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Complete list of championship rules that apply to the Masters, Queens, Senior Masters and Senior Queens, alphabetized by subject.

For additional event-specific rules, click here: Senior Queens



       Bowling Balls

  • Each entrant will be allowed a maximum of eight bowling balls in the bowling center at one time. Any or all bowling balls may be changed before or after any qualifying block or match.
  • All bowling balls must meet USBC specifications.
  • Plugged bowling balls are allowed.
  • Random bowling ball checking may be done as deemed necessary by tournament management.
  • Any bowler may request to have her bowling balls checked prior to competition.
  • Any ball with the official USBC approval on it may be used.


  • No substance, including but not limited to talcum powder and EZ Slide, can be applied to the bottom of a player’s shoes.


  • Once competition begins, the outer surface of the ball may only be cleaned with a dry towel.


  • An allocated position for the defending champion will be held until tournament entry closing date. Entry fees are the responsibility of the defending champion. If the position has not been claimed by tournament entry closing, the position will be released.
  • The defending champion will bowl all qualifying squads.  The bowler will be seeded appropriately according to total qualifying score unless finishing below the lowest match play qualifier. If defending champion is below the lowest match play qualifier, the bowler will be seeded in the lowest position for match play.
  • If the defending champion withdraws from the tournament before match play begins, the bowler will forfeit the opportunity to compete in match play and will be automatically placed in lowest position for match play and will cash in that position. The first two matches (double elimination) for that seed would be forfeited with the opponent still having to bowl their three games to advance. 


  • If a delay of 10 minutes or longer occurs during competition, tournament management, at its discretion, may authorize warm-up ball(s) prior to the re-starting of competition.


  • A collared shirt with the participant’s name on the back must be worn during every round of competition. Mock turtlenecks or bowling jerseys without collars are allowed.
  • Lettering must be at least two inches in height.
  • Last or full name on a detachable name plaque is acceptable.
  • Paper name plaques are not acceptable.
  • Men must wear dress slacks.
  • Women may wear dress slacks, shorts or skirts. Shorts or skirts must be longer than your fingers when arm is extended down the side of the body. Women may not wear shorts in the Masters or Senior Masters. 

       Examples of prohibited attire include but are not limited to

  • Tank tops, halter tops, bare midriffs, spaghetti strap tops, hats (medical reason only), etc.
  • Workout attire, short shorts, short skirts, bib overalls, t-shirts.
  • Cords, jeans, or any kind of denim.

       Practice Session

  • The dress code for the official practice session will be the same as the tournament dress code, with the following exception: Name is not required to be on the back of the shirt.

       Stepladder Finals

  • Name on back of participant’s shirts must be embroidered or sewn if the event is televised. Detachable name plaques are not acceptable.


  • Bowlers will be required to change if attire is deemed inappropriate by tournament management.
  • Tournament management has the authority to fine a bowler $50 for each offense.
  • Tournament management decision will be final.


  • Entrants are NOT permitted to smoke or drink alcoholic beverages while participating in this event. This includes from the start of practice to the last ball thrown for score in qualifying, match play and finals.
  • Bowlers are permitted to eat a small snack (ex: power bars, candy bars, fruit) during competition.


  • All participants must be current USBC members. Proof of membership must be shown upon check-in.
  • If current membership cannot be verified, USBC associate membership card must be purchased at the tournament site at a cost of $21.00 USD.
  • All participants give USBC their unqualified permission to use their photograph for publicity purposes, to arrange for the telecasts or broadcasts of the tournament without cost to the participant and without sharing revenue derived therefrom with them.
  • USBC Sport membership is not an eligibility requirement. However, in order to be eligible for USBC Sport awards earned, a USBC Sport membership is required.  To upgrade your current USBC membership to a USBC Sport membership, the cost is $15.00 USD. It must be purchased prior to competition and is available at registration.
  • Current and former PBA members must be in good standing with the PBA.


  • Entry deadline is the start of the first official practice session.


