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Youth Sports: Kids Bowl Free Program A Hit With Children At Starlite Lanes

DALLAS -- Rhyne Nelson eyed the 10 pins at the end of the lane, lined up his shot and let the bowling ball fly.The expression on the 7-year-old's face when he turned around -- scrunched nose and all -- told you the turn didn't go so well.A few minutes later, though, and he was smiling and hugging his brother, Spyre, 9, as the duo completed their two games at Dallas' Starlite Lanes in just over an hour.The best part?The games were free."I'm a sucker for cheap entertainment," the boys' mother, Triawn Nelson, said with a laugh. "It's worth it."The family, who lives in Grand Ronde, was utilizing the national program, Kids Bowl Free. It's a program that works with bowling centers across the country to provide two free games of bowling per child per day over the summer months.The Nelsons had a great outing July 10, and only had to pay for two pairs of rental bowling shoes at $2.50 a pop.Starlite Lanes enters its second year in the program, and owner Loren Faxon said he gave away more than 600 passes last summer to kids ages 15 and under.Oh, and the bowling centers don't get reimbursed, either."We're giving away two free passes (to each kid)," he said. "Our hope is that maybe they buy food, or join our junior bowling leagues during the school year."The national program was established six years ago to give kids a safe and affordable activity during the summer. Nationally, it serves more than one million children and more than 1,200 bowling centers participate, but Starlite Lanes is the only one in Polk County. Photo by Nicole Watkins Spyre Nelson, 9, tries his luck at the pins July 10 at Starlite Lanes in Dallas. It was the Nelsons' second trip of the summer to Starlite Lanes.Spyre said it won't be their last, either."We're going to go as many times as we can," he said.When it's free, I bet it's also a lot easier to convince mom and dad."It's awesome," Faxon said. "Where can you go when all you have to do is pay $2.50 for a pair of shoes?"To take advantage of the program and get the free passes, patrons must sign up online at www.kidsbowlfree.com. The passes must be printed out and brought in each time.The program runs until Aug. 31. KIDS BOWL FREE What: National program that works with bowling centers to provides free games to children over the summer break. Starlite Lanes, in Dallas, enters its second year as a member of the program. When: Monday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. until Aug. 31. Where: Starlite Lanes, 394 Main St., Dallas. Who: Youths 15 and under. Cost: Each child is eligible for two free games a day (with printed out coupon), but must either rent ($2.50) or bring bowling shoes. To register: www.kidsbowlfree.com and find Starlite Lanes under the Oregon locations.

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