Willowbrook Lanes’ Michael Dicks (left to right), Brandon Kirk, Ryan Edwards, Braydyn Ingebrigtsen, and Casey Robitaille are representing Langley at this weekend’s Youth Bowling Council national championships. Below: Willowbrook Lanes owners Bob and Cheryl Randall.

Langley bowlers ready to roll at nationals

Five from Willowbrook Lanes set to compete at Youth Bowling Canada 4 Steps to Stardom national championships

For 14 years Casey Robitaille has been perfecting his bowling techniques at Willowbrook Lanes.

Practising three to four times a week, the 20-year-old bowls in three different leagues and won gold with Willowbrook Lanes’ senior boys team at the Youth Bowling Canada (YBC) 4 Steps to Stardom tournament in March.

Now Robitaille, and his teammates Braydyn Ingebrigtsen, Ryan Edwards and Brandon Kirk, will be representing Langley at the 49th annual YBC National Championships, being co-hosted by Willowbrook Lanes from May 4-6.

Also joining them will be Langley senior boys singles gold medalist Michael Dicks.

For them, competing in nationals is one of the top goals they have all been striving for.

“Bowling kind of started out as something my parents got me into, and I liked it, so my goal was to get to nationals ever since I really started to get competitive ,” Robitaille said. “It just drove me to get to the top.”

One of the most challenging parts of competition is staying focused on the game, Robitaille said.

Only 10 per cent of the game comes down to your skills, the other 90 per cent is all mental.

“It’s kind of like a roller coaster,” he said. “If you have a bad game and you lose you’ve got to be able to get back up from that. Let’s say you bowl the highest game you’ve ever bowled, and you lose, and you can get down on yourself. You just have to throw that out the door and go back and be able to win the next match.”

The five Langley bowlers will join more than 300 other youth bowlers from across Canada to compete at the national event.

Though the numbers of bowling leagues has been declining in recent years, events like the YBC national Championships proves that there is still a great demand for high level competitions, said Bob Randall, owner of Willowbrook Lanes.

He and his wife purchased the bowling alley in 1986, and have witnessed participation in the sport decline by 60 per cent in the Lower Mainland in the last 20 years.

“It’s the same thing we see happening with church groups, curling or anything that requires people to say every Saturday at 10 o’clock I will be there,” Randall said. “Plus competition from video games or movie theatres — there’s other things to do. Transportation is so easy now, kids can go to a hockey game one week and play a soccer game the next week and go to MetroTown the following week.”

While the sport is relatively inexpensive for kids to participate in — only $250 a year with no equipment to purchase — the upkeep of bowling facilities is very expensive. The first 25,000 games that are bowled at Willowbrook Lanes every year cover just the property taxes.

“Langley is a tough place to have a bowling centre because there’s a lot of space between the foul line and the pins and we have to pay $60,000 a year in taxes to have that piece of property,” Randall said.  “It becomes almost prohibitory expensive. There will not be another new bowling centre opening up in Langley, you cannot support it.

“It’s not about the money, but at some point you have to say it is, because you need that money to survive. I’m doing this because I want to be doing this, because I love the sport.”

For Randall, one of the most satisfying parts of running his business is seeing kids like Robitaille and Dicks work hard to become successful in the sport.

“For me the best part would be seeing a young family come in here looking for something to do, maybe a birthday party or what have you, and have the kids get involved in the program, have the parents get involved in the program. Have their grandfather or grandmother come down and play as a senior.

“We have kids here that are five whose mom and dad bowl in a league, who’s grandparents bowl in a seniors’ league, and they have something in common. And to see those kids grow, learn to enjoy the game and want to be here. No one ever made it a living playing 5-pin bowling, but certainly to be part of the bowling community and go to zone, provincial and national finals is really a highlight for me. Just to watch the growth.”

For more information on Willowbrook Lanes and their programs visit www.willowbrooklanes.ca. To find out more about the YBC national championships visit www.youthbowling.ca/ybcnationals.

Just Posted

Langley toddler with sun ‘allergy’ waiting for bone marrow transplant

Charlie Lock, 2, needs treatment to reverse damage caused by rare disorder EPP

Vancouver Giants sign forward Lukas Svejkovsky

The Vancouver Giants’ newest acquisition is being described as “an incredibly skilled… Continue reading

VIDEO: Township fire crews battle blaze in abandoned house

Thursday night fire is latest in a series of empty Willoughby homes to burn

‘Sabrina’ series will film late into the night in Cloverdale

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina will be on location at ‘Cerberus Books’ until early Saturday

Thunder down Victoria Shamrocks in Western Lacrosse Association action

Langley team closes the season with two games against Burnaby

BC Games’ Athletes Corner: What’s your favourite pump up song?

Check out what’s playing in the earbuds of BC Summer Games athletes before they compete

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

VIDEO: How to throw a frisbee

Ultimate frisbee player Amy Mackay shows off the proper technique

Site C dam project plagued by problems: expert

E. Harvey Elwin expresses concern about internal BC Hydro and government documents

Most Read