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Bowling tournament raises funds for KTD

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Sons of Thunder team member Nathan Yager rolls another strike while participating in Saturday's King Turkey Day Bowling Tournament and Fundraiser at Oxford Bowl in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- A crowd watched as four bowlers took turns attempting to get a strike after the first round at the King Turkey Day (KTD) Bowling Tournament Saturday.

Four failed tries later, the $24 worth of chances sold benefitted the annual fundraiser.

KTD bowling tournament initiator and coordinator, Cindy DeGroot, explained the idea of selling chances after every shift started several years ago as a new twist to the tournament.

"We sell $5 chances during each shift," she said, adding at the end of each round, four bowlers are randomly selected to attempt a natural strike.

"If they get all 10 pins, they get the pot of money. If they don't, King Turkey Day gets the money," DeGroot continued.

The eighth annual KTD Bowling Tournament brought in 51 teams made of five players to Oxford Bowl on Saturday.

Gary Peterson, owner of Oxford Bowl, has hosted the tournament each year.

"This day is one of our busiest days, but it's a lot of fun for everyone including the employees," Peterson said.

While some teams have participated each year, others are new to the fundraising tournament that benefits Worthington's trademark festival.

Childhood friends Dan Wildeman, Dan Cooper, Mark Pearson, Nathan Yager and Matt Yager were enthusiastic first time KTD bowlers.

"We're doing better than we expected," Cooper said about his team -- Sons of Thunder.

"We all grew up together," Wildeman added, noting their participation this year was a "spur of the moment decision."

Sons of Thunder were joined by Jessica Noble's State Farm and The Great Divide for the first of four bowling shifts.

Bowler Wally Habben of The Great Divide was no newcomer to Saturday's tournament

"This is my eighth time," Habben said. "I was born and raised in Worthington and I love King Turkey Day."

King Turkey Day Board President Brian Almberg explained the bowling tournament is one of the two major fundraisers the board organizes to fund the carnival.

"Everyone is so generous and it goes a long way to help with King Turkey Day," he said.

DeGroot added every year the board operates on approximately a $95,000 budget to organize King Turkey Day.

"About 75 percent of our bowlers bowl one day in a year but they do it for a good cause," she said. "They all have fun and there isn't really serious competition."

Mayor Alan Oberloh attested to DeGroot's statement.

"I'm a once a year bowler," he admitted. "We just throw together a team with different people every year."

Saturday's tournament raised over $5,000 for King Turkey Day, Almberg said.

"I'd like to thank everyone at Oxford Bowl and on the bowling committee for making it a great success," he added.

The top five teams left on Saturday with cash prizes.

Team Steffl clinched first place with a combined score of 3,948, followed by Johnson Builders securing a total score of 3,815.

Pellegrinos 2 bowled a total pin series of 3,799 earning them third place. Fourth place went to The Great Divide with a score of 3,784. It Don't Matter came in fifth place with a score of 3,712.

Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony can be reached at 376-7321.