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Steelers DE Ziggy Hood to participate in Strikes 4 Kids charity bowling tournament

Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood and other Steelers players will be in attendance at a charity bowling tournament June 8 in Mt. Lebanon. Tickets are on sale now.

Ronald Martinez

Joe Allen is a well-connected guy.

Based in Northern California, he has enough contacts within the NFL to establish a charitable organization to benefit kids, something he says has been a lifelong quest.

To scratch that itch, naturally, the smart move for him is to create a running series of bowling tournaments, attended by NFL players, to raise money for worthy causes.

That's the root of Strikes 4 Kids, a charitable organization Allen started in 2011 with the idea of getting NFL players together in their team's cities to roll a few frames alongside fans, and give the money raised to charity.

Strikes 4 Kids is hosting a tournament June 8 at Mt. Lebanon Lanes in Pittsburgh, and among "six to 10 other players," says Allen, Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood will be there.

"Bowling is a perfect avenue for this," Allen said. "It gives fans an opportunity to mingle with the athletes. Everyone bowls, there isn't one skill set."

As far as charitable events go, it's a genius move. Bowling is the perfect mix of competition and leisure. There are NFL players who even bowl competitively (read; professionally) on the side.

His event is growing considerably in popularity, too. Strikes 4 Kids recently did an event at the National Bowling Stadium (yes, stadium) in Reno, Nev., in March. Allen says his organization will host similar events in cities throughout the upcoming NFL season. They're targeting NFL teams that just played in Thursday night games, hosting the event the following Saturday.

"The National Bowling Stadium is 365,000 square feet," Allen said, or, approximately 20 percent the size of Heinz Field. "There are 75 lanes, and we had five people on every lane It was absolute pandemonium."

Athletes were in the middle lanes, giving fans an opportunity to get close to them, take pictures and "mingle," Allen said.

"I had a passion for working with under-priviledged youth," Allen said. "I wanted to do something fun and help them have an opportunity to advance their lives. My connections to the professional athlete realm, it just went from there. The children love seeing the athletes. It was an easy, no-brainer decision to continue to develop it."

He mentioned the possibility of drawing broadcast coverage from ESPN at some point down the line, mentioning he's gotten the buy-in from other NFL players like San Francisco's Joe Staley, Seattle's Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo's Stevie Johnson, Minnesota's Jerome Felton and Atlanta's Julio Jones.

He was mum on who the other Steelers players who will be in attendance June 8, but only because they haven't confirmed formally yet.

Tickets to the event can be purchased through the organization's web site, and pizza and soft drinks are included, along with at least two games, photo opportunities and raffle opportunities.

Any questions contact Event Director Joe Allen at or (559) 241-4412.

Strikes 4 Kids is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit based in Northern, CA. The mission of Strikes 4 Kids is to provide the highest level of impacting the lives of children. We strive to ensure that children who are less fortunate going through difficult situations stay strong and positive. The events our organization host raise a great amount to be given back to those organizations in each community who strive themselves to make a lasting impact on those children. To add a unique twist to the events we partner professional athletes with non-profit organizations. This gives the children who look up to these players an opportunity to meet and take pictures with their hero's whom they love to watch and root for on Sundays.