  • Unsportsmanlike behavior will not be tolerated on the lanes or inside the tournament venue.
  • Individuals are subject to ejection for engaging in improper tactics or conduct including, but not limited to, physical and verbal abuse toward another person.

FORMAT (see “qualifying” and “match play”)



  • Pattern will be posted at the tournament venue, no later than the start of the official practice session.


  • The number of bowlers to qualify for match play will depend on entries.
    • 48-95 entries: 16 bowlers in match play
    • 96-191 entries: 32 bowlers in match play
    • 192+ entries: 64 bowlers in match play
  • Defending champion is guaranteed a spot in match play. See “defending champion” for more details.
  • Each match will consist of three games. Total pin fall shall determine the winner.
  • Double-elimination format will be used. A player is eliminated after two losses. Stepladder finals may be used.
  • All match-play participants start in the Winners’ Bracket. After losing one match they enter the Elimination Bracket.
  • If forfeiture occurs in the Winners’ Bracket, the forfeiting bowler automatically goes into the proper position in the Elimination Bracket.
  • The order of bowling will be according to match-game procedure with the bowler on the odd lane starting first.  Higher seed from qualifying will have choice of starting lane throughout match play.
  • Alternates will not be used in match play. Bowlers arriving late for his/her match in any round will bowl beginning with the frame then being bowled by their opponent. Failure to appear, regardless of cause, will constitute a forfeiture of the match. The opponent must still bowl his/her three games to advance to the succeeding round. A pacer, if available, will be allowed.
  • If forfeiture occurs in any round in the winner’s bracket, the bowler forfeiting the match would still be eligible to bowl in his/her next scheduled match in the Elimination Bracket.
  • If a bowler is disabled during the match and is unable to continue, he/she will receive a zero for all missed frames.


  • Official practice sessions will be available to all bowlers. Dates and times of the practice sessions will be posted on the official tournament webpage under “schedule”.
  • There are no lane assignments for the practice sessions. Bowlers are free to move around the venue.
  • Tournament dress code applies to the practice session. However, shirts with names on them are not required.
  • A limited amount of practice will also be available to each bowler prior to each qualifying round and match play round.


  • Bowlers who earn prize money in this event will be paid by check.
  • If for any reason a bowler wishes to waive the prize money, it is the participant’s responsibility to notify tournament staff in writing, at time of registration regarding their refusal of the prize money. If the prize money is waived, the amount will be returned to the prize fund for distribution.
  • The tournament champion will receive symbolic awards. For the Queens and Senior Queens, this will include a necklace and tiara.
  • The only sums to which a participant will be entitled for bowling in this tournament are those prizes or awards which may be won by the participant in this tournament.
  • The IRS requires USBC to furnish 1099 forms to individuals who accumulate winnings of $600 or more annually in any USBC event in which they participate. Therefore, social security numbers are required by IRS regulations.
  • Failure to furnish a social security number (U.S. citizens) or Individual Tax ID Number-ITIN (Non US citizens) to USBC will result in a 30% tax reduction of the prize check.
  • Prize checks are distributed at the tournament. Prize checks that are not distributed will be mailed to participants within 30 days of the conclusion of the tournament. 
  • If a bowler has a USBC Youth membership they can still maintain their youth eligibility to participate in youth certified competition by signing a USBC Prize Waiver (available on site). Tournament winnings will be deposited in the SMART scholarship program unless the player waives claim to his/her winnings.  Collegiate bowlers should verify prize acceptance policies with their Compliance Offices prior to participating in the competition.


  • Protests concerning scoring accuracy must be filed with tournament management immediately.
  • Complaints concerning approach conditions or other equipment must be brought to the attention of the chief supervisor on duty.
  • An inspection will be made and then, if needed, corrections will be made.
  • If complaint is determined to be unwarranted, the contestant must proceed to bowl or the games will be declared forfeited.


  • Each entrant will bowl three blocks of five games each. Each bowler’s 15-game total will be used to determine qualifiers for match play. (NOTE: 2013 Queens will use different format. See event-specific rules for details.)
  • A bowler arriving late will begin play and his/her score will count beginning with the frame then being bowled.
  • If entered in the event, the defending champion must bowl all 15 games of qualifying.


