Whether it’s league bowling, or getting together and renting a couple of lanes with some friends, bowling hasn’t really changed in 50 years or so.
Despite the basic mechanics of the game remaining the same – roll the ball down the lane and knock over the pins – bowling at Castle Bowl in Castlegar has come a long way.
The popular bowling alley has a state of the art scoring system as well as brand new synthetic lanes and offers cosmic bowling on the weekends.
“We have youth bowling here that runs Wednesday afternoon, Thursday afternoon, and Saturday mornings,” said owner/operator/coach Roland Handley. “We go all the way from ages 4-19 and meet once a week. They bowl for about 25 weeks and wrap up just around the time soccer starts in the spring.”
The young bowlers can participate in several events throughout the year. “The Four Steps to Stardom is kind of the pinnacle of the youth bowling. Teams are made up up early in the new year and will go to a zone final. If they win at the zone final they’ll advance to the provincial final and if they win there, they’ll advance to the national championships,” said Handley.
Castlegar bowlers have had pretty good success in recent years at the provincial and even national level.
“We’ve had two teams that advanced to nationals, one in Gatineau, Quebec, and one in Vancouver,” said Handley. “And we’ve had a number of single bowlers do well. A few years back (2009), Megan Stoushnow of Castlegar won the national championship for the senior division girls in Toronto.”
Adult league bowling continues to be popular and runs six nights of the week at Castle Bowl. Ladies coffee leagues run three mornings a week: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings at the club.
“We’ve got Club 55 which runs Monday and Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings,” said Handley. “We’ve got Special Olympics bowling which this year runs Monday afternoon. We’ve got a lot of leagues going, probably more than most clubs.”
The bowling alley is open to the public on Friday and Saturday nights and does bookings for such things as birthday parties and Christmas parties.
Although bowling doesn’t match the popularity it has had in years past, it still remains popular.
“Bowling just celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in Canada,” said Handley. “Even now with Wii and video games, there’s still something about throwing the ball and knocking down the pins and hearing the noise and everything. Our youth program is down a little bit from last year, as it nationally with a lot of sports. We still have pretty good numbers relative to others. We have one of the highest youth bowling registrations per lane in Canada. We have a lot of kids. All our coaches are certified so that helps.”