Thanks in great part to the foresight of its builders, Planet Fun Bowling and Entertainment Center in Shallotte, N.C., has escaped the ravages of Hurricane Florence and the show will go on as planned.
“The show” is the PBA50 Storm Invitational, a new end-of-season tournament for 12 elite “senior” stars who excelled during the 2018 season (Michael Haugen Jr., Brian Kretzer, Ron Mohr, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Norm Duke, Parker Bohn III, Lennie Boresch Jr., Amleto Monacelli, Ryan Shafer, Bob Learn Jr., Pete Weber and Harry Sullins) plus PBA Hall of Fame legends Johnny Petraglia and Brian Voss, will take place at 32-lane Planet Fun Sept. 29-30. PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling will live-stream the entire 14-game round-robin match play event plus the stepladder finals.
In the wake of the tragic flooding and wind damage caused by Hurricane Florence, the Planet Fun family entertainment complex in the sleepy little resort area of 3,600 residents escaped with minimal damage and is now patiently waiting for flood waters to recede.
”We’re doing okay,” proprietor Brian McCall said Tuesday. “We made it through the storm with very little damage. The area is still in the midst of trying to recover; roads are still really bad, but flooding is supposed to crest soon so we’re hoping we’ll get back to normal soon.”Shallotte, McCall noted, is only a couple of miles from the ocean. It’s midway between Wilmington to the north and Myrtle Beach to the south. Shallotte got about 15 inches of rain – far less than areas of the north – and winds that hit the 80-100 mph range. But the bowling center itself escaped, despite having a river right behind it, because “we raised the center about 11 feet to get out of flood plain when we built it,” McCall said. “We got it about 19 feet above sea level. It certainly has paid for itself a couple of times over. The river has never gotten to our parking lot, but we can see it from there.”
The upcoming PBA50 event, he said, may prove to be therapeutic for the region.
“We look forward to hosting the event,” McCall said. “We know people will show up to support it. We hope it’ll be a breath of fresh air for people around here. We had to shut down the center for a week because our league bowlers couldn’t get here, but as bad as things have been, they could have been a whole lot worse.”