  •  refund will be given, less $50 cancellation fee, to a bowler who withdraws prior to the start of the official practice session.
  • Those who withdraw/cancel may obtain their own replacements. Bowlers who obtain replacements will make their own arrangements as to repayment of their individual entry fees.
  • USBC must be notified of replacements prior to the close of entries, which is the start of the first official practice session.
  • No replacements will be permitted after the tournament begins.


  • All bowlers must register/check in prior to the official practice session. Bowlers who are not able to check in at the official practice session must notify tournament management to make other arrangements or risk being fined or disqualified at the discretion of tournament management.
  • Current USBC membership card must be shown at the initial check-in.


  • Each bowler is allowed to take two re-racks per game during qualifying and match play.
  • Additional re-racks may be granted with tournament management’s permission.


  • Squad assignments will be posted on the official tournament webpage no later than seven days prior to the first day of qualifying. It is the bowler’s responsibility to know which squad he/she is on.
  • If a bowler is late for his/her squad, he/she will receive zero for each frame that he/she has missed. Bowlers who are late for an earlier squad will not be moved to a later squad except for special circumstances.
  • Tournament management reserves the right to change the number of qualifying squads in the tournament as late as seven days prior to the first day of qualifying, based on entries.


  • The definition of the “start of competition” is  when the participant’s first ball is thrown for score during qualifying, match play and the stepladder finals (if the tournament has a stepladder finals).



  • If there is a tie for the final position needed to complete the field for match play, one complete game shall immediately be bowled. The bowlers will draw for the starting lane, and the bowler on the odd lane will start. Bowlers shall have five minutes of practice. In case of a tie, failure of any bowler to be immediately available in the bowling center will constitute forfeiture.
  • If a tie still exists at the end of the game a complete 9th and 10th frame shall be bowled. The frame will be bowled on the same lane on which each bowler finished the game. Bowler on the odd lane will start first. This procedure will be followed until a tie is broken.
  • In the event of a tie for any other position, the bowler with the high five-game qualifying series will be placed in the higher position. Should a tie still exist, the second-highest five-game qualifying series will be used. If necessary, the high single qualifying game will be used, and so on down until the tie is broken.

       Match Play

  • If a match ends in a tie, a complete game will be bowled on the same pair of lanes to break the tie, with each bowler starting on the lane where she finished the match. The bowler on the odd lane will start.
  • If a tie still exists after the game, a complete 9th and 10th frame will be bowled. The 9th frame will be bowled on the same lane on which each bowler finished the last game, and the 10th frame on the other lane. This procedure will be followed until the tie is broken.


  • Tournament management has the final authority to make interpretations of any tournament rules and make decisions regarding anything not covered in the rules.



To the Executive Director of the United States Bowling Congress:  I hereby make application to participate in the 2013 USBC championship event listed and tender the entry fees required therefore. I warrant that I am a USBC member. I agree to abide by all tournament playing rules and regulations prescribed by USBC, including all provisions set forth on this form. I specifically agree for myself and any replacement chosen by me or for me that if I am not eligible for participation and/or cannot bowl in the event, then my prize, bowling, and expense fees shall be forfeited and all sums tendered by me as prize, bowling and expense fee may be retained by USBC as liquidated damages. The entrant whose name appears hereon or my authorized replacement hereby agrees that the USBC, its officers and agents shall be liable only to the extent of returning entry fees, less expenses, if and when that entrant shall be prevented from bowling any event in the tournament through premature termination of the tournament, which may be brought about by war, national emergency or emergencies or causes relating thereto resulting therefrom, fires, labor difficulties, terrorism or threats of terrorism, or other causes beyond the control of USBC. I further agree that USBC may use my name and likenesses (including video) for promotional purposes at no cost to me and with no fees being paid to me.
The entrant whose name appears on this application and/or authorized replacement hereby agrees that the USBC, and its officers and agents, shall not be liable for any injury resulting from participation in bowling in the event, absent willful or gross negligence on the part of USBC.


Revised 7/12


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