Bowling: A Summer Sport for Everybody and Every Age at Aztec Lanes

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Dan Brathovd, owner of Aztec Lanes, is looking forward to another busy summer with new leagues starting in May and the national Kids Bowl Free program kicking off April 11. Photo credit: Jessie Dunnam

Few other sports bring people together quite like bowling.  It is a sport with the power to interest and entertain every age, every body, every purpose and every level of skill.  For Dan and April Brathovd, owners of Olympia’s Aztec Lanes, bowling is a passion that they have been called to share with us all.

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Aztec Lanes is bigger than it looks with 12 lanes, comfy couches, a pro shop and a snack bar all packed inside. Photo credit: Jessie Dunnam

“I think it’s the competitiveness that has kept me interested in the game all these years,” admitted Dan.  “The constant challenge of the game, changing lane conditions and trying to make good adjustments to improve your shot also keep it fun.”

Dan grew up in the alley, working alongside his grandfather, who first purchased the business back in 1972.  It has been in the family ever since and the Brathovd’s pride is evident both in the renovations they have pursued and in the growing experiences they try to provide.

Throughout the year, the Brathovds work hard to promote their sport and business through organized leagues, open play sessions for the public and special events, such as the summertime favorite, Kids Bowl Free program.

This summer, Aztec Lanes is excited to offer three different leagues:  9-Pin No-Tap, Summer Trios and Mix N Match Bakers.

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The Brathovds have worked hard to keep Aztec Lanes comfortable, modern and family friendly with new additions and upgrades throughout the years. Photo credit: Jessie Dunnam

In 9-Pin No-Tap, all you need is 9 pins down to get a strike!  This a great option for families, as each two-man team requires one child and one adult.  9-Pin No-Tap meets every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. starting May 17, 2017.

Looking for some adult only play?  Summer Trios is the league for you.  All you need is three adults, any combo, and free time on Tuesday nights.  Summer Trios start up May 16, 2017 at 6:00 p.m

Last, but hardly least, is Mix N Match Bakers, a fun twist on the classic game.  Any two-man team will do and you can even split the score. That’s because, in Mix N Match Bakers, teams bowl alternating frames for a combined final total.  This league meets Thursday nights at 6:00 p.m. starting May 18, 2017.

Summer leagues are a blast, but for many kids and families, it’s the return of Kids Bowl Free that brings the most excitement.

Bowling centers from across the nation come together each summer with one common goal:  to provide safe, secure and fun places for kids and families to spend their time.  Every child who registers for Kids Bowl Free receives coupons for two free games of bowling, every day Aztec Lanes is open, from April 11, 2017 to July 29, 2017.  Families are encouraged to participate as well and can play with their kids by purchasing games in person at Aztec Lanes or by purchasing a Family Pass through Kids Bowl Free.

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How many pins can you hit? The lane may look long but Dan gives this simple advice to beginners: The proper grip is ring finger, middle finger and thumb. Start there, then step out with the foot opposite of the hand you’ll bowl with and go! Photo credit: Jessie Dunnam

In 2016, Aztec Lanes registered more kids than any other center in Washington of comparable size with a total of 2,100 Kids Bowl Free entries.  This year, the Brathovds are on a mission to reach even more youth with a goal set of 2,500 entries by the end of summer.

“The idea is to get a new generation of youth hooked on the sport who will grow into life-long bowlers,” Dan explained.

Dan, who coaches the North Thurston High School girls bowling team and is a parent himself, knows the importance of keeping kids and families active, especially during the summer when school is out.  Kids Bowl Free offers an affordable alternative to watching television, playing video games, or visiting with friends on cell phones and other devices.  If the numbers alone don’t convince you this program is a hit with kids and families, just ask Dan.

“We have participated in the program for over six years now.  It’s great to see the kids who grow into regulars and still come back each year with their friends and siblings even after graduating out of the program themselves,” shared Dan.

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League bowlers pack the lot at Aztec Lanes on a Wednesday night. Photo credit: Jessie Dunnam

It’s no surprise kids and families keep coming back.  With comfortable couches, new touchscreen scoreboards, and a welcoming atmosphere, it is easy to feel at home while you are at Aztec Lanes.

There are so many reasons to bowl.  Some do it to stay active, while others like the competition.  For me, it was always the social perk of spending time with my friends.  But when I asked Dan, why he recommends bowling, he kept it simple and true. “It’s good exercise and it’s fun to do.”

To make Aztec Lanes part of your family night plans and to find out more about their upcoming summer leagues and programs, including Kids Bowl Free, visit or stop by for some open play.  The Brathovds will be glad you came by.

Aztec Lanes
2825 Martin Way E.
Olympia, WA 98506
360-357-8808                                                                                             Sponsored

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