Competitors grab a turkey, pick up spare

OLYMPIA - Drew Rickman "bowled" a perfect strike Saturday on Aisle 10 at Bayview Thriftway and took home a frozen turkey for his efforts.

Rickman and about 25 other people bowled for free frozen turkeys and free bags of food using a 9-pound frozen turkey as the bowling ball during the first half-hour of a two-hour event. Store manager Mike Heatley said the store was resurrecting its Bowling for Turkeys event after a long absence.

“It’s just fun,” said Heatley, who was busy setting up pins for each bowler.

The frozen food aisle at Bayview was transformed into a makeshift bowling alley, with distances marked off for men, women and children. Men bowled the farthest from the pins, at about 30 feet. Each participant got two chances to knock down bowling pins for either a spare and a bag of food valued at about $15, or a strike to win a turkey. After two hours, the store had given away 10 turkeys and 20 bags of food, organizers said.

Rickman, who was joined by his mother, Stephanie, was one of the first to bowl a strike, while his twin brother, Collin, came up empty-handed. The bowling wasn’t as easy as it looked. Rather than allow participants to bowl the turkey as if they were at a traditional bowling alley, they could start only from a standing position. The turkeys also couldn’t be thrown through the air toward the pins; they had to touch the floor at all times. Some people hunched over and slung the turkeys forward, while others did it backward as if hiking a football. The better-frozen the turkey, the better it slid down the aisle.

After learning about Saturday’s event, Lindsay Pryor of Olympia and her co-workers from the Secretary of State’s Office decided to organize a trip to the store to see whether they could win a turkey or bag of food to donate to the Thurston County Food Bank. Their group of four came away with two bags of food and one turkey, Pryor said.

“I couldn’t be happier to help,” she said.

Laura Johnson and Elaine Vrandenburgh, both of Olympia, came to watch, sipping coffee as turkey after turkey was bowled down the aisle. Johnson, originally from northern Michigan, said the event reminded her of community events back home, such as when a hole was drilled on a frozen lake so people could show up and jump in – and do so with no prize at stake, she said.

Drew added after winning his turkey that he might prepare it for Thanksgiving Day.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403