Bryanna Caldwell-Coté spent her high school years working the lanes at Tucson’s Golden Pin Lanes, shaping a career in the sport she loves. She will return for the lane’s swan song on June 6, when the Professional Women’s Bowling Association competes at the facility.
Caldwell-Coté will join a packed cast of athletes during the PWBA’s Tucson Open, which will run from June 6 through 8 at the alley, located near the intersection of Miracle Mile and North Fairview Avenue.
The event will be the last professional competition at the 59-year-old venue, given its scheduled closure at the end of June. The structure will stay intact, with Pima County acquiring the 51,000-square-foot facility to transform it into county offices.
Caldwell-Coté, who graduated from Canyon del Oro High School, was touched by the significance of competing in her hometown and the alley where her fascination with the sport began, calling it a bittersweet reunion.
“I’m sad to see it close, but I think being able to see it go out with a bang, with a PWBA tour event coming back is great,” she said. “There hasn’t been a professional bowling event in Tucson in a long time. So, I think it will just be a good send-off for anyone who ever has been involved in a professional event at Golden Pins.”
The Tucson event is the product a partnership between PWBA Tour Director Tennelle Milligan and Caryn Bustos of Golden Pins.
The two have worked together for more than a year to get the Tucson event on the PWBA’s tour schedule, which runs from late April through mid September.
For Milligan, having a PWBA stop in Tucson serves as a coronation for the venue, bringing longtime customers together for a final hurrah.
“It signifies the importance of bowling in the Tucson community,” Milligan said. “It’s sad for the bowling community, but at least it shows the great support that we’ll have.”
The PWBA was founded in 1960, before folding operations in 2003. Today’s iteration of the league began in 2015 with funding from the United States Bowling Congress and Bowling Proprietors Association of America.
“I think people should come out to interact with us, and to see our personalities and who we are,” she said. “See how deep the competition is, how much we love what we do, and basically just the plain competition of it. Everyone is out there to win. We’re all hungry for that title. But in the end, we’re all like a close family, because we see each other every single week.”
Milligan believes the Tucson tour event can be an eye-opening experience for fans and first-time attendees, with a weekend full of entertainment and action to choose from.
“We have a lot of brand-new bowlers that are right out of college,” Milligan said. “So, you’re going to see a lot of competitiveness, along with a lot of camaraderie. And the ladies are great, they interact with the fans. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
Caldwell-Coté will join the field for a litany of events during the weekend, with a Bowl With the Pros event taking place Thursday, June 6—followed by a 16-game qualifying round Friday and full days of competition Saturday and Sunday.
Caldwell-Coté’s mother, Monica Caldwell, plans on attending each day’s competition with several family members and friends.
Caldwell believes her daughter can serve as a role model for young women in Southern Arizona that want to pursue athletics as a career.
“I think that a little girl from Tucson who never gave up on her dream and worked on it her entire life and continues to work on it and is now competing on a professional level is inspirational to any other little girl out there,” Caldwell said. “There will be a huge crowd to support her, not only her family, but quite a few fans that she had accumulated along the way.”
Stories like Caldwell-Coté’s are a special aspect of the PWBA circuit, according to Milligan, with competitors returning to their hometown venues at most, if not all tour stops.
“We’re going to have a lot of people coming out,” Milligan said. “There’s going to be a big cheering section, I’m sure, for Bryanna as she makes her way through qualifying. And I think that just brings extra support to the tour.”
Bustos, who has worked at Golden Pins for 24 years, has stayed in close contact with Caldwell-Coté through the years.
She’s thrilled to watch the bowler compete in the event, serving as a proper bookend to what’s been a remarkable six-decade run for the Miracle Mile-based bowling alley.
“It’s wonderful,” Bustos said. “She bowls here in league play when she can, when she’d not travelling and other things. And the community’s all behind her, they’re all excited.”