Hundreds of Bowlers of All Abilities Fill Special Olympics State Tournament

Over 5,000 participants statewide, over 450 here in Duluth.

DULUTH, Minn.- Hundreds of bowlers of all abilities gathered at the Incline Station in Downtown Duluth for Special Olympic’s Minnesota’s State Tournament.

Duluth was one of nine cities hosting a state tournament Sunday, adding to the pot of over 5,000 participants statewide.

Bowling balls land on the lane floor with a resounding thud.

“Knock those pins down,” Jeniece Klammer of the Road Runners team said.

Over 450 participants took to the lanes for Special Olympics Minnesota’s biggest event.

“This is our state bowling tournament, it’s our biggest event in Special Olympics Minnesota’s history if you can believe it,” said Katie Howlett, Marketing and Communications Specialist for Special Olympics Minnesota.

Bowlers of all ages and all abilities started down the lanes at the pins, ready to run them down.

“Trying to get straight down the middle, but there’s so many distractions, noises, cause the loud noise kinda make you lose, you’re distracted but I try to get my best shot,” said Brent Langerud of the Road Runners Team.

Each bowler has their own stance, their own way of releasing the ball. And this game is perfect for that.

“Bowling is one of our most accessible sports you can imagine it’s really a great sport for people of all ages,” Howlett said. “It’s not a contact sport, it’s really easy to pick up and do at your local bowling alley in your community.”

The tournament is also unified, which means people with disabilities and those without play on the same team.

“I’d say it’s a good thing cause then you can talk to more people and get to know more people,” said Klammer.

Bowlers remember their old teammates and enjoy cheering them on.

“Like I said I got some of my friends here and some of my other friends who I used to bowl with, meet other athletes and see what award place I get like first, second or third, or just have a good time,” Langerud said.

Promoting inclusion which continues outside of the bowling alley, into the community.

“People are experiencing inclusion in sports, and then they’re going on to hire people in their businesses, or lobby for people as politicians,” said Howlett.

Despite being a tournament for awards, bowlers mostly want to see other having a good time, and “do, do the best I can,” like Klammer.

And that makes this tournament, a perfect strike.

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