Alley cats

Die-hard bowlers love social aspects of their sport

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Gene Camilletti has been doing it for more than 23 years and usually twice a week.

Beryl Dschack said she's been doing it three times a week for 32 years.

Elba Kil-patrick said there are people who are serious about it, and those who just do it for fun.

"It" is bowling.

Bowling is a necessary element in the lives of more than 200 regular league bowlers and for another 200-plus occasional bowlers in and near Craig.

Camilletti has been bowling in the same men's league every Wednesday night for 23 years. Once a year, his team goes to a men's national tournament to compete with other amateur bowlers from across the country. His team just returned from Baton Rouge, La.

"We usually do pretty good, but that's not the real reason we bowl," he said. "It is just a lot of fun."

Teammate Tom Mathers said bowling had been part of his life for more than 20 years.

"It is about the fellowship and fun with friends -- doing something that involves a little skill and a lot of luck," he said.

He said because he plays in a handicap league, it doesn't matter whether players bowl 100 or 300 -- the teams start out even.

"It's really harder to win against a team that has low scores -- because of the large handicap -- than if you're bowling against one that's the same average as your team," he said.

Dschack said she grew up in a bowling family in North Dakota.

Every year, she and her sisters travel to a national tournament for women and have a blast. She said she loves bowling.

"The passion for the game came from our parents," she said.

"Up until two years or so ago, mother bowled with us. She in her 80s and still substitutes."

Dschack said it is a game for anyone at any age.

"It's recreation and exercise that doesn't take forever to learn and becomes an easy habit," she said.

Dschack said the national women's tournament is in Tulsa, Okla., this year, and she is making plans to attend.

The 86th Women's Interna-tional Bowling Congress Cham-pionship Tourn-ament is expected to draw 40,000 participants.

"Every year, you see people you've met at other tournaments and meet people from all walks of life," she said. "It's exciting and lots of fun."

Mike Bailey said he had given up bowling for several years and came back to it about five years ago.

"I missed it," he said. "I've enjoyed being back on a league again -- it's a great way to enjoy other people and have some fun."

Kilpatrick has owned and operated Craig Lanes for nearly 10 years and thinks bowling is beginning to attract young families.

"Bowling is something parents can actually do with their kids. It's a fun family activity for not too much money," she said.

The city league tournaments are coming up in two weeks.

Craig Lanes has open bowling on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The cost is $3 a game and $1 to rent shoes.

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