Participants were mining for strikes at the 21st annual Gold Pan Bowling Tournament, which took place March 30 at Rev Bowling Lanes in Quesnel.
The 5-pin tourney is always a special event for the Quesnel and Prince George Special Olympic teams, and this year, for the second time, a squad from Dawson Creek came to join in on the fun.
To roll the tournament into action, Prince George’s Elana “Ellie” Bay, community development co-ordinator for North and Central Interior Special Olympics B.C., threw the first ball.
Each of the six teams taking part bowled three games.
Excitement was in the air at the alley, and the bowlers were feeding off the energy of the many supporters.
Throughout the tournament, two bowlers each had four strikes in a row, and there were many double strikes and several turkeys (three strikes in a row).
Six teams were rolling for glory, but there could only be one winner.
As luck, and a touch of skill, would have it, a team from Quesnel took top prize.
Russell Selzler, Gerald Wourms, Haley Higdon, Tyler Kent, Billy Murray and coach Lisa Birch finished with a team average of 596 over three games.
The squad really stepped up when it counted, with a winning score of 104 pins over their average.
A Dawson Creek team made up of Ronnie Collington, David Johnston, Lisa Perry, Dawn Stranquist, Ralph Woidack and coached by Theresa Zakordonski finished in second place with a team average of 758.
Although that average was above the Quesnel squad’s, the contest was decided by how much they beat their average on the day.
In this case, the Dawson Creek team bowled a more-than-respectable 91 pins over average.
The third-place winner was another group from Quesnel.
Bowlers Richard Rossignol, Ahstin Gruending, Tracey Dodgson, Kaylynn Buckland and Walter Cantin, coached by Marg Melnychuk, had a team average of 618, bowling a total of 90 pins over their average.
Needless to say, this was a nail biter, with only one point separating the second- and third-place teams.
The ladies’ high single game of 197 was bowled by Tori Blaich from Quesnel, who entered the tournament with an average of 130.
The men’s high single was a whopping 280 by Cory Melnychuk from Quesnel, whose league average is 193.
Special Olympics Quesnel would like to thank judge of play Stacey Taylor, who kept everything running smoothly during the tournament as well as Johnny O’Dell, who was the first aid attendant during the event.