New York City was always a forerunner in the gay sports community. It had one of the first organized gay bowling leagues in the US. In 1980, it was one of the founding cities in the creation of IGBO (International Gay Bowling Organization), thanks to Tom Hack, IGBO’s first president. In the years that followed IGBO's founding, many cities across the US established annual tournaments. During this period, New York established four large leagues and communication began as to which league would host a New York City tournament. It was a bowler from Queens who envisioned a tournament organized and run by individuals from all the different leagues, and the Gotham Open Tournament was born. This individual was Ken Hale. Ken, who dedicated several years of his life to our tournament, was honored posthumously for his hard work with the naming of the Ken Hale Award. This Award was established to honor a bowler in the New York City community whose character, ideals and dedication matched those of the Gotham Open founders. It is the most prestigious award given by our tournament. The following individuals have been honored with this award:

2019 - Ron Connors-Ehlert
2018 - Gene Egan
2017 - Bert Messina
2016 - David Inloes
2015 - Glenn Daly
2014 - Donnie Fratello
2013 - Bob Sorbanelli

2012/2011 - No Award
2010 - Darrell Tucci
2009 - Rob Vitale
2008 - Lou Rodrique
2007 - Alan Platoff
2006 - Dora Davenport
2005 - Ted Gliptis
2004 - Amando Hernandez
2003 - Chris Benoit
2002 - Joe Curci
2001 - Paul Monsour
2000 - Donna McGowan
1999 - Jeff Weinberg
1998 - Todd Denmark
1997 - Pete McGahan
1996 - Marc Nathan
1995 - Tom DeConza
1994 - Joe DeVita
1993 - Glenn Denis
1992 - Ron Keel