FAIRBANKS, AK-Over the weekend there were a few amazing sports achievements. Natalie Henson, a Bethel woman set a record in power lifting down in Anchorage. There was even a rugby match going on at UAF. I went down to the lanes at the Arctic Bowl for the opening weekend of the Alaska Gold tournament. Not only did I witness a rare feat in bowling but I also stumbled upon a cheerful, dedicated and competitive group of people who want nothing else but to have fun and have the bowling community in Fairbanks grow.
Saturday was day one of the three weekend Alaska Gold Tournament at the Arctic Bowl Lanes. On the first day Alex Holan bowled his first career 800, which requires a 266 average. A near perfect score every game.
"That was my first 800 I ever bowled. I have a couple of 790s. I never reached it. Best feeling I've had as bowler. I have never reached that 800 before, been real close a few times and it's a great feeling," Holan said.
Fellow Alaska Gold bowler Mark Donker was impressed.
"Oh no I've never come close to 800. I have seen I think one other 800. Sets the bar yeah, that set the bar high for some people it did yeah."
But don't let that intimidate you. The bowlers are very inviting and anyone has a chance to win. One of the local bowling hall of famers like Doree Holan, Alex's mother, thinks this is a pretty wide open tournament.
"It is the best of the best. It is a handicap tournament so everybody has a good shot it. If you're a new bowler and you come in with a really low average and you got a good handicap you can take it right away. So, anybody can win it. It's an awesome tournament," Doreen said.
Some of these bowlers are members of the Greater Fairbanks United States Bowling Congress or GFUSBC. The group has a youth program to help develop the next generation of bowlers and make people aware of scholarship opportunities. These Fairbanks bowlers love the game and the family that surrounds it. That was confirmed by GFUSBC president Frank Holan.
"Bowling community in Fairbanks is a very tight knit group. Um, the thing is, is there isn't anything that anyone of the bowlers out here would not to do for one of their fellow bowlers," Frank said.
"Uh the comradey of being out here with your friends, the socialization," Donker added.
"I mean they go above and beyond the call of duty in times of trial and need so, it's a very tight knit group," Frank concluded.