The 52nd Alaska Women’s State Bowling Tournament rolled into action Thursday at Tropic Lanes.
And for a group of ladies from Ketchikan, it was the first time this year they have been in a bowling alley.
That’s because Ketchikan’s 16-lane bowling alley closed more than seven years ago.
The closure hasn’t stopped Ketchikan’s diehard bowlers.
“When you got it in your blood, you have to continue,” said Joy Erickson, who has lived in Ketchikan her entire life.
Every year a group of bowlers takes the short flight to Juneau and turns the capital city into their home for a weekend.
While there, each bowler rolls enough games — 21 — to establish an average so they can compete in state and national tournaments.
Erickson said she has never missed a state tournament since her home alley closed. She is one of nine ladies from the Southeast town bowling in Kodiak this weekend.
Erickson teamed with Shirley Paulsen for an afternoon doubles shift.
After shaking the dust off their balls in the first game, both exploded in the final two games to eclipse a 400 series.
Paulsen had six strikes in the second game for a high-score of 183.
“I liked that game,” she said.
Paulsen managed the Ketchikan bowling alley when the owner of the building decided to turn the space into office condos.
“It was very devastating, especially for the kids,” Erickson said. “It was one thing the kids could get involved in and it kept them off the streets and out of trouble.”
Erickson said she has not stepped in the building since then and said Ketchikan likely will not be getting a bowling alley anytime soon.
“Right now, it doesn’t look good,” she said. “The property value is so high to purchase and I don’t think anybody is going to just give us the land.”
Ketchikan’s nine bowlers are a fraction of the 125 ladies from Anchorage, Juneau, Skagway, the Mat-Su Valley, Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula bowling in Kodiak over the next two weekends.
The tournament runs through Sunday and picks up again next Friday.
The tournament’s opening ceremonies are 6 p.m. Saturday at Tropic Lanes.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiak