The Port Hardy lanes are empty now

They get knocked down

The impossible could happen in the next couple of days during the Vancouver Island 5-pin bowling championships.

The impossible could happen in the next couple of days during the Vancouver Island 5-pin bowling championships.

“In the whole history of Port Hardy, there’s never been a perfect game bowled here,” said Carla Reusch, one of the co-owners of Port Hardy’s North Island Lanes.

“But it could happen this weekend,” she said.

Starting today, six teams of 12 people will come from all over the island to Port Hardy to play in the championship tournament and includes players ranging in age from 18- to 95-years-old.

Teams from Miracle Lanes in Sydney, Duncan Lanes from Duncan, Brechin Lanes from Nanaimo, Sunset Lanes from Parksville and Rainbow Lanes from Port Alberni and, of course, North Island Lanes, will play.

It’s expected there could be as many as 140 people in town because of the tournament, which started in 1986.

“We have people in this tournament since Day 1 and they haven’t missed one (championship),” said Reusch.

While the championship is celebrating it’s 26th year, 2012 marks the first time it’s been played in Port Hardy.

“When (the 5-pin championships) started we had 12 different participating bowling alleys all from Vancouver Island and a waiting list of houses (alleys) that wanted to get in,” said Reusch.

The community is getting involved in the tournament as well.

“The Wild Women’s hockey club will be bartending, ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star will be catering the food over the weekend and the Lion’s Club is hosting our banquet,” said Reusch.

During 5-pin bowling’s heyday, the largest alleys had 12 lanes which could, of course, accommodate 12 teams at a time.

However, many of the bowling alleys have since shut their doors.

“Now there are only six houses left on the island and we have six lanes and can host the championship,” said Reusch.

The tournament will feature men’s’ teams, ladies’ teams and mixed teams as well as singles events. Reusch who, along with her husband and sister, bought the local lanes in 2008 said she’s been bowling for more than 40 years and isn’t happy with what’s going on with the activity she loves.

“Interest in five pin bowling is waning, though we’re trying to resurrect it,” she said.

Reusch added bowling is the perfect thing to do, especially as a group.

“Bowling is one of those sports you can do when you’re five or 95,” she said.

“You can do it together as a family at any time. If you want to do something as a group or a family, bowling is one of the easiest things to do.”

The public is invited to stop by and take in a game or two.

And who knows, maybe you will be able to tell people about the 12 strikes in a row you saw someone roll to bowl a perfect game of 450.

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