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(PHOTOS) Gillette hosts last stop of Wyoming Junior Bowlers Tour

Forty-two youth bowlers from Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota gathered May 7 at Gillette's Energy Lanes for the last tournament of the Wyoming Junior Bowlers Tour's 2022-2023 season.

Energy Lanes was the site for the May 7 tournament that closed out the 2022-2023 season. (Keyne Tremain)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Forty-two youth bowlers from Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota gathered May 7 at Gillette’s Energy Lanes for the last tournament of the Wyoming Junior Bowlers Tour’s 2022–23 season.

Children ages 5–18 participated in the tournament, which includes opportunities to win college scholarships, Keyne Tremain said May 9.

Tremain said she created the tour in September 2019. The organization’s mission is to create an environment where youth bowlers can learn to play the sport and compete in regional and national tournaments while having fun, making friends and earning scholarship money to further their education. She created the tour because her youngest son bowled competitively all over the country and they often traveled to Colorado so he could bowl on a youth bowling tour.

“My son and I spent many car rides discussing not only how cool it would be to have a Wyoming tour but how much it would help our youth bowlers,” she said.  

Bowlers walked away with $1,788 in scholarships from the May 7 tournament, she said. The 2022–23 season gave the youth a total of $22,792 in scholarships. The May 7 tournament also included a senior walk with 10 graduating seniors, she said. Five seniors have received offers to bowl in colleges around the country.

Wyoming Junior Bowlers Tour’s stop at Energy Lanes (Keyne Tremain)

Wyoming has roughly 20–35 youth bowlers who will attend and bowl in the Junior Gold, the country’s largest youth bowling tournament, every year. The Junior Gold also includes youths from other countries.

Wyoming Junior Bowlers Tour is one of the qualifiers for that tournament. This year, the tournament has had 37 kids qualify at 10 different Wyoming Junior Bowlers Tour stops. 

The Wyoming Junior Bowlers Tour’s youngest bowler, Koltin Colby, recently turned 6, Tremain said. He will be the youngest ever from Wyoming to go to Junior Gold, which will take place in July in Indianapolis. Colby received the first-ever WJBT sportsmanship award with a $100 scholarship.

Koltin Colby, the youngest Wyoming Junior Bowlers Tour member, won the 2022–23 sportsmanship award. (Keyne Tremain)

Thunder Basin High School senior Justin Fichter will go to Clarke University on a bowling scholarship. He won the tournament in Sheridan and placed fifth on May 7.

Justin Fichter and his parents. From left: Mark, Justin and Christillina. (Keyne Tremain)

Sponsors provide the scholarship funding. Those supporters include bowling ball manufacturing company Storm, Dairy Queen in Gillette, Windshield Paramedic, Perkins, First Interstate Bank, Kieffer Sanitation, Energy Lanes and Camelanes.

Tremain said Energy Lanes staff were really helpful in providing the tournament venue.

“Staff did an excellent job keeping the machines running during the tournament as well as making sure 42 bowlers and their families had amazing food to order from their kitchen,” Tremain said.

Four volunteers whose children bowl also enable the tour to succeed by helping run the tournaments, Tremain said. They are Carm Colby, Bobbie Engstrom and Cody Engstrom, who are all from Gillette, and Amy Hansen, who’s from Thayne.

Keyne Tremain, second from left, and the volunteers. (Keyne Tremain)

The only requirement for a child to participate in the tour is United States Bowling Congress membership, she said. Local youth leagues might also require dues.