The sport of bowling will be bringing a big crowd to town at the Depot Family Fun Center for the next two weeks.

The 2018 annual Mississippi State USBC Open Seniors Tournament will be held in Philadelphia this Saturday and Sunday, and the next weekend. The bowling starts at 8 a.m. each day and runs until past dark.

“I don’t know how many people will be here,” owner Mark Enterkin said. “But they said we would have a full house each day. The casino and one of the hotels is giving us a good rate on rooms.

“The association has four major tournaments each year; the Seniors, the Open, the Women’s Open and the Magic Age. I bid on all four tournaments and got the senior tournament.”

He added that he may be getting another one of the tournaments either in 2019 or in 2020 because of the closing of another bowling alley.

Tucked in between the two weekends of the tournament will be the Special Olympics State Tournament which will be held December 4-5.

“They had a practice last week and around 35 people bowled,” said Enterkin.

Enterkin and his wife, Beverly, purchased the Depot center in November of 2017. They live in Quitman but are at the bowling center most days.

“I love the sport of bowling,” said Enterkin. “I started when I was 16 and bowled until I was 35. Then life pulled me away from it. It started back around 12 to 15 years ago.

“It’s a challenge. It’s great to have a competitive spirit and it is a sport where you are competing with yourself, trying to beat your best score. I have friends all of the state that I bowl with.”

The Enterkins were interested in buying a bowling alley but couldn’t make a deal. They were talking to the previous owners of the Depot Bowling Center.

 “They said they might be interested in selling,” Enterkin said. “We talked and the price got right. So we bought.”

Enterkin said he painted and done renovation work. A new scoring system is in. There are two adult leagues on Monday and Thursday night. Also, six high schools (Neshoba Central, Choctaw Central, Union, Nanih Waiya, Louisville and Noxapater) bowl out of Philadelphia.

“We do everything we can to promote youth bowling,” Enterkin said. “Today’s youth, not people my age, are the future of this sport. If we don’t get them interested, there won’t be a sport.”

Enterkin added that there is a lot of college scholarship money available to young bowlers.

Depot will host a big tournament the Queen City Invitational in January. The private tournament has been held in Meridian but its organizer is moving it to Philadelphia.