‘We’re in it for the shirts’
June 11, 2012
The Foundry Cinema & Bowl in Fraser is projected to open the last week of June or the first week of July depending on permitting, according to Owner/Developer, Mark Unicume. “It was fun to build. Everyone will appreciate the finish,” said Unicume. “The goal is to give Grand County something special.”Some of the tasks that are finished include the exterior, paving and painting stripes on the parking lot, he said. The inside of the theater and the electronics are scheduled to be finished by June 15.Much of the custom furniture was built at Grand Woodworks in Tabernash, such as tables, chairs and high top tables, he said. “The movie theater was designed around food and beverage to allow pizza and beverages into it. We sacrificed seats to be able to eat comfortably, and it’s a new trend in the movie industry,” he said.BowlingA new bowling alley is not complete without people to play in it. Francie de Vos of Fraser was so excited about the potential for leagues, she’s been organizing and talking about if for months leading up to the opening. “We are excited to have options for local bowlers,” said de Vos. “People have been stopping me up on the street and asking me to help pick out bag, ball and shoes,” she said.Terry Pratt is the president of the state bowling association and director of Grand County’s USBC bowling association. An avid bowler since she was a child, it doesn’t matter what age you are, she said.”I’ve traveled with my mother who is now 75; you can always bowl,” she said.Ability isn’t a factor, either.”Ability doesn’t matter, just being there and doing it, I get better and I enjoy it,” said Becky Allison, manager of Grand County Bowling Association.And bowling is something people can always do without spending a lot of money, said Pratt. “It doesn’t depend on weather – you can always bowl,” she said. She firmly believes that if you bowl for three years, you will be a bowler for life, admitting that “I’m going to be 86 and bowling.”De Vos will be right there with her, in a senior league, she said.These Grand County residents love to bowl and are excited to have a “new house” – the lingo for bowlers. Allison has also been getting calls from people interested in leagues. “It is going to be a different experience than in Grand Lake,” said de Vos . In Grand Lake there are wood lanes and manual scoring. In Fraser, there will be automatic scoring and synthetic lanes.Youth groupsWhat is great about the bowling alley next to the Grand Park Recreation Center is the ability to have youth groups, said Dave Lorenz, president of the Grand County Bowling Association. “The recreation department is very supportive and getting the word out about bowling programs.”With backing from the U.S. Bowling Congress for training and coaching, Lorenz is excited about having coaching programs for different levels. The recreation department will send people for basic coaching. From that, bolwers can progress to bronze and silver level coaching, he said.TournamentsBecky Allison submits players’ averages, which allows them into state and national tournaments. Grand County’s local association has 130 members ages 20 to 80. “Sixty percent of the local women bowlers participate in traveling to the state or national tournament,” said Allison. “We do lane inspections and the committee inspects the lanes at the start of the season,” said de Vos . “We measure length, width, gutter depth, and weigh pins. We make sure everything is in compliance and allow for certified leagues,” she said. In addition to the challenge of playing in tournaments there is a social aspect that draws residents into the leagues.”What I enjoy the most is meeting people, and socializing. I’ve met people bowling that I’ve never seen in the county,” de Vos said.”But it’s also competitive,” adds Lorenz. “For me, I go for socializing, and to meet people.”For Pratt, it’s about traveling to national tournaments. “I’ve been to 31 national tournaments, and it allows me see the U.S., and I aspire to do better each year. That is why I’ve stuck with it.”Many of the league bowlers in the county have traveled to El Paso, Niagara Falls, Hartford, Tampa, and Toledo to compete in tournaments. “As a single mom I got asked to bowl with ladies from the Post Office in Granby and had a blast,” said Allison. “I never would’ve thought about bowling. Terry asked me to go to Nationals in North Carolina, a place I never would have thought about going to.” Some of the participants have gone to the state competition each year and they start to run into the same people every year. “That is a lot of fun,” Allison said. “I’m looking forward to Western Slope, which is a smaller Colorado tournament held in different small town in July.”Trophies, on the other hand are a thing of the past. Trophies take up space and people don’t want to dust them, said Pratt. Recently trophies have been replaced by patches for shirts. Then USBC changed it, and for the last three years winner have been receiving magnets. “We like patches and pins, it just got expensive,” said Pratt. “Magnets will go away this year. In 2012-13 the awards will be bag tags so participants can put them on their bowling bags.Winning (and raising) moneyDuring league play there are opportunities to win money and to combine winnings as fundraisers for local nonprofits. Each year, Allison will send letters to local nonprofits asking them to submit a letter of interest to receive money from bowling brackets.The bowling organization’s board selects three nonprofits. This year they chose Advocates and CASA. Past recipients have been Pet Pals and the Grand County Historical Association. The Thursday morning Lady Bugs fundraise the most and some years they get many requests.Bowling historyGrand County has a Women’s Bowling Museum located at the Tillotson Ranch with archives from almost 60 years of women bowling history. In the museum there are uniforms, awards, trophies, and scrapbooks. It was started by Pratt’s mother, Bev Tillotson, an avid bowler. “Bowling is about family, it’s a tradition,” said Pratt.Bev Tillotson was active in the Colorado Women’s Bowling Association and went to state meets and tournaments. When the organization dissolved, members needed space for their artifacts, so Tillotson took the archives to her ranch in Grand County to preserve the history.Bowling is fun”I play for fun but I don’t like recreational or open bowling,” said de Vos. She prefers the structure of a league so bowlers adhere to the etiquette. However, open bowling is a fun way to test shots and not worry about gutters or looking bad, said Pratt. “For me it’s good practice time and a time to try different balls.””I bowl better when it’s open bowl,” said Becky Allison. “It’s not as much pressure and I take my daughter, Kodi, and she’s pretty good.”Leagues now formingThe leagues will start after Labor Day and there will be sign-ups and announcements in Grand Lake and Fraser. Four leagues will play each week in Fraser, at a minimum, said de Vos. Four to five leagues will also continue in Grand Lake.