What’s a better way to start an early Saturday morning than to knocking five pins down for competitive glory? The Merritt Bowling Centre had the privilege of hosting the Interior B Championship tournament this past weekend. 

On Saturday, February 11, teams from across B.C. headed down to the Nicola Valley to compete in the Interior B Championships. The six team tournament had the Merritt home team up against teams from Chase, Lumby, Vernon, Salmon Arm, and Princeton. 

“The environment was fantastic,” said Organizer Digz Stirling. “Everybody was in a great mood. Everyone was having fun and cheering. This is our second year back doing this tournament and even though we only had six teams instead of our usual eight, it still worked out extremely well.” 

Stirling noted that it has been a few years since Merritt last hosted the championship tournament. He said that the out of town teams were very impressed with the bowling centre and its improvements. 

“Scott Turner (Merritt Bowling Centre Owner) made a lot of great changes to the centre itself,” said Stirling. “When the Interior Bs were hosted here the first time, Merritt still had wood lanes installed. Now they are all synthetic lanes, more consistent and definitely a lot better to bowl on.”

To go along with the updated flooring material, the bowling centre also made changes to their screen monitors, and, most recently, have introduced hundreds of new pairs of bowling shoes.

“I think we put on a really good tournament,” said Turner. “I think what we’ve shown everybody is that we have the ability to host even the Inter City As at some point.” 

The event began very early in the day. Teams began competing at 6 a.m., having their hands on a five pin bowling ball before a cup of coffee. Luckily, some snacks were sold at the bowling centre and there was even a special table set up, selling sandwiches and other food items and drinks. 

“Our bowling club’s A division provided some food for people to buy,” Stirling explained. “The sale is in support of the bowling club. The A team has to travel to multiple cities for tournaments, so having a little extra money for our travels is always nice to have. It was awesome that people were more than willing to donate to the cause.” 

Merritt Interior A team’s food sale. Izaiah Reyes/Herald

The bowlers competed in four categories during the event. The Chase team was hailed the overall champion of the tournament, while Vernon claimed the men’s championship category, and Salmon Arm took the top spot in mixed bowling. 

Merritt was no slouch, winning the women’s category, keeping one of the four awards given out at home. 

“The girls had a lot of fun bowling with each other,” said Coach Bill Campbell. “They supported each other through each game giving high fives and doing a lot of cheering. It was a pleasure coaching them to the win.”

Kayla Even, Bill Campbell(coach) Kristina Johnson, Audrey Hogan, Crystal Chandler. Photo/Digz Stirling

With the conclusion of the Interior B Championships, bowlers of Merritt now turn their focus on the upcoming Interior A Championship tournament, set to take place in Kamloops on March 17-18.