The crash of bowling balls toppling pins mixed with laughter and conversation Sunday as the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser hit Parkside Lanes to bring in the bucks.

More than 700 people participated at some point during the all-day event, and the result was a smashing success for the Decatur County program.

According to Bev Karazsia, director of BBBS, the teams were able to raise $47,780, which shattered last year’s total of $39,361 and 2005’s $41,813. The excitement of the numbers was audible in Karazsia’s voice as she discussed the results.

“We did awesome. It is incredible. That is the most we’ve raised since I’ve been involved,” she said happily. “I’m absolutely positive we’ll make the $60,000 goal.”

The initial total is from bowling only, she noted. She was still at work calculating money from other avenues, such as corporate sponsors, auction items and paper bowling pins sold at local stores. After everything is added together, Karazsia said she is sure the goal for 2007 will be reached simply because of where she lives.

“The giving and support of Decatur County is tremendous,” she said. “I don’t think there is any county that is as supportive; not just for Big Brothers Big Sisters, but everything.”

Karazsia said there were too many people to thank, but she offered her appreciation to the plethora of churches, clubs, organizations, schools and businesses that lent time and money to make the event a success. She noted the top three teams for the event were Mid-Town Diner, $2,208, GCHS Class of 1965, $2,355, and the champions, GCHS Class of 1984, $3,065, which was led by team captain Lynn AmRhein, who raised $2,100 on her own. State Rep. Cleo Duncan (R-Greensburg) also raised $901 at the Statehouse for BBBS. Overall, Karazsia felt the program received widespread assistance to make this event a success.

“I can’t thank everyone in the community enough for their support,” she said. “I honestly believe everyone in the community contributed in some way to our fundraiser.”

All day long, people poured into and out of Parkside Lanes. Many bowled, some came for the auction and others were there as spectators. From 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., the lanes were filled with a flurry of activity, but Karazsia said things went off without a hitch.

“It looked hectic, but actually things went very smoothly,” she said. “You can’t put something of this caliber of a fundraiser on without all the people who volunteered behind the scenes.”

Karazsia felt the event was just filled with fun whether they bowled a strike or a gutter ball. Businesses came to have fun without the stress of work and clubs and churches extended their helping hands for the cause, she said. Even all five Mayoral candidates donned bowling shoes and hit the lanes. There was a wide array of ages from the team representing the adult center, many of whom are in their late 80s, to 2-year-old Blake Wolford, who made it look easy by rolling a strike on his first try.

Karazsia felt the most impressive aspect was the amount of teams from area high schools. Greensburg and North Decatur each entered 15 teams and South had seven. With this overwhelming support, she feels the teenagers are showing a strong understanding for their roles in community and in the eyes of the younger children.

“I think the kids see the need for this program and are participating more. When they go to the schools and have lunch with their Littles, they can see first hand the influence they have and the joy they bring to these kids and its having its affect,” Karazsia said.

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