Mason City bowling team looks to strike back after bowling alley fire

“At first, when I saw the news that Mystic (Lanes) had the fire, I was worried we wouldn’t have a season.” Those were the thoughts of Clear Lake High School junior Bergen Klaehn when he first heard about the fire. 

The Mason City High School Bowling Team used Mystic Lanes for practice and home matches. After the fire, team members were left wondering what is next. 

That was until the coaches reached out to Comet Bowl in Charles City, who agreed to let the kids practice there. One of the coaches is girls bowling Coach Larry Collins III. “We got on it pretty quick, and everybody was super helpful from the bowling alley owners in Mason City to Charles City to the athletic directors in the school system.”  

Comet bowl is about a 35-40-minute drive each way. That takes time away from kids to do homework, or go to other activities. For some students the drive is even longer. Klaehn is from Clear Lake, making the drive nearly an hour for him. 

Junior Riley Snell and sophomore Kylie Novak agrees that if it allows the team to stay together, they will take it. Snell had this to say. “I think when you are really committed to a sport, you pursue that sport with passion, you try whatever to be able to do that.”  

Another challenge is money. 

The team lost more than $5,000 worth of team equipment in the fire. One person who lost all of her personal stuff was Novak. “I lost everything in my bowling bag. My ball, my shoes, and other equipment that I had.” Novak ultimately paid about $300 to get everything replaced, but she also had a discount being a bowler. Other bowlers on the team lost multiple balls, and had to pay more than $1,000 to replace everything. 

The coaches also need to figure out how to transport the kids to Charles City. Boys bowling coach Rich Patras says he is even willing to drive the bus to save some money. 

“Years ago, I used to drive a school bus, so I have my CDL (commercial driver’s license). I just need to go take the classes.”  

While all of those details are being worked on, the team is happy that their season is still a go. They also have plenty of time to spare in raising funds. Coach Collins III & Coach Patras, respectively, are excited to still have the team together. “We’re happy we got something rolling, and we’re ready to go come November.”  

“We want to send a message that we’re doing everything we can to let everyone know we’re here and we’re ready to go. We’re gonna do what we can.”  

The fundraising goal is $10,000. If you are interested in donating, we have a link here