A bowler takes in a few frames at Heartland Bowl during some down time on Nov. 16. (Kevin Sabo/Stettler Independent)

A bowler takes in a few frames at Heartland Bowl during some down time on Nov. 16. (Kevin Sabo/Stettler Independent)

Settler’s Heartland Bowl sees people returning to leagues

‘People are coming back,’ said Bob Gallaugher

The sounds of balls rolling down the hardwood and crashing into the pins standing at the end of the alley are sounds Bob Gallaugher loves to hear.

Unfortunately, during the pandemic they were noises the owner and general manager of Stettler’s Heartland Bowl heard all too infrequently.

However, with the pandemic-era restrictions having been almost entirely removed across the province — they can still be found in some health care settings — , Heartland Bowl was able to get its leagues off the ground again in September.

“It’s been tough,” said Gallaugher.

“But, people are coming back. The night leagues are full, and the kids are up from last year.”

People wanting to stay active bowling over the winter months have plenty of options to do so, as Heartland Bowl is running a number of leagues this fall.

Three leagues are running on Tuesdays, with a seniors league running at noon, a kids league running at 4 p.m. and a mix league running later in the evening.

Wednesday mornings a ladies league runs, followed by a cash league in the evening.

Thursdays evenings are taken up with another mixed league.

Fridays, a second seniors league runs at 1 p.m.

When leagues aren’t playing, the lanes are available for rent as well, for anyone wanting to bowl a few frames.

Heartland Bowl is also the home of Stettler’s professional bowling team, the Heartland Kingpins.

The team, in its second year, competes against 23 other teams scattered across Canada and is made of both local and out-of-town players.

“We’re the smallest centre playing in (the league),” said Gallaugher.

Though the team has eight on the roster, any five can be suited up for a match. An honourary Kingpin, and occasional spare, is 88-year-old Stettler resident Fred Milner. Milner is one of two bowlers to ever a bowl a perfect game in Stettler.

“He’s an amazing man,” said Gallaugher.

Currently, the team is number one in the professional bowling league, and the leagues games can be found on YouTube.

As for Heartland Bowl, Gallaugher has run the alley for the the last 16 years. According to him, at the time he took over bowling was “kind of disappearing,” but has been slowly been making a comeback. At least it had been until the pandemic.

“It’s been tough,” said Gallaugher.

While numbers are still down from what they had been, they are coming back. The cash league could use “three or four” bowlers, and the seniors, ladies, and kids leagues all have room for more to join.

The leagues run from mid September until mid-April, though according to Gallaugher the Tuesday night mixed league runs two half-seasons so the commitment is shorter.

For more information, stop in at Heartland Bowl and talk to Gallaugher.

Local NewsNews

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