Home to professional and amateur events, FireLake Bowling Center has also become a leading destination for Shawnee-Tecumseh area bowlers competing in the high school divisions as well. Boys and girls teams from Tecumseh, Shawnee, Dale and Bethel public schools have found a home at FireLake in recent years. Under Youth and Event Coordinator Randy Loftis, many local youth bowlers have found another outlet past the normal after-school activities. Increasingly too, bowling provides a way for college-bound bowlers to cut the costs of college.
One such individual is a graduate of Dale High School, Blake Nowlin, who recently returned to FireLake Bowling Center as a member of the University of Central Oklahoma’s bowling team competing at the Southwest Intercollegiate Bowling Championships.
Nowlin sat down and spoke with us about his experience as a FireLake-turned-collegiate bowler.
How did you end up bowling at FireLake Bowling Center?
“I first just substituted on a league for my father one day at FireLake and I enjoyed so much I started to be a regular league bowler. Through that, Randy Loftis asked me join the youth league and I just enjoyed it and kept with it.”
How many years did you bowl in high school?
“I only bowled one year in high school. My senior year I got a team of random friends together and taught them all how to bowl. We ended up being regional champs.”
Compared to high school, what is bowling like at the collegiate level?
“Bowling in college is a whole different experience than high school. The competition is a lot tougher.
“I would say at the start of my career I was struggling, but I have put in so much work that I feel I am getting a lot better and can finally compete on the college level.”
Looking back, do you think you’d have been bowling at UCO if you’d not begun at FireLake?
“Definitely not. I would have just bowled once a week in a league if Randy Lofts hadn’t introduced me to the youth league at FireLake.”
If you would like to learn more about youth or adult bowling opportunities at FireLake Bowling Center, please visit www.FireLakeBowl.com, like them on Facebook or call 405-275-0404. A number of colleges nationwide have competitive bowling teams or clubs, some of which have financial assistance. A full list of USBC-affiliated collegiate teams can be found at www.collegebowling.com/teams.