Today we interview the relatively unknown Thunder Bay bowler who captured the Autumn Open in his first WBT event. Allan cruised to the 40’s and making the cut to 16’s under the radar. Playing in the Top 16’s he went 14-1 which is a very incredible feat- going almost unbeaten with some of the best bowlers Western Canada has to offer. Once again Allan, congrats on the great victory!
Tim: Tell us a bit how your bowling career got started.
Allan: I’ve been bowling since I was 4 years old. My mom signed me up in the YBC program at Galaxy Lanes. Later I switched to Mario’s Bowl for a couple years. I finished YBC at Superior Bowladrome though.
Tim: And what was your average throughout your time with the YBC program?
Allan: My average was up and down throughout my time in the YBC program. I ended with a 255 average.
Tim: Who coached you in your younger years?
Allan: I had many wonderful coaches that helped me improve over the years. Bob Taylor has coached me more time than I can count. Other coaches that I had were Dave Burla, Mitch Parker and Nancy Elliot.
Tim: Growing up in Thunder Bay, as you hit the adult ranks there were many great players to learn from. Who, in particular helped to positively influence your career?
Allan: Some of the great bowlers that have had a tremendous influence on my bowling are Wes Swoluk, Greg DeGrazia and the entire Bonnie Family (Alyssa, Katie, Brian, Kyle and Laurie).
Tim: You mentioned those who have helped you with your career, but simply as a fan, who do you enjoy watching?
Allan: There’s actually quite a few people that I enjoy watching. Everyone has a unique style of bowling and I find it fascinating how people find styles to work for them. I’ll have to admit that one of my favourite people to watch bowl is Alyssa Bonnie because her approach is amazing. If there was a manual on how to bowl, her shot would be straight from there.
Tim: Allan, I don’t honestly know off hand if you play the Masters out in Northern Ontario. But could you compare the Masters to your ever popular Open out in Thunder Bay?
Allan: This is my 1st year bowling in the Masters, but from what I hear, it’s just as great!
Tim: Winning your 1st WBT Tournament a few weekends ago in Calgary, how did it feel when you accomplished this incredible feat?
Allan: Honestly, it took about a week after the tournament until it sunk in that I had won. It was a great feeling though. It definitely gives me a new perspective to competitive bowling.
Tim: Did you do anything special before this tournament than any other? What preparations did you do in order to win the Championship?
Allan: I didn’t do anything special before this tournament. I wish I could say that I did so that I’d know what to do for the next one, but I didn’t.
Tim: Since it has been a few weeks since you won the Autumn Open, and have had time to reflect back at it, what comes to mind when you look back at it?
Allan: All I remember from that weekend is meeting a lot of great people who made my experience at the Autumn Open that much better!
Tim: You were dynamite in frames 9 & 10 all day in the final 16’s. What made you excel when the pressure was on?
Allan: I tend to bowl better under pressure and I honestly have no idea why that is.
Tim: Your win at the Autumn Open - you went 14 & 1 in Match Play. Can you explain to our viewers how you were so successful in winning all those matches?
Allan: During the finals, Bradley Rogers and Carter Stretch really kept me calm and talked to me to keep my mind off of the competition. I really couldn’t have been so successful without them there all day!
Tim: Can you explain the difference between Western Cash Tournaments such as the Autumn Open compared to the tournaments you have out East?
Allan: I’ve only attended one other big cash tournament which was held in Dryden, Ontario. For one, there’s definitely a lot more people in Western tournaments. I also found that the Autumn Open was significantly more competitive.
Tim: For those who haven’t see you play Allan, could you explain your shot?
Allan: I have a 4 step approach and I’m also left-handed. My shot is normally quite slow and has a small back up that comes in on the right side of the head pin.
Tim: Not playing against you a lot Allan, for your win, what type of ball with the specifications did you use?
Allan: I actually have no idea… I’ve been using the same bowling balls for over 11 years. My mom bought them for me just before my first YBC Nationals in 2003. They might be Paramount.
Tim: What is your favourite centre to play at?
Allan: My favourite centre to bowl at is Superior Bowladrome.
Tim: Speaking of your favorite centre, what about this center puts this on top of your list?
Allan: Everyone is so friendly and you really feel like part of the family there!
Tim: And what is your favourite tournament, and why?
Allan: My favourite tournament right now would be the Opens. I have met so many great people and bowled with and against some of the best!
Tim: With the recent big win, what else do you have on your “bucket list”?
Allan: Well I’ve already registered for the TPC Tournament, but I would also like to make an appearance in Regina for their tournament in February.
Tim: Relatively unknown out West - can you tell our readers a little bit more about yourself?
Allan: I’m 22 years old and just graduated from Lakehead University with a degree in Natural Sciences. I plan to move out west within the next few years.
Tim: What are the main concerns you have with 5-Pin and what can be done to improve our game?
Allan: One of my big concerns with 5-Pin is that often it isn’t viewed as a competitive sport and that we aren’t taken as seriously as I’d like.
Tim: With this information so readily available now a days (Social Media), in what way could we further expand our sport for the good using it?
Allan: Facebook. It is an excellent way to update the public and let everyone know about upcoming tournaments. I think it will help expand our bowling community and fire up the public’s interest in our sport.
Tim: And finally, what advice would you give to bowlers who are looking to improve?
Allan: My advice is to keep a positive attitude, keep calm and keep smiling! Going into something with a bad attitude is no way to get anything accomplished.