Center fans rock the lanes at bowling tournament

Score a strike at the LaPensee Bowling Tournament
The Bins Be Clean bees took home the award for best team costumes at the 2018 tournament. The bees are, left to right, Anne Yarbrough, Walker Howle, Rather Welch and Nate Welch. - File Photo | Sun

BRADENTON – More than 300 bowlers took to the lanes Sept. 8 in a bowling tournament that was more about comradery than competition.

Bowlers filled 52 sponsored lanes for the annual LaPensee Bowling Tournament held at the AMF Bradenton Lanes. Two kids’ lanes, sponsored by the Zaccagnino and Talucci families, were filled with laughter and a lot of excitement as children took turns rolling bowling balls down the lanes. After taking a year off in 2017, the tournament returned stronger than ever as one of the primary fundraisers for The Center of Anna Maria Island, this year bringing in more than $15,000 in sales and donations.

From left: Center Board Chair David Zaccagnino; 50-50 winner Martha Jones, who donated half her winnings back to the Center; event chair Karen Harlee; and Cindy Jones, Martha’s mom. – Chantelle Lewin | Sun

Throughout the three-game tournament, bowlers cheered on each other and surrounding teams as some people rolled strikes and others rolled gutter balls. Everyone agreed they had a great time as they came out to support the Center in one of the organization’s signature events. Though the competition was all in good fun, there were a few awards handed out.

The bees of Team Bins Be Clean took home the award for best team costume, beating out the “Dodgeball” inspired costumes from Team Purvis. Young bowler Fiona McCarthy took home the award for the highest kids score. Bowler Charles Wade, from the team from Roser Memorial Community Church, won the award for the highest male score after bowling three nearly perfect games. Lauren Powell took home the highest scoring female bowler award. The award for lowest male score went to Greg McKinney, while Isabella Miller took home the award for the lowest scoring female in the bowling tournament.

In addition to competing for awards, bowlers also were competing against each other for silent auction items and raffle prizes along with $603 in the 50/50 raffle. Auction and raffle prizes included gift baskets from local businesses, a two-hour sunset cruise with Capt. Ben Webb, an original artwork print by artist Patricia Bowers, a trip to LEGO Land, a fishing charter and a one-year family membership to the Center. The two largest raffle prizes were a grill donated by Rice’s Appliances and a beach cruiser bicycle donated by Beach Bums. Winner of the bicycle, Alex Harllee, even considered taking the bicycle for a quick spin through the bowling alley at the urging of Center board chair David Zaccagnino causing a round of laughter to erupt from nearby bowlers.

While not everyone went home with an award or a prize, everyone agreed they had a great time. Center executive director Chris Culhane said the tournament was a lot of fun for everyone involved.

“We’re thankful to everyone who came out tonight,” he said.