It doesn't take much to get Aldo Belmonte excited about a game of tenpin bowling.
But talk to him about the upcoming QubicaAMF Orange Open and you won't be able to wipe the smile from his face.
Last year's event was cancelled due to COVID and it seems bowlers from across the country have been itching at the chance to come back to Orange.
"The tournament has never had more than 64 entrants," Belmonte said.
"Such is the demand this year we're now going to go through to midnight in qualifying because we have another 32 who want to bowl, so 94 in total. I'm over the moon."
There will be bowlers coming from all over the country, everywhere from Queensland to Victoria, from South Australia and possibly even Western Australia.
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- One notable absence will be that of Jason Belmonte, who will be fresh off a quarantine stay after travelling back from the USA. But that doesn't mean he won't be around.
"A lot of these bowlers want to bowl where Jason Belmonte bowls, where the number one in the world bowls," the elder Belmote added.
"Unfortunately he's only just getting home from restrictions from being locked up because he would usually bowl in this but he's going to come in and say hello to everybody over the weekend."
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- The weekend will kick start on Saturday at 8.30am where the first crop of 32 will play until about 1pm. The group will then take to the lanes until about 7pm. Then it's the final group's chance with play expected to run until the clock strikes 12.
Each bowler will bowl games, with the top 32 progressing to Sunday's final series, where they will carry their scores over.
The event will make up part of the NSW Regional Tour, where athletes travel as far as Griffith, Kempsey and Canberra over the course of the year for the chance of being crowned the overall winner.
Michael Craig is a committee member for the tour and will also take part in this weekend's event in Orange.
"Over the years it has grown and developed so we have about nine or ten events every year which is about as high as we can go without cramming the calendar too much," he said.
"We're really trying to cover a fair distance of space and really provide tournaments for bowlers who maybe aren't at the level where they can travel either internationally or inter-state. We're really trying to accommodate that next level down."
The Orange Open is the second stop on the tour, and unlike events earlier in the year, crowds will be allowed inside the bowling arena.
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