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Connellsville area bowlers gain tuition money

| Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 1:36 a.m.
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The winners of this year's City Lanes Youth League scholarships are (from left) Tommy Exton, Austin Wiltrout and Ciara Ritter.

City Bowling Center in Connellsville has a unique way of giving young kids the chance to have fun and invest in their future at the same time.

Each year, the local bowling alley awards scholarships to members of the City Lanes Youth League. This year's winners are Tommy Exton, Austin Wiltrout and Ciara Ritter.

“I think we've got the best program going in terms of the scholarships we give,” City Bowling Center owner Robert Renze said.

Renze, who has been in charge of the youth league for a number of years, said the scholarships are an integral part of the program. This year, each scholarship recipient received $360 in scholarship money. The money is held in a trust fund until the recipients enter college. The money is then sent to the college to be applied to the student's tuition.

In order to be eligible for the scholarship money, bowlers must compete in the City Lanes Youth League, a 30-week league that runs from September through April and is open to kids ages 5-16. Participants must bowl at least 26 of the 30 weeks. Qualifying bowlers are put into a drawing for the annual scholarships. The scholarship money can be won more than once by each individual.

City Bowling Center donates money to the scholarship funds, and much of the scholarship money comes from individuals as well as other local businesses, including Ritenour Lumber Company, Rusko Vending, Fiesta Insurance Agency, Scarry & Associates, House Financial Service and Trophy Den.

Tillie Fulton, owner of Trophy Den in Connellsville, has been a longtime supporter of the scholarship program.

“I've done it for a number of years,” Fulton said. “I believe it's a great way to financially assist students to continue their education beyond the high school level. As a business person within the community, it's nice to be able to contribute.”

Fulton also encouraged other area businesses to learn more about the program and the opportunities it presents to area youths.

This year, 23 bowlers took part in the City Lanes Youth League. For those who didn't win scholarship money, they didn't walk away from the league empty-handed.

Each participant received a $100 Wal-Mart gift certificate as well as a trophy and T-shirt at the season-ending banquet.

Renze believes in the program and he encourages local children and parents to get involved.

“It's the only place that I know of that gives scholarship money like this,” Renze said. “If you don't have anything to do on Saturday mornings, come and get signed up.”

For more information regarding the City Lanes Youth League, call 724-628-9972.

Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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