If you aren’t the wet and winter type, consider strutting your stuff inside at Bonwood Bowl as part of Utah’s only gay and lesbian bowling league.
The Good Times Bowling League held their annual, introductory ‘Fun Night’ on Aug. 30 at the bowling alley, and everyone attending had a chance to bowl the night at no charge, while meeting the league’s members and new officers. Even if you missed the party, there is still time to join up, make new friends and compete on a team of four throughout the winter.
League play officially begins Sept. 13 at the Bonwood Bowl, where all teams’ scores will be recorded and their averages tallied. Team play each other every Sunday, and a pre-determined rotation will make sure that all team will get to play each other at least one time during the season. Twenty-two teams participated last year and this year the league is expected to grow.
“Dean White, the owner of Bonwood Bowl, really likes our league and does special things for us throughout the year. He has unofficially said we are his favorite league,” said Billy Lewis, the newly elected president of Good Time Bowling League. “They are very accepting of us and accommodate us in every way they can.”
Officially founded in 1990 by a group of friends who attended the University of Utah, the Good Time Bowling League eventually moved from the U to Bonwood Bowl after becoming a sanctioned league and the largest in Utah at the time.
“Back when I was president in 2000, another league was bowling just before our league, and a couple of their members were making rude comments about us and writing epithets on the tables before we started our league,” said Lewis. “Bonwood stepped in and told that league’s officers that this behavior was unacceptable, and if they did not get their members under control that they would be asked to leave the center. We are very safe and accepted at Bonwood by all employees.”
Good Times Bowling League is a member of the United States Bowling Congress. Each person registered for the season will be allowed to play in any USBC league or tournament throughout the United States during the season. The membership fee is $19.
“Then each week there is an $11 league fee,” said Lewis. “This includes three games of bowling and shoes. We have the least expensive league fee in the valley that I know of.”
When joining the league, members also become a member of the International Gay Bowling League and are allowed to play in any international gay bowling tournaments in any city in the world.
“There are no team tryouts or auditions. We have the entire range of bowling skills in our league,” said Lewis. “All we care about is do you like to bowl and do you like to have fun.”
Straight, bisexual and transgender players are welcome to join, as are players of any sex. There are three ways to get a team in the Good Times league: put together a team of four players and join as a team, attend the league play as an individual and ask to join a team that needs players, or ask the officers to find a team that is looking complete their roster. Each team practices on their own time but there is a ten minute warm-up/practice each Sunday before league play begins.
It is also up to each team to teach new players the game, and to help their members improve. “That is what the teams are for. We cheer each other on and give each other pointers on how to improve our games,” added Lewis.
Each forming team creates a team name that will be used throughout the season. Usually, teams create original and clever names that they sometimes place on their shirts. Current and past teams are or have been named Splits or Swallows, Missionary Pinsition, Holy Bowlers, Queen Pins, Bowlinoscopy and Desperate Houseflies.
Usually a bowling league rewards the top three teams during a season with a pool of cash collected throughout the season from fees, which is called the Prize Fund. Good Time Bowling League takes their Prize Fund and makes donations to at least three different charities.
“This last year, donations were sent to Equality Utah, The Utah AIDS Foundation, and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary,” said Lewis. “Each week, we have a special contest for the league: Strike It Rich, Mystery Singles and Mystery Doubles. League members can enter the contest for a fee. Half the fee is put towards the charity funds and the other half is given to the winners of the contest.”
Good Times Bowling League also celebrates the holidays with an annual Halloween Bowl where everyone dresses up in costumes, and an annual Turkey Bowl, where each bowler on a team can win a turkey, which bowler has the option of keeping or donating to the Utah Food Bank.
Four officers are elected each year from the league as president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Recent elections gave Lewis the presidency again after serving from 2000 – 02, while Cody Ellison, Chad Miller and Jay Fraga were elected to each subsequent office.
“My goal is to make sure that everyone has fun and enjoys the season,” said Lewis. “I love to watch as new bowlers increase their scores and become better bowlers. They are friends and family.”
Get your bowl on this season with the Good Times Bowling League, starting in Sept. and continuing until the end of March. Visit saltlakegoodtimes.com for more information. Bonwood Bowl is located at 2500 South Main Street in Salt Lake City.