• Allen’s Crosley Lanes, 42 synthetic lanes, 2400 E. Evergreen Blvd., Vancouver, 360-693-4789. Website: www.crosleylanes.com.
• Bailey’s Classic Lanes, eight wood lanes, 11605 S.E. McGillivray, Vancouver, inside the Elks Lodge, 360-882-6921.
• Big Al’s, 42 synthetic lanes, 16615 S.E. 18th St., Vancouver, 360-944-6118. Website: www.ilovebigals.com.
• Husted’s Hazel Dell Lanes, 24 synthetic lanes, 6300 N.E. Highway 99, Hazel Dell, 360-694-8364. Website: http://www.hazeldelllanes.net/.n Tiger Bowl, 10 wood lanes, 211 N. Parkway Ave, Battle Ground, 360-687-2101.
• Clark County United States Bowling Congress, which governs league bowling and sanctioned tournaments, 2101 E. Evergreen Blvd., Suite 103, Vancouver, 360-694-6348.
For more information on life in Clark County, visit www.columbian.com/portrait.
For some, bowling is a night on the town, or an afternoon of family fun.
For others, the game of 10-pin is serious stuff, the focus of competitive leagues with a long history. For both the recreational bowler and the more competitive bowler, the five centers in Clark County offer ample opportunities to chase that elusive 300 game, or that first 150.
The face of bowling in Clark County changed in September of 2006 when Big Al’s opened in east Vancouver. Allen’s Crosley Lanes and Husted’s Hazel Dell Lanes have undergone upgrades in recent years, while Bailey’s Classic Lanes in Vancouver and Tiger Bowl in Battle Ground continue to operate as smaller centers.
Those five bowling centers are home to more than 60 leagues that operate in the fall and the winter, the primary season for league bowling. There are leagues for men, for women, for men and women, as well as senior leagues and junior leagues.
There are a few off-season summer leagues available.
League bowlers pay weekly league fees that include the bowling center’s fee, the prize fund if there is one, and pay for the league secretary who is responsible for record keeping.
The top scores from local leagues are published weekly by The Columbian, as are honor scores such as sanctioned 300 games.
To participate in sanctioned leagues, bowlers must pay a $20 annual membership fee to the United States Bowling Congress.
The Clark County USBC chapter offers $16 annual memberships to bowlers who participate only in leagues for seniors.
The membership dues cover chapter operations and provide awards for bowlers who achieve honor scores such as 300 games or high series scores.
In addition to sanctioning local league play, the local USBC chapter each year stages six countywide championship tournaments.
Like many entertainment industries, the struggling economy has impacted participation in bowling.
According to Barb Frank, the manager for the Clark County USBC chapter, just more than 2,400 league bowlers are participating in the 2011-12 season. That is a decrease of about 400 from the previous year, continuing a trend that has mirrored the economic downturn.
Helping to offset that loss of business is the popularity of the high school bowling programs. Girls bowling has been a varsity sport for several years, and most Clark County schools field teams. At many schools, there are enough bowlers to field junior varsity teams. The high school bowling season runs November through January.
Big Al’s in east Vancouver and Allen’s Crosley Lanes in Vancouver are 42-lane centers with modern synthetic lanes. Husted’s Hazel Dell Lanes has a 24 synthetic lanes.