40th Annual Canyonlands Classic kicks off

The 40th annual Canyonlands Classic bowling tournament is underway at Gravel Pit Lanes bowling alley. The event takes place every weekend of June concluding in an awards ceremony to dole out prize money to winners.

The tournament took off with an exciting start last weekend, according to Gravel Pit owner Erik Hansen. “There are between 30 and 50 teams,” he said. “They come from all over.” The tournament accommodates both team and individual players, who face off against one another throughout the entirety of the tournament. Participants have multiple opportunities to compete and attempt to score as best they can. “If you bowled last weekend, you can bowl again next weekend,” Hansen explained.

The tournament is a relic from even before Gravel Pit Lanes was built. Started by Ken Bertwell, the event is reminiscent of a bowling alley from a different, quieter time in Moab. “The old bowling alley is where Shopko is now,” Hansen said. Bertwell built Moab Lanes in 1960, pouring his life into the business for 40 years, even meeting his wife at the alley. He was inducted into the Utah State Bowlers Hall of Fame in 2007. Though Bertwell passed away in 2007, the tradition he began lives on at Gravel Pit Lanes.

When Hansen recalls what he likes best about the annual tournament, his answer is simple: “Winning.” Although he does not plan to compete this year and has not for a few years prior, he plans on taking in the excitement of the event’s atmosphere. “It’s great just seeing people have fun,” Hansen said.

The tournament begins every Saturday and Sunday in June at 10 a.m. for teams, and 4 p.m. for doubles and singles. Many of the competitors attend the local, weekly tournament as well. “Many people that come to the tournament come from out of town come on Fridays so they can bowl in the Monte Carlo tournaments we have Friday nights,” Hansen explained.

The tournament is open to everyone, and teams buy in to contribute to the prize money, which in previous years has amounted to $5,000. The entry fee for teams is $100, for doubles $50, and for singles $25. The registration form can be found online at http://www.gravelpitlanes.com/ or at the bowling alley.

ByBy Jacque Garcia

The Times-Independent