Bring Back Bowling Rally Held at Fairway Lanes Saturday

STRIKE: Bowlers Statewide Urge Gov. Jay Inslee to Allow Bowling Alleys to Open Their Doors Again

A couple dozen bowlers gathered at Fairway Lanes and along South Gold Street holding fluorescent signs as part of a statewide Bring Back Bowling rally Saturday as passersby honked their horns.

The rally was a statewide effort in response to bowling alleys being left in the gutter as part of the state’s restrictions for sports and places of business.

Community members rally to ‘Bring Bowling Back’ Saturday afternoon at Fairway Lanes in Centralia.

Bowling alleys had originally been cleared to open in counties that were in phase three of the state’s four-phase Safe Start plan. That lasted a few weeks. Gov. Jay Inslee reworked the phased approach and pushed bowling alleys into phase four. There are no counties currently in phase four.

Fairway Lanes is a part of the Washington State Bowling Proprietors Association (WSBPA) and its executive director Greg Olsen organized the statewide rally Saturday to urge the governor to reopen alleys.

One longtime alley, family-owned Glacier Lanes in Everett, closed its doors permanently last week after 63 years of service. Other bowling alley owners across the state are fearing their alleys may face the same fate if changes aren’t made to the Safe Start plan, including Fairway Lanes co-owner Steve Turner.

Cars honk as community members hold signs in support of reopening Fairway Lanes Saturday afternoon in Centralia.

Ken Beckwith, 69, of Centralia, got into bowling 39 years ago when he was first introduced to the sport at 30 years old. Bowling is paramount to Beckwith, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and uses the sport to stay active and keep the disease at bay.

“It’s a part of my life,” Beckwith. “I don’t understand why we can’t do it. It’s really important. I don’t see why they can go out and protest but we can’t open a bowling alley. It just don’t make sense.”

Beckwith, who underwent deep brain stimulation surgery to quell the tremors and shakes he used to experience, fought back tears as he explained the importance and impact bowling has had on his life.

“It’s real important to keep yourself limber so you don’t get so stiff,” Beckwith said. “Bowling helps a lot; being around friends who encourage you. They’re a great bunch of people.”

When Dave Overlin began bowling in high school in the mid-1960s, it started as a way to pass the time. By the time he was 19 years old and working full time in 1966, he had joined a league and has been bowling in at least one every year since.

On Saturday, Overlin wears a Homer Simpson bowling shirt with the ‘Homer’ name written in cursive on the front and an embroidered image of Homer with the words ‘Springfield Bowlarama’ emblazoned on the back. Overlin normally bowls two leagues a week at Fairway Lanes and his wife bowls three. But now the two are left with their longtime hobby no longer accessible.

“It’s a great sport,” Overlin said. “You have a lot of friends, you have a lot of fun doing it and that’s what it’s all about. It’s stupid for it to be closed. They’re going to open a movie theater but they’re not going to open a bowling alley?”

Overlin said he’s not optimistic much will change in the near future but figured this was the least he could do to support the bowling community.

“We’ve got to do what we can do,” Overlin said. “That ain’t much but we’re out here today doing something.”

A woman holds a sign in support of reopening Fairway Lanes during a rally Saturday afternoon in Centralia.

The WSPBA recently created a website to help organize rallies around the state and have bowlers sign an email letter campaign to be sent to Gov. Inslee. Anyone interested in helping the movement can sign the letter at

Bowling Rally

Community members rally to ‘Bring Bowling Back’ Saturday afternoon at Fairway Lanes in Centralia.

Part of the prepared letter reads:

“We’ve seen dozens of centers close nationwide already, and we need you to take immediate action or our industry and our customers will continue to suffer. People all around our state need a place to have some relaxation during this time, and given that bowling is safer than so many other indoor activities that are currently allowed to operate, we urge you to reconsider your position and lift the restrictions on bowling.”

more bowling videos you may like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *