Imperial Lanes

CLINTON — The Iowa State Women’s Bowling Tournament continued this weekend, officially reaching the halfway point in the multi-week championship. 

The tournament, back for the second time in four years, is hosted by Imperial Lanes and Camanche and Plaza Bowl in Clinton, and week five wrapped up Sunday. The tournament started on March 2 and runs until May fifth. 

Plaza Bowl owner Mike Pelham, Imperial Lanes owner Kenny Garvey and Clinton Bowling Association’s Becky Graves really have one thing to say when it comes to how the tournament has gone: “Wonderful, it’s been great.” 

Graves was one of the forces behind getting the tournament to town in 2016. Since then, the IAUSBC WBA has decided to make it a cycle, returning to the same locations every few years. That’s part of the reason Clinton and Camanche have the tournament so soon. 

Having that recent experience has helped a bit, though. 

“I think it’s been easier since we’ve done it before,” Graves said. “The shifts have been a lot fuller, which really helps.”

“So far so good,” Garvey said. “This was much more prepared than the first time around. It’s been much better, much easier, a lot less headaches.”

The tournament features sanctioned bowlers from all over the state every weekend. A lot of good bowlers, but also a lot of chances for social time. 

“Friends. It’s really just about hanging out and having fun with friends,” Shelby Ostralander said. Ostralander bowled on Saturday and Sunday and came from Des Moines.  “It’s not as much about the competition for me, it’s more about the camaraderie.”

That makes it better to have small houses like the Plaza and Imperial Lanes. 

“It keeps everyone closer,” Graves said. “This shift, a lot of them are from Maquoketa. They get to come ad bowl close to each other, but they’re still at the state tournament.”

This gives the bowling alleys a chance to showcase their establishment, but also gives the town a chance to show off their stuff. Graves says that they’ve heard good things about the town from the chatter between frames. 

“They’re very happy about Clinton,” Graves said.  “Lot of people have a lot of good things to say about Clinton. The riverfront is beautiful, people talk about the architecture, they’re noticing things.”

And while traveling to different locations has it’s charms, it’s also nice to know what you’re getting when traveling for bowling. 

“It’s cool to come back to the same ones,” Ostralander said. “It’s cute little town. My husband works for the railroad and has worked out of this town a couple of times.”

With the revolving schedule, the tournament will be sure to be back. Both houses have their practice under their belts now, and are putting on a wonderful event, something that is bound to continue through May and through the next years. 

“They’re happy with the establishment, the cleanliness, they have a good time,” Garvey said. “They were excited to come here again in such a quick turnaround and we were excited for it. It’s been great for the community.”