Visit any of the 500 or so bowling clubs throughout New Zealand and you’ll find they all have a ‘signature’ tournament … a tournament where once a year bowlers return from far and wide for a weekend of food, fellowship and lawn bowls funambulism.
At those same 500 clubs, more than likely you’ll also see a cabinet of dusty trophies … laurels for club competitions that once were, but for whatever reason faded into history.
It’s the nature of sports … they need to keep continually reinventing and restimulating interest with new ideas and new concepts.
The upcoming OraKinetics Classic 1000 Invitational at the Takaro Bowling Club in Palmerston North on 27th September 2020 is one such new initiative.
“It occurred to me that lawn bowlers stick at their sport for years,” says Event Organiser Kerry Hewitt. “What we consider are ‘veterans’ in other sports … people who have been playing for 10 years or so … are only newbies in lawn bowls. It’s commonplace for bowlers to enjoy 30 or 40 years in the sport.”
“So why not recognise this unique level of participation in a special tournament?”
Kerry came up with the idea of putting 1000 years of lawn bowls experience on the green at the same time.
“The OraKinetics Classic 1000 is a drawn mixed tournament limited to 32 Manawatu Centre players,” explains Kerry. “Participants must have been playing bowls since the 1989/1990 bowls season (30 years ago) to make the cut, and to fulfil our expectation to have 1,000 year of experience on the green all at once.”
“Having said that, we’ve already got a couple of entries with 57 years experience, so we’re holding 6 wildcards where the 30-year experience restriction may be relaxed … yet we still meet the 1,000 year overall target.”
The OraKinetics Classic 1000 will be a day of 4 one-and-a-half hour games for the 8 drawn teams of 4.
“The 8 teams can select who they like to play the Pairs, the Reverse Pairs, and the Singles playing alongside the Triples. The final game will be the Fours.”
“First prize is $800, second $600, third $400 and fourth $200. We’re also finalising a trophy.”
That generous prize money has been able to happen as a result of the involvement of Palmerston North clinical gymnasium OraKinetics.
“I came across them after I had a cardiac arrest in 2013,” says Kerry. “I spent 6 days in ICU. My cardiologost recommended a rehabilitation course with them. It was free at first, but I found it so great, I carried on with a paid programme.”
That programme has seen Kerry able to return to the bowling green, and continue to play the game he started playing in 1987. And of course enter the tournament he is himself organising!
“I’m still a relatively young 65,” he laughs. “We’ve got one entrant, Bev Budd, who is 90!”
Entries are filling fast for this intriguing new tournament concept : Call Kerry on 027 856 2947 or Email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.