As a supportive father and fan, Lorne Craig has been to a number of Canadian bowling championships in the past with his daughter, Marina.
Now, for the first time as a competitor, the elder Craig will get a chance to knock down some pins at a national event this week at the McCurdy Bowling Centre.
Craig is one of as many as 200 bowlers—from Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.—who are expected for the Canadian Tenpin Federation’s 9th annual Canadian Mixed Championships beginning Thursday in Kelowna.
“It’s going to be pretty neat to see the different bowling styles from across the country and to see people who love the sport come together in one place,” said Lorne Craig who has a 212 average this season.
“I think it’s huge to have a national event in our own backyard, it’s great for the game here. I’m going to go out and try have fun, I’m bowling with a good partner, and I should feel pretty comfortable with the surroundings.”
Craig, one of about 60 locals competing, will bowl in the singles event, and in the doubles event with Nancy Cobb. He’ll also join forces with Cobb, Clem Fraser and Wendy Fraser in the team event.
The Canadian Mixed Championship—hosted by the Kelowna Tenpin Bowling Association—is a handicapped event, meaning a bowler of virtually any ability can walk away with a national title.
For example, if a bowler with a 125 average performs well enough, he or she could easily knock off a player with a 200 average or better.
“What this kind of event does is shows people with lower averages that they can compete, it really levels the playing field,” said Merlin Bunnage, the general manager of McCurdy Bowling Centre and two-time Canadian World Cup champion.
“That’s the great thing about it. It gives every player, regardless of average, a chance to come out and kick my butt,” Bunnage added with a laugh.
The Canadian mixed tournament is the third national event McCurdy has hosted in the last eight years. A national youth tournament came to Kelowna in 2003, while the national classified championship stopped at McCurdy in 2004.
“It’s always exciting for us to host national events like these,” said Bunnage. “These are a lot of fun and I know everyone involved here is excited about it. It’s a chance to show off our facility and our city.”
Bowlers will compete in the singles, doubles, and team categories with awards also being handed out for all-events combined scores.
The opening ceremony goes at 6 p.m. on Thursday, with the first round of action beginning at 7 p.m. Competition will run right through until Sunday with the final session beginning at 3 p.m.
As luck would have it, the hosting of the Canadian Mixed Championship just happens to coincide with the official launching of the Kelowna Tenpin Bowling Association’s new web site.
Designed by four Okanagan College students, known as the Pin Pals, the site came online on Monday and is an exciting new addition for the local association.
“It’s fantastic for us, it’s very user-friendly and the Pin Pals deserve all the credit,” said Craig Taylor, communications coordinator for the KTBA. “About 70 per cent of it is geared to the bowlers in our association, about 20 per cent promotes the City of Kelowna, and another 10 per cent promotes McCurdy. It’s a one-stop shop for local bowlers and for bowlers from out of town. Everything is right there on the site and we’re excited about it.”
For more information, visit the new KTBA web site at www.ktbatenpin.ca.