SAINT JOHNSBURY - Gold Crown Lanes has been around for over fifty years. Fifty years is a lot of time to witness change in the sport or bowling. Many faces have passed through and upgrades have been made to the bowling alley during that time, but one thing has remained constant.
Gold Crown Lanes has offered it’s sixteen lanes of bowling to the public since January of 1963. For just about as long, the “Blue Monday” league has been in existence at the bowling alley. The Blue Monday league began in August of 1964 and is still an active league to this day. The league is virtually unchanged with only slight modifications having been made after all of these years. It is a men’s league that takes place on monday evenings. There are five players per team and the league consists of sixteen teams, filling the whole alley.
While they may not have as long a history as the Blue Monday; Gold Crown hosts a couple of other bowling leagues as well. Six more to be exact which take place on almost every day of the week. There are no age restrictions to any of Gold Crown's bowling leagues. Additionally each of Gold Crown’s leagues are certified by the United States Bowling Congress. Scott Bijolle, the Owner of Gold Crown Lanes described the process of how leagues become certified, “The house gets sanctioned. So were sanctioned through the house and then each league has the opportunity to sanction, which all of our leagues do sanction. And then what it is is each bowler pays a fee yearly fee to be part of the USBC and then all of the scores get recorded nationally.”
Gold Crown also hosts some of the states top bowlers. Some of these bowlers even go on to compete in national tournaments. “I bowl in the nationals from here. We’ve got three or four of us from this center that bowl in the nationals each year” Bijolle said. The fact that all of Gold Crown’s leagues are USBC certified allows the bowlers to compete in the state tournament that is coming up in April.
As a whole, Bijolle is encouraged with the popularity of the sport and enthusiasm for it around the area. “As a recreational sport it’s certainly on the rise. There are some younger bowlers joining leagues. The problem is a lot of the league bowlers have been older bowlers, that are now moving away to Florida for the winter. So we haven’t noticed a hit yet, but shortly there is going to be a little less league (play). But the open bowling is just unbelievable. All the people that come in and just recreation bowl.”
With popularity for bowling on the rise, Gold Crown’s oldest active league may not skip a beat.