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Espanola bowler off to nationals

An Espanola bowler is off to nationals to represent Northern Ontario.

Sixty-two-year-old David Secord has been bowling for around 55 years and has won many championships, but this is a first in winning the Master Bowlers of Northern Ontario season in five-pin.

Secord says he will be heading to Edmonton, Alberta on June 30th for five days of competition at the nationals, a first in his long career in the sport.

WEB: He adds he not only loves the game but also coaches youngsters as young as five years old and is looking forward to sharing his photos and stories with them when he returns, hopefully as national champion.

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He is not only representing the north but Venture Lanes, which has also been a part of Espanola for over six decades.

Secord says bowling has a long history in Espanola with three separate bowling alleys providing a venue through the decades.

“Before Venture Lanes was built by Al Pacey in the 1950s, there were two others in Espanola. They were not mechanical lanes and had kids whose job it was to stand the pins up and return the bowling balls to the players. ‘One of them was in the former H&R Block building on Tudhope Street, which still has two lanes in the basement. The other is on Secord Avenue, which also had two lanes in the basement and pool hall upstairs, but that has been converted to a residence now.

“When Mr. Pacey built the original Espanola Bowling Alley, he brought in installed mechanical systems, so the other bowling alleys eventually closed. In fact, Venture Lanes is one of only two remaining free fall bowling alleys in Canada,” explains Secord. “That machines pick up and place the pins and mechanically return the bowling balls to the players.”

The bowling alley is also known as a movie set. The cast of the 2015 movie, Born To Be Blue starring Ethan Hawke travelled to Espanola to shoot a bowling scene when they realized that Sudbury didn’t have a 10-pin bowling alley.

Secord looks forward to adding to that history.

“We are not an extreme sport, but it will be a challenge to take on these younger players at nationals, but if you are healthy and mobile, it is anyone’s game. It is a pleasant alternative to more aggressive sports and lends its own excitement. Wish me luck!”

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