MEDICINE HAT, AB – Local bowler Shawn MacKinnon never imagined getting back to the national stage after giving up the sport at the age of 19.
Getting back into bowling in 2003 after almost two decades away, MacKinnon is now getting ready for his biggest tournament in decades.
MacKinnon is headed to Thunder Bay, Ontario this weekend to compete in the 2018 Master Bowling Nationals competition in both the singles and team events.
Winning provincials in Calgary back in March, MacKinnon climbed from fifth place on the first day of competition to winning the whole event after averaging a score of 289 on the second day.
This will be the 49-year-old’s second trip to nationals, but he’s had quite the wait to return to Canada’s bowling pinnacle.
MacKinnon was crowned Canadian junior champion as a 14-year-old back in 1984. He said it’s hard to believe it’s been 35 years between appearances at national competitions.
“It kind of brought a lot of memories back that day in Calgary when I won provincials from when I was a kid, the last time that I got to go to nationals and what that experience was like,” said MacKinnon. “So, now I get to experience it as an adult.”
Along with going for a national singles title, MacKinnon will have the chance to bowl alongside four other teammates as part of Team Alberta.
He said the team is well positioned to contend and is happy to see a few of his teammates with national experience.
“It’s a good mixture of young and old,” he said. “It’s four other guys that I did not meet until provincials that weekend. There’s myself, I am a rookie, there’s two other rookies on the team as well. Plus, two other guys that have qualified for nationals before.”
Flying out to Thunder Bay on Friday, MacKinnon added he’ll soak in the week-long event and will try to bring back a national title to Medicine Hat.
“I’ll experience everything, live in the moment, do my best, and try and bring a gold medal back,” he said.
MacKinnon’s first match will be held on Sunday morning with the medals being handed out on Wednesday.
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