Beginning at 10 p.m., East End Lanes, located at 1410 E. Main St., will host a Midnight Bowl Fundraiser to benefit the Area 32 Special Olympics bowling team.
For $10, you can bowl as much as you want from 10 p.m. until midnight, with the proceeds to help cover the cost of next month’s regional Special Olympics bowling tournament, which is being hosted by Rogersville for the first time this year.
Funds raised Saturday night will also cover the cost of sending about 12 local participants to the state Special Olympics bowling tournament in Columbia, Tenn., in October.
Area 32 Special Olympics serves all of Hawkins County and part of Kingsport and Sullivan County.
Special Olympics is managed by unpaid volunteers and funded solely through donations. Athletes don’t pay a fee to participate in any of their sports, which is why organizers are constantly coming up with different ways to raise money.
Their next big event is the Sept. 20 Regional Bowling Tournament in Rogersville.
Although East End Lanes is giving them a good deal for the use of the facility for the tournament, Area 32 still has to come up with rent for the event, as well as lunch for about 130 athletes, their coaches and volunteers.
About a dozen winners of the regional tournament will qualify to travel to Columbia for the state tournament.
Special Olympics volunteer Christina Bellamy noted that the state tournament requires three nights of food, lodging and travel, which is another big expense.
That’s why she’s hoping to see a good crowd come out to East End Lanes for the fundraiser and support their program.
“It’s going to be a really good time, and it’s for a really great cause,” Bellamy said. “Rogersville has a really nice bowling facility, and the people who work there are very nice and helpful. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Bowling is just one of several events that Area 32 Special Olympians compete in throughout the year.
Area 32 Special Olympics also offers bocce ball, flag football, basketball, several track and field events, and this year they’re considering the addition of tennis and volleyball.
However, the more sports they offer, the more money they need to raise.
“Uniforms, sporting equipment, fees if they need practice — we have to raise money every year,” Bellamy said. “Everyone involved in this program is a volunteer, so every dime that we raise goes to the athletes because we have no overhead.”
There is some sponsorship for the Sept. 20 regional tournament, and Bellamy wanted to recognize that the Rogersville Domino’s is donating about 15 pizzas and Hardee’s is donating about 30 sandwiches.