Largest cash tournament in five-pin history held at Sherwood Bowl

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It gives new meaning to being in the fast lane.

Who would have thought that Sherwood Park is the epicenter for high-stakes bowling?

Or that high-stakes bowling was even a thing in the first place?

It turns out to be the case, as Sherwood Bowl recently held what would turn out to be the largest cash tournament and probably the largest ever event period in the sport of five-pin bowling.

And while that may be somewhat shocking news to the public at large, the Park’s status as a legendary lane is fairly well-entrenched to those involved in the sport.

Last month, Sherwood Bowl held a four-day competition that saw 166 competitors come in from coast to coast to participate in the cash tournament, an event which would see a staggering amount of approximately $107,000 in prize money doled out.

“To give an idea how this all works, for the main event each bowler can enter for $200 per shift,” said Sherwood Bowl’s Tim Wiseman. “Each shift gives them the opportunity to bowl well enough for championship Sunday; which only the top 32 bowlers can qualify for. The tournament qualifying is based off the totals of eight-game blocks. This year the cut was 2198. That would be a 275 average. To put that in perspective, with all genders able to participate in this event, the average female average in Canada is 150, and for men’s it is 180. Some absolutely incredible bowling. The top 32 play off on Sunday, in a double-knockout bracket of 32 format. Each is three-game matches. The finals on Sunday start at 9 a.m., and have lasted to almost 9 p.m. at times. A long grueling day for some. The winner this year, walked away with over $7,500 for his win. Jordon Schuss from Langley, B.C. won over Dexter Wiseman of Sherwood Park, and son of the owners of the lanes.”

Sherwood Park’s Dexter Wiseman (right) finished second in the main event of the massive cash tournament at Sherwood Bowl. Photo Supplied

There are also two other separate events during the four-day competition. Starting things off on Thursday night, they run a $1,000 Invitational Shout Out (each bowler pays $1000 to play the event), and a Ladies $500 Shout Out as well. They play off, and play for over $1,000 per match in a bracketed final.

“Some high stakes bowling,” Wiseman said. “The event has become a marquee event. On Friday night, we run a doubles event, where we have 64 doubles (or 128 bowlers) playing at once. The winning doubles team walked out with $3,000 to their name. The whole event went great. It went really long though, sometimes we were here until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and then back here at 7 a.m. But it went smooth and everyone enjoyed themselves and we had nothing but positive reviews.”

Almost as surprising as finding out an event of this magnitude was taking place under our noses, is finding out that it is far from a new thing.

“This is our eighth year hosting it, and it gets bigger every year,” Wiseman said. “We took it over from Collingwood, they ran it for 10 years. Before that, it was something called the Rose Bowl at Bonnie Doon Lanes, and that ran for more than 30 years down there. It has literally doubled in size since we took it over. We had people all the way from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, they come from all over for this event. When we took it over we had bowled in it ourselves as a family and had a passion for it. With the creation of the Western Canadian Bowling Tour (WCBT), it has only helped make this bigger. Talking to our Chamber of Commerce, they didn’t even know this existed. It is a pretty incredible event and not a lot of people know that it goes on.”

The event has really helped put Sherwood Bowl on the map, to the point that they will be one of four stops on the WCBT this summer, actually hosting the tour finals which will be filmed in August.

“If you look at bowling centres in Canada, we are pretty well known,” Wiseman said. “I’d say we are for sure in the top 10 in the country. We are pretty public. They know us pretty well. We have a pretty good bond with the bowling community in Canada.”

The local lanes will have a champion to cheer for as Dexter Wiseman is currently ranked as the top five-pin bowler in the WCBT.

“He is on a real hot streak right now,” said his brother. “He just gets on a roll. He is a fast player. It is just bang-bang and you are down by two strikes. Considering he was working the event, bowling in it and helping organize it, for him to finish second was a pretty good feat.”

sjones@postmedia.com

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