In 2009, I started a wheelchair bowling records website to share the bowling achievements of different types of wheelchair users, and also to share some of what is possible for people, despite certain physical conditions.
The focus of the website is on “dynamic-style” wheelchair bowling, i.e. bowling which incorporates the movement of the wheelchair and mimics the able-bodied bowling process. Like able-bodied bowlers, wheelchair users can set up, and then physically approach and release the ball while stopping short of the foul line. That is exactly what the IKAN (“I can”) Bowler® allows wheelchair users to do. And because it mimics the able-bodied bowling process, the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) sanctioned the IKAN Bowler® for league and tournament play – bowling with and/or against able-bodied bowlers or fellow IKAN users.
We developed the IKAN Bowler® to attach to almost any wheelchair, thus enabling people who can safely control their chairs to be able to bowl. For example, I am paralyzed from the neck down and ventilator dependent, and I have literally bowled two dozen games of 200 or better – and I drive my wheelchair with my mouth, using a sip-and-puff system.
Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injury are three types of conditions which can result in the need for an electric/power wheelchair, and the IKAN Bowler® can enable us to bowl on a “level playing field” with the rest of the world. People with these types of conditions are featured on the records website, and records are also shown for different methods of operating a wheelchair (joystick, chin control, head array control, sip-and-puff, etc.).
Here is the website: WheelchairBowlingRecords.com
What about other wheelchair bowling styles and records?
For decades, I would think, manual wheelchair users who still have the upper body and grip strength have been able to “park” their wheelchair in front of the foul line, lean over and toss their bowling ball down the lane. Shawn Beam and George Holscher are two men who have bowled perfect 300 games doing so. But many people require electric/power wheelchairs for mobility, and do not have the physical ability to use their arms and swing a bowling ball.
Stationary ramps can be fun for people who have enough physical ability to aim the ramp, position the ball (how the ball is positioned on either a stationary ramp or IKAN Bowler® determines the shape of the shot), and push it down the ramp. But high-level quadriplegics, like me, and people in similar conditions cannot do that.
The IKAN Bowler® is a precision-engineered ramp which attaches to its users wheelchair. After a caddie positions the ball how we want it for the shot, the wheelchair user is in control and empowered to bowl and have fun in a physical way. Not many sports and recreational opportunities exist for people who are so physically limited. A major bonus is that it is sanctioned by the USBC, allowing for genuine competition, and increasing the thrill potential for those who like to compete.
The thrill of doing something formerly not thought possible (e.g. a quadriplegic bowling a legitimate strike) and also the thrill of competition (trying to beat someone else or achieve a certain score) those are genuine thrills. And that is why our company is named Manufacturing Genuine Thrills, because that’s what we do by providing the IKAN Bowler®. :-)
I just wanted to share about the records website, and why I developed it.
Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website: http://www.ikanbowler.com
Personal website: http://www.lookmomnohands.net