The Fallon Youth Bowlers will host its first informational meeting at Oasis Bowl on Aug. 29 before practices begin on Sept. 12 while the group looks to optimize its practice time despite conflicting schedules.
Ronald Dale, coach of the youth bowlers for the past 15 years, has seen several members competing at the state level in the past decade alone, but said the timing is never easy in maintaining the group.
“What we’re having problems with is more or less competing with the other sports,” Dale said of the upcoming season. “Since we run from September to about April, we’re competing with youth football leagues, basketball, baseball and others. When we first started some of those weren’t around. What we’re trying to do is reach those kids who are playing those sports and remind them they can join the league any time.”
In its arguably best years the Fallon Youth Bowlers has had more than 30 bowlers but has since dwindled to less than 10 members last year, though, this didn’t stop last year’s team from sending four to the state tournament (via the United States Bowling Congress) and one Fallon bowler winning second in their division.
To keep up with the curve, Dale said the weekly practices will likely be scheduled on Monday nights to avoid conflicts with other sports. Any bowlers up to 18 years old are welcome.
“We try to get the school to support it a little bit and get some information out,” Dale said as the coach of a non-school funded athletic program, “but we haven’t had much success in that,”
Members of the youth bowlers, however, can still look forward to the return of the No PAP tournament, a nine-pin strike competition fundraise run by the group and some parents. While there is no set date for the tournament, Dale said he is hoping this year’s will be more successful.
“The bowling alley has had new owners over the last two years so we’re trying to build that again,” he said. “Most of that money will go to a scholarship fund we started two years ago. The money goes into a national fund for when the kids are old enough to be used for books.”
The scolarship fund has averaged $1,200-$1,500 since it began, and is made possible by fundraisers such as the tournament and membership fees. While there is a first week $17 participation fee followed by a weekly charge of $8.50, Dale said the club assists low-income members and won’t turn any kids away.
“If the kids are on the lower income side we have a fund we use to help pay for bowling,” Dale said. “They don’t have to pay for the bowling such as in an adult league where they pay every week. We’re just eager to get kids in. It’s actually the future of the adult leagues, really, when we get down to it. Those leagues have been dwindling over the last few years too because not enough kids grow into it.”