Competitive Candlepin bowling; sport needs sponsors, sound familiar?

Reading this article and hearing the best candlepin bowler in the world gripe about poor sponsorship and prize pools. Sounded a bit like the dust-up with the IFPA and the new $1 system for next year. Good read, especially if you are from New England like me and remember candlepin TV shows and its glory days

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God I miss bowling, I remember Chris and others back when I bowled, it is sad what has happened to the sport.

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I don’t know, the only familiar thing is that it looks to be a sport that can’t support professional competitors. The majority of the article was spun as some guy being a crybaby.

I’d feel embarrassed if one of the top players in our sport went as far as to whine in an article about how they deserve recognition or $. Sure that would be super awesome, but the article spins a very entitled attitude.

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I’d love to try candlepin or duckpin bowling, but the locations are few and far between. Is there a list of locations, in case I take a trip near a lane sometime?

Candlepin is so last year, the new game is Fowling.

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I’d think candlepin would be way more entertaining to watch than pinball so no, doesn’t sound familiar :wink:

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Sounds like that dude needs a job designing new candlepin lane layouts. :wink:


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If a game like Fowling, which has literally zero randomness to it, is described on TV, by a participant, with the phrase “there’s no…skill, I guess you could say, to it”, then pinball has little hope.

I used to live in Connecticut and Maryland, both duckpins locales, and I did a bit of candlepins once in a while, too. They’re both more interesting and challenging than “regular” bowling, due to the smaller ball size. They’re also more unpredictable, since there’s much more difference in result from a shift of an inch at ball impact than with tenpin bowling. They’re both easier for kids to learn, again because of the smaller, lighter, easier to handle ball. But for some reason, maybe just because they’re harder [I averaged around 140 at duckpins, which made me pretty good, vs. well over 200 in tenpins; candlepins is even harder than duckpins], they’re not as popular.

Personally I have always thought it was a difficulty issue for candlepin.

Here’s video of Chris back when Candlepin was still televised.

Also Mike Poulin might have the best eyebrows in sports history.

Still, at one time candlepin has $50,000 national prize. I think the difference is that while there’s lots of casual pinball players, the number of casual bowlers who would tune into something like this, because they had a local alley, was just so much larger. In some ways pinball competition will be limited to the exposure of pinball to the masses, which needs to be a lot better than it is now.


Well I can speak to this personally as I grew up playing it competitively up into my early twenties and lived through the change in the sport. When I was younger a ton of alleys had both candlepin and ten pin, but over time all the candlepin went away and those placed because 100% ten pin. I have seen the biggest alley in I think New England close (thunderbird) because a 100% candlepin alley of that size became unsustainable (and other factors)

I have talked to owners and people in the industry when the changes happened and when alleys I loved closed and it was always mostly the same answer, it is to hard for people. Ten pin is easy compared to candlepin by a very big margin and people enjoy doing well even if it is not as well as it seems lol Candlepin you can hit the headpin and pull out 2 or even 3 pins…or 1 (did it once) and unless you are in love with the sport…I can see that pissing a lot of people off while it is a 80% change at a strike or a spare on tenpin. However this is a personal issue with me growing up with candlepin and having a big bias to ten pin and how it killed the sport (or peoples lack of wanting a challenge)…so that’s my rant haha

I played a lot in my youth, always candlepin because the smaller ball is easier for kids to pick up.

In general social spaces for entertainment are hard to come by. Lanes and Games in Cambridge that had a ton of pinball closed (know I don’t have to tell you that Joe!). Sacco’s bowl-haven in Somerville cut the lanes in half and now they’re a gimmick for a pizza restaurant. In Tewksbury where I grew up there used to be a huge alley, 20 candlepin lanes and 10 duck-pin lanes. That closed and they put up a home depot. They just recently put new alleys in Tewksbury there after a 20 year hiatus. I’m not sure difficulty is doing in candlepin so much as bowling alleys and other places are kind of dying out. Why open an alley and spend millions building it for a piddling profit when you put up condos or something else and cash out.

It’s probably way off topic, though. Is difficulty really an issue when the game is relative? I mean yeah you’re only scoring 100 pins instead of 200 but it’s relative to everyone else? Like pinball, except in pinball everyone who isn’t in pinball asks, ‘what’s your high score’, as if, every game has a score and a million points means something :slight_smile:

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A Pinball Map user just found a campground in Nebraska that has 11 machines. So I think opportunities for exposure are increasing as we sit.

That’s cool for those who are camping there but what about for everyone else?

It used to be that any medium sized town had an arcade, like a bowling alley (sometimes bowling alleys were the arcades!) If you still have to hunt and peck for pinball it still has a ways to go.

Everyone else has to camp there.

But seriously, we have an extensive amount of data showing that, on a national scale, more spots with pinball are opening than closing.


Well think of it as say star trek vs like mustang or ghostbusters. I think you could look at it as it doesn’t feel relative with candlepin same as it might not on avatar or other really hard pinball games…vs if you played GOT or other on the easier side games…if that makes sense. As we have learned…reality doesn’t overly matter when compared to how it FEELS haha

Part of what’s helped save tenpin bowling so far is the addition of automated scoring (with glitzy displays and graphics) and fancy-lighting “glow-bowl” lanes at night [lighting name varies by location]. Just as pinball added more visual glitz to keep up with video games, bowling has done the same to some degree.

On another note, the Candlepin guys mentions Walter Ray Williams Jr.s’ career earnings vs. his. He overlooks the fact that Walter has won more Best Player awards at horseshoes than at bowling, but gets far less money from that. There’s lots of stuff that being the best at lacks financial rewards, and that even those that pay have their fortunes shift over time. Golf clearly soaked up most of the TV money that it used to split with bowling; look at tournament purses for the two 50 years ago vs. now. I can remember seeing speed boat racing on TV [ABC’s Wide World of Sports?] almost as often as auto racing; where’d that go, eh? Foosball and Air Hockey were big in the 1970’s and 1980’s; they’re still there, but the payouts are down, for foosball even from just 5 years ago [no more $100K World Championship].

Footnote from tonight’s Jeopardy: they had a category where they give you the name of a Hall-of-Famer and you identify the sport. One answer was, “Dick Weber”; nobody even tried to guess. He’s only one of the top 5 bowlers ever.

I always dug the theme song. Papa’s theme song is pretty good too!