A short history of the Southern
Bowling Congress as related by Rex J.
The exact year the
Southern Bowling Congress was formed is unknown, however, I have
seen a medal from Atlanta, Georgia, that showed the Southern was in
existence in the 1920's.
To my knowledge, the
Southern Bowling Congress began with two states, Alabama and
Tennessee. The first tournament, in which I was involved or
had knowledge of, was held in Birmingham in 1939. The next
tournaments were held in Memphis (1940), Knoxville (1941) and New
Orleans (1942). The Southern then disbanded for the duration
of World War II.
The Southern was
reorganized in 1947 by Heine Mallick, ABC Director from Memphis,
Jack Ilgenfritz of Shreveport, E. L. Belisoma of Memphis and Rex
Brown of Birmingham. This group met in New Orleans and it was
then decided to reorganize. The Louisiana State Association
and the Louisiana State Proprietors Association were meeting at the
same time and they were asked for their support and they agreed
The founding purpose was
to promote and foster the game of ten-pins and to create new
friendships and amiable competitive bowling. The Southern then
grew to twelve (12) states but is now nine (9) states.
Interest has been very
keen and the meetings are well attended. All the states have
helped support the Southern, but Memphis is an outstanding city,
becoming the backbone of the Southern by their continued support of
the tournaments and being the host city many times.
Because of the interest
in bowling and the Southern Bowling Congress, it has grown to be the
largest sectional tournament in the South.
Four (4) members of the
Southern Bowling Congress have attained the highest rank offered by
the American Bowling Congress, that of President, Earl J. Reed of
West Palm Beach, FL. in 1963-64, Conn O. Wilson of Dallas, TX. in
1970-71, Rex J. Brown of Birmingham, AL. in 1972-73 and Jim Bevins
of Knoxville, TN. in 2002-03.