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Bowlers strike gold at Nationals

Three Terrace five-pin bowlers have returned from the Master Bowlers’ Association Nationals in Calgary
Here’s Dave Borgford

Three Terrace five-pin bowlers have returned from the Master Bowlers’ Association Nationals in Calgary with a handful of medals to show for their efforts.

Jo-Anne Borgford, the Master Bowler zone director for the northwest zone, her husband Dave, and first-time national competitor Al Annett made the trek to Calgary June 29 to July 3 – the first national event to be held in the city after the flooding – for the tournament, representing Team BC.

The provincial team is made up of five smaller teams – two tournament teams, both a mens and a ladies; a seniors team; and two teaching teams, which the Terrace players played on, both mens and ladies. The teaching division is for players who are also coaches at their local bowling alley and is sometimes referred to as POA – Pins Over Average – meaning bowlers don’t bowl scratch, or straight scores, they bowl pins over their average.

“So if I bowl 10 pins over my average, and the next person bowls only five pins over their average, I win,” explained Jo-Anne.

And win she did – she took silver as part of the Ladies Teaching Team, and gold as the Singles Rep.

“That’s a big one for me,” she said. “I’ve won gold in the team events before, but never in the singles.”

Dave and Annett were both integral to the Men’s Teaching Team, which took silver, and Dave also competed as the Singles Rep, winning bronze.

“Our teams overall for BC did really good. I think out of 10 events we took six medals,” she said.

Although Annett has been to a few provincial tournaments, this was his first nationals – Dave has been to four nationals, in both the teaching and the tournament divisions and Jo-Anne has been to the nationals nine times both coaching and bowling. She says she loves seeing “rookies” experience the tournament for the first time.

“It’s so amazing for them to be at this national event for the first time,” she said, noting that on Alberta night the rookies were subjected to a ‘branding’ (with stamps, not fire) at a bull riding event.

Another highlight is catching up with the friends they have made over the years at provincials and nationals.

Both Jo-Anne and Dave have been bowling for over 40 years.

“We both started very young. I’ve got 40, he’s probably got about 44. We both started in as children. I started at the age of three and he started when he was about six – so yeah, lots of years!” she said.

They started so young because bowling runs in the family.

“When my parents first arrived to Canada in the late ‘60s, which was just before I was born, they had moved to what is now Maple Ridge. And my mom went and joined bowling to try to meet new people, and that’s how we all kind of got into it. She kind of went off and started bowling on a weekly basis, and really enjoyed it. And when they moved to Kitimat she continued and my dad started bowling at that point. And all of us kids started bowling,” she said.

And then when she was six, her family bought the Terrace Bowling Alley, which her dad still owns, so the whole family had ample space to practise and hone their skills.

Dave’s family also owned a bowling alley in the Lower Mainland throughout his teens, so he was well into the scene when he and Jo-Anne met 22 years ago at a Master Bowlers event.

“I was the organizer for the division he was bowling in at the time, which was the tournament division and that’s how I met him,” she said. “Bowling has definitely been a common thing. We are quite involved in coaching, quite involved in bowling ourselves – he’s a better bowler, by a long shot.”

And the plan is to continue to stay involved in bowling, coaching at the Terrace lanes, organizing tournaments, and helping to nurture the upcoming bowlers here in Terrace. In fact, of the six bowlers who went for the last provincials, five made the cut.

“That’s great odds,” she said.