When the U.S. Open comes to Lincoln next month, a 60-year drought of major pro bowling events in the state will end.

Sun Valley Lanes, just west of downtown Lincoln, will host the 108-bowler national championship Feb. 16 to 23. The stepladder finals will be broadcast live at noon Feb. 23 on Fox.

“We appreciate the opportunity to bring the U.S. Open to Lincoln,” Sun Valley Lanes owner John Losito said in a press release. “The bowling community has been supportive of the major events we have held at Sun Valley Lanes, and I’m sure we’ll deliver another outstanding tournament for the bowlers and the fans.”

Sun Valley teamed with the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Lincoln chapter of the United States Bowling Congress for its successful bid.

Tickets for the TV finals session are sold out. Daily admission tickets for other sessions ($10 Feb. 16 through 20 and $15 for Feb. 21 and 22) are available at www.pba.com/Tickets.

The U.S. Open, a PBA Tour event also open to amateurs, starts with 24 games of qualifying to cut the field to 36 for the cashers’ round. After eight more games, the next cut is to 24 players for round-robin match play, and the five finalists for the televised stepladder finals are determined by total pinfall, including bonus pins, for 56 games.

Pete Weber has won a record five titles. Francois Lavoie from Quebec is the defending champion. He’s held the title since October — the TV deal required new dates for the tournament.

The only other time bowling’s national championship was in Nebraska was 1960. The old Omaha Civic Auditorium was used for the Bowling Proprietors Association of America’s National All-Star Tournament, which was supplanted by the U.S. Open in 1971. Omaha broke the event’s attendance records.

Competition was on 24 lanes installed in the arena for the event. Champions were Harry Smith and Marion Ladewig.

The next year Omaha was a charter member of the short-lived National Bowling League, which turned the Paramount Theater — now The Rose — into a bowling arena. The Omaha Packers were one of the first two teams to fold because of attendance.

The U.S. Open will be only the second time Nebraska has been included in the PBA Tour’s top tier of events, the winter tour. The Mark, then known as Thunder Alley in the Elkhorn neighborhood, held the 2008 Pepsi Championship won by Mike Scroggins. Later that spring, Thunder Alley hosted the NCAA women’s finals.

The previous year, Thunderbowl in Council Bluffs hosted the Go RVing Classic won by Patrick Allen. The 1967 Nebraska Centennial Open, at the old Rose Bowl on the Northwest Radial Highway, was a PBA summer tour event. Lincoln was a fall-tour stop for three years ending in 1971.