62nd annual Chippewa Valley Match Games ends in dramatic fashion

Published: Jan. 5, 2020 at 6:50 PM CST
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Bowlers from all over the Midwest gathered in Eau Claire this weekend to play in one of three major tournaments in the Midwest.

The Chippewa Valley Match Games at Wagner’s Lanes in Eau Claire ended in dramatic fashion this weekend.

Going into the finals at 5th place, Nick Plouff climbed the ladder to beat all four bowlers in front of him and beat tournament favorite Andy Millis 248 to 246 to take home $1,500.

"It was a long weekend, that's for sure,” Said Plouff. “This is the third time I have made the step ladder now here. The first two times, I lost the first two matches so it was kind of neat to make the run through the ladder this time."

Event organizer, Denny Burkart, says the tournament brings in several talented bowlers from all over the Midwest.

"This is one of the three, what I would call majors in this region,” Burkart said. “We had people from Minnesota, Wisconsin, a couple from Illinois, and we had one guy from Iowa."

One of the bowlers, Todd Savoy, is in the Minnesota, Wisconsin, and National Bowling Hall of Fame, and says the Match Games is very different from other tournaments.

"Once you make that cut, you get to bowl everybody,” Savoy said. “Some tournaments, you don't bowl everybody. Once you make the top five and are in that step ladder, you are in the good stuff."

While there were bowlers from all over, there was also local talent represented.

Terry Halida ended the day in 17th place, a position he says is very good considering the talent that is represented in the tournament.

"Just to make the cut here with the talent that comes into this place, Denny does an awesome job getting players to come in here and we all know you have to bowl really well to make the cut,” Halida said. “To be the top 24 after Saturday is a grind in itself."

Burkart is already looking forward to next year’s tournament saying every year, the talent gets better and better.

"I've been affiliated with it for over 20 years and the talent has improved. The young kids that are coming are really good, they are some great players."