The Smithers Special Olympics bowling team travelled to Houston for a tournament

The Smithers Special Olympics bowling team travelled to Houston for a tournament

Special Olympics bowlers rolling along

Team travels to Houston for northwest competition.

Smithers Special Olympics bowlers are some of the best in the northwest.

The bowlers, who range in age from nine to 57, claimed three of the top four positions at a tournament in Houston last month against bowlers from Houston and Burns Lake.

Despite the impressive results, Special Olympics coach Jeannie Cramer said just taking part in the event was a very positive experience for all the athletes.

“Going on a trip and travelling together is always exciting,” she said. “To see them get together with other athletes is, for me, a real highlight.”

Led by coach Alice Hidber, the team of Jesse Clegg, Ed Forbes, Brooke Karrer and Robert Aldrich finished in second place. In third place was the team of Jay Cody, Leona Barendregt, Norman Collerman, Brandon Patrick and Ryan Blackwell, assisted by Pierce Clegg. Coached by Jeannie Cramer, the team of Laura Strauss, Franklin Smith, Alex Tommy and Tyson Williams claimed the fourth-place spot.

The third-place team even boasted 64 pins over average during the tournament.

A mixed Houston-Burns Lake team won first place.

Alex Tommy was awarded Most Sportsmanlike honours for his efforts at the tournament.

“He was high-fiving everybody,” Cramer, who also coaches the Burns Lake group, said. “He’s normally very reserved and not really social but it didn’t matter, he was congratulating everybody.

“It was really cool.”

Cramer also gave special mention to Robert Aldrich, who competed in the Special Olympics team event for the first time.

“Everyone had a great time,” she said.

Smithers Special Olympics bowlers get together once a week, on Mondays, to practice, said Cramer. There are about two dozen athletes that take part in the program. Additionally, Cramer is looking at hosting an in-house tournament at the Smithers bowling lanes soon.

The Special Olympics bowling program runs each year from September through to the end of March. Volunteers are always needed, Cramer said, and the time commitment is minimal.

“It’s so rewarding working with this group,” Cramer, who has been a Special Olympics volunteer for almost 20 years, said.

“No two are the same. Each one has their own sense of adventure.”

For more information or to help out with the Special Olympics bowling program, call Jeannie Cramer at 250-847-3840.