Sunshine Bowlers organizer Linda Rowley (second from left) shares a laugh with (from left) her daughter

Sunshine Bowlers organizer Linda Rowley (second from left) shares a laugh with (from left) her daughter

Sunshine Bowlers still rolling after 20 years

They call themselves the Williams Lake Sunshine Bowlers.

They call themselves the Sunshine Bowlers. And just like their name suggests, they’ve been making Cariboo Bowling Lanes a brighter place for the past 20 years.

“I’m hoping to raise awareness that we have people with disabilities in the community — that was my main target this year,” said the group’s leader, Linda Rowley.

Last Wednesday the group of about 25 bowlers met at Cariboo Lanes for a Beat the Challenger Tournament. Members of the Williams Lake Fire Department and local forest fire fighters, including Smokey the Bear, were on hand to bowl with the group.

Players mingled, had a chat, and hung out with Smokey the Bear — all the while displaying some exceptional bowling skills.

Rowley, who has coached Special Olympics bowling in the past, said she took over the local group this year because they didn’t have a coach.

The Sunshine Bowlers range in age from about 15 all the way up to seniors, she said. The group meets every Wednesday at Cariboo Bowling Lanes from 4 to 6 p.m. from September to May.

“A lot of the people not only come there to learn to skills — not just to bowl — but it’s a social network for them,” Rowley said, adding it’s amazing how much enjoyment the players get from the group. “They get all their visiting and their skill learning on that Wednesday.”

Rowley noted her support team — Joan Busat, Rose Webber, Cathy Bushell, Shari Warkentin and her daughter, Frankey-Lynn Rowley — has been a huge help this year.

“It’s been just a really awesome experience,” she said. “To work with that many people is a bit of a challenge, but it’s just amazing what a person can do when they have a great support team behind them. It’s been an awesome year.”

This April will be the first time the Sunshine Bowlers will meet formally for a year-end awards and banquet ceremony.

“I’ve got a bunch of funding from wonderful people in the community,” she said. “They’ve actually donated money to us to have a catered banquet and trophies, and this will be the first year this group will have trophies in 15 years.”

Trophies will go to players from first place to fifth place.

“The support I’ve received from the community with door prizes and money has just been overwhelming,” she said.

“I couldn’t say thank you enough. It’s just amazing.”