Some don’t consider bowling a sport. Others regard it as a way of life. Some Destin snowbirds see it as a fun way to pass the time, while it lets others re-live their younger days.
From January to the end of February, Destin Snowbird Bowling League members meet every Friday morning at Hurricane Lanes in Destin to practice their skills and enjoy each other’s company.
During the annual year-end pizza party, the league champion award is given to top man and woman bowler.
Judy Kremers, from Michigan, won the women’s trophy with an overall average of 160. Out of the 13 years she and her husband have been coming to Destin, she’s been on the bowling team for 10.
“We didn’t know about it for the first couple of years,” she said. “But once we found out about the snowbird club, we discovered the bowling league and we’ve been doing it ever since."
Kremers said she’s been bowling most of her life.
“I’ve always bowled,” she said. “I was on a league in high school and on a college league. Back then I was kind of one of the top bowlers, but you know how that goes.”
When she’s back home in Michigan, she said she bowls on a senior league when she can make it, but she enjoys being able to do it consistently with the snowbirds.
The winner of the men’s title, Bill Bentley, also isn’t a stranger to the lanes. With an average of 202 this year, Bentley has been named the snowbird champion before.
“I won the first year I joined,” he said. “But I bowl quite a bit at home.”
Bentley and his wife started coming to Destin from Indiana with his in-laws 11 years ago. This year was the first year his 95-year-old father-in-law couldn’t make the trip, due to health reasons, but they’ve still tried to make him a part of it.
“I send him texts of different places we go to eat, like McGuire’s,” he said. “We’re always sending pictures of the food.”
Bowling league president Mike Dougall makes sure everyone feels welcome and has fun. He takes pride in the league, which is obvious by the collage of pictures hanging on one of the walls of the bowling alley.
“Those were taken a few years ago,” he said “I’m gonna try to get another one done this year.”