteen, Kaden Mcdow is the youngest bowler in the competition. He started bowling when he was six years old. 

“I’m the youngest. I mean, I’ve always been the youngest, and everybody thought that, since I was little, that I couldn’t get like high schools, so I could prove them wrong – by out bowling them. So it just feels good," McDow said. 

The Teen Masters tournament gives opportunities to these teens to pursue bowling beyond the high school level. 

"I’d really like to go to college for bowling, so I’m just trying to kind of do as many tournaments as I can and get prepared for it. It’ll definitely take my bowling to another level," said sixteen year old Chris Grimes, who started bowling when he was five.

For Youngblood, this year's tournament was just the beginning. 

"Short term goals? Get through this weekend. Long term goals, increase this to where we can possibly fill the house with it in three to four years," Youngblood said. 

 The Teen Masters runs through Sunday, January 29.