Bowling tournaments can be exciting competitions of skill and nerve, or entertaining events to raise money for deserving charities. Either way, spicing up the competition with some unexpected twists will ensure that everyone has a memorable time, no matter what the players' age or skill level.
Every player chooses an alias before the competition and tells the host what that name will be. The players also have to provide clues as to why they chose that alias. The aliases will be posted on the scoreboard. Players have to guess who's who, and the player who guesses the most correctly wins a prize. Since the scores will give away which player is which, have everyone vote before the games begin. If this is for a fundraiser, allow the players to buy the clues, with the money going to charity.
Make the tournament a costume party. It might include a theme, such as "Hollywood Bowl," with players having to wear movie-themed costumes; "Aloha Bowl," with Hawaiian-themed outfits; or "Space Bowl," with players donning outfits from favorite science-fiction films. Alternatively, allow every player to choose any costume he would like.
Give awards for a variety of categories to increase the fun. Categories could include the best, worst, ugliest or funniest costume. Players could even select the winner who most resembles her costume, such as the team joker who wears a clown costume.
Variations on the Game
Play a variation on standard bowling, such as 9 Pin No-Tap Bowling. In 9 Pin No-Tap, all players have a shot at winning, no matter what their skill level. On your first throw in the game, if you knock down nine pins, it still counts as a strike.
In another variation, allow two bowlers to play side by side as one entity. Each bowler plays their own frame, but only the best score of the two is counted. So if one bowler knocked down eight pins, and the other knocked down nine, only the nine is counted.