Local bowlers take home top prize from nationals

Bryce Forbes

The team of Jim Fowler, Bruce Henry and Ken Dick, all from Fort Frances, made the most of their first opportunity as a team at the national level.
At the Club 55+ Triple Team National Five-Pin Championships in Winnipeg last week, the team was almost perfect—winning nine out of ten possible games.
Their only loss was against the host team, Manitoba, who they had beaten earlier in the tournament.
Representing the Northern Ontario area, Dick led the way, bowling his to the highest average of all the competitors in the six-team tournament at 265.30 points per game.
“I played pretty well and the other two guys who bowled under 200, they bowled quite well themselves,” said Dick, whose average of 265 was 51 points over his typical score.
He bowled over 300 twice in the tourney but admits he slowed down on the second day.
While he put up an average of 293 the first day, he only bowled a 247 on the championship day.
“I had been struggling all year to bowl well and it’s not anything against Plaza Lanes (in Fort Frances), but it is tough to bowl on,” Dick said.
It was also a special birthday present for Dick as he turned 61 the day after the event.
“There was no big prize,” he noted. “It’s a banner and a gold medal. I felt good for the guys with me cause I don’t think they have experienced anything like that before.”
The team earned their way into the tournament with wins in Dryden and then provincials at Timmins, Ont. in April.
Fowler joined the trio for this tournament as original member Rick Stamarski was down in Florida, awaiting the birth of his first grandchild.
He filled in nicely, rolling a 175.90 or about 17 points over his average.
“It was neat as in it was the first time we had joined a league in Fort Frances and we thought we would put in a team on a lark,” said Dick.
“We won in Dryden, won in Timmins, and now we won in Winnipeg,” he declared.
“There was a group of us who are all retired and we decided to put together a team. There are six on our regular team,” noted Henry.
He had been participating in the provincial roll-offs for seven years and coped with the stress but the team admits they tried to keep the mood light.
“I’ve bowled at a high level before so to actually win was nice,” he said. “But it was more happy for them cause they have never experienced anything like that before.
“We just completely had fun and when someone struggled, we said ‘nice shot’ even if it wasn’t.
“Sarcasm seemed to work pretty good cause I’ve known Bruce and Jim for a long time so basically we joked around and had fun,” he continued.
“People around us were astonished we were laughing and enjoying ourselves.”
Teammate Bruce Henry echoed a similar statement.
“We just all got along and are kidding each other all the time,” he said. “If one guy threw the ball down the gutter, we would joke with nice shot. Trying to get us to relax.”
The three members of the team had known each other for most of their lives and said it helped throughout nationals.
The team had high hopes going into the tournament but noted they did not know what to expect since they have never competed at this level of competition before.
“We were looking to win it, but we didn’t know what the other provinces are like. They probably had the same idea,” said Henry.
“Even if you think you can bowl well in nationals, the important thing is you still have to do it,” added Dick. “A 120 bowler can easily beat a 250 bowler with the handicap system.”
But in the end, it was the youngest team at the tourney who took home the big prize.
“It was a team event and we won as a team,” Dick said. “Without the other two guys, I couldn’t have done it by myself.
“Bruce and Jim picked it up on the second day so they helped me.”
So how does a group of over-sixty-year-olds celebrate taking home the big prize?
The only natural way—heading to the casino and dropping a little cash before descending to their hotel rooms and catching up on some much needed sleep.