Bowling with the Birds: It’s Category Fun when winter visitors head out to Hurricane Lanes

Tina Harbuck
The Hot Mamas were leading in the Snowbird Bowling League at Hurricane Lanes.

It's wall to wall snowbirds on Fridays at Hurricane Lanes in Destin.

More than 95 snowbirds, spread across 26 teams fill up the Destin bowling alley every Friday during their 10 week season.

"It's amazing," said Judy Kremers, events coordinator for the Destin snowbird group. "Last year we had 22 lanes; this year we have 26.

"We keep stats, but it's all about the fun and having friendships with our snowbird friends," Kremers said.

And it's easy to see that fun tops the list of most everybody in the league.

"We have a good time," said 69-year-old Dick Schultz of Wausau, Wisc. This is Schultz’s fifth year to come to Destin for the winter and his third to bowl in the league.

"Last week I got lucky," Schultz said. He rolled a 258 and a game series of 616. He was high scorer of the day.

However, he said his highest game ever was a 289 that he rolled back home in Wisconsin.

Although Schultz says he has been bowling since he was about 18, his strategy has changed over the years.

"Getting the ball out in front of me works best," he laughingly said.

Leading the league is a lively group decked out in hot-pink T-shirts called the "Hot Mamas" made up of Linda Fobert and Liz Laurie from Ontario along with Sandy Holzer from Minnesota and Melitta Luca of Missouri.

As for the name, "We just did it because we're hot," they all chimed in.

The foursome even made up a little cheer. "See those pins. See them roll. Come on Mama's, let's go bowl."

And the secret behind their success?

"We laugh a lot," Laurie said. "We just have fun," Forbert said.

The husbands of the Hot Mamas also have fun each week, but the "Kool Dudes" as they have tagged themselves are not as hot on the lanes as their wives.

"We're in 20th and they're No. 1. How do you live with these women?" Dave Fobert jokingly said.

"They're training their husbands to be bowlers," Jim Luca added.

As for their name, "We're a cool bunch of guys," said Forbert. In addition to Fobert and Luca, the other two on the team are Gene Holzer and John Laurie.

"We're here to have fun, whether we win or lose," Holzer said.

Team 26 in the league found themselves moving up in the standings last week.

Nancy and Ron Schuble of St. Louis teamed up with Virginia O'Connor and Bill Berube of Canada for the season and were knocking them down last week.

As a matter of fact, when The Log caught up with Nancy she was on her way to her highest game ever. Nancy, whose average is 89 with her highest game a 120, opened up with four consecutive strikes. When she had finished all 10 frames, she had rolled a 200.

"We're not good bowlers, but all of a sudden we are," said her husband Ron.

"But more than the high score, Nancy says she has enjoyed making new friends.

Another foursome, that comes in at 16th in the league is "One Pin Up" made up of Pat and Vivian McAlpine and Matt and Linda Hukari all of Canada.

"We always have one pin up when we're done," Pat said.

This group was all about the fun — and the pun — with Pat spouting out one-liners right after the other such as "this game is right down our alley," or "You can here every pin drop," and "Even though our minds are in the gutter, we're  always having a ball and always on a roll."

"We may be in 16th place, but we're tops in humor," Pat said.

The snowbird bowling league has about four weeks left to their season.

"Hurricane Lanes takes good care of us," each year, Kremers said. "And we can't wait to come back next year."