Issue: 2015-10-01 PHOTO: Rick Massie
Owners Steve and Irene Kwok with their grandson
In the popular bowling movie Kingpin the term “munsoned” is coined by the film’s writers Peter and Bobby Farrelly to describe being up a creek without a paddle, essentially being left for dead.
For the Mad Trapper Alleys in Riverdale that seemed to be its fate after closing its doors in May.
But now the popular five-pin facility is munsoned no more as it recently reopened part-time for weekend play.
“Exciting,” said facility manager Steve Kwok when asked what it was like to hear the familiar sound of ball against pins again. “Feels like I’m honeymooning again.”
For 12 years Kwok and his wife Irene operated the popular facility.
When their son took up the sport and the opportunity to manage the lanes presented itself Kwok jumped on it.
It was a decision that would bring years of joy to his family and see his son go on to represent the territory at several national tournaments.
“With the bowling alley it’s like you’re married to it,” said Kwok. “You have that love affair, that feeling all the time.”
When the lanes closed in May of this year it wasn’t because Kwok’s love for the sport had run out, but due to the facility’s aging equipment and the amount of time Kwok could commit.
In addition to running the bowling alley the Kwok’s operate two other businesses, both of which are located in the same complex as the lanes.
They are also grandparents now, something Kwok says has become a top priority in his life.
“When you become a grandparent you immediately fall in love with that child,” he says.
But not having the lanes open these past few months and knowing how important they were to the community has weighed heavily on Kwok.
“As soon as the bowling alley closed people were asking me if it was going to re-open,” said Kwok.
The lanes are an important fixture to many in Whitehorse.
For years the Boys and Girls Club would host its largest annual fundraiser there.
The Special Olympics bowling team trained regularly at the lanes and without it the team’s future was put in doubt.
Prior to its closure there was even a Big Lebowski themed bowling party.
Knowing all this and the fact the lanes and equipment were just sitting dormant Kwok approached the building’s landlord Chris Sorg to see if the bowling alley could operate part time.
Sorg liked the idea and last month the lanes re-opened to a packed house.
Special Olympics Yukon are also set to begin practices again.
Right now the lanes will remain open on the weekends and for private functions until April, at which time a decision will be made on its future.
In the meantime Kwok says he has no regrets about his decision to re-open the Mad Trapper Alleys and return to a busy schedule.
“For it to just sit there and collect dust it is a shame,” said Kwok. “The equipment is dying but it’s not dead yet, besides, for all 10 machines to break down at the same time it’s easier to win the 6/49.”
For many local bowlers having the lanes open again is just like winning the Lotto.
The Mad Trapper Bowling Alley is located at 95 Lewes Blvd. in Whitehorse. For more information call 668-4277.