SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) Earlier this week, we learned that Champlain Lanes is closing its doors after 55 years. A change in the entertainment landscape and a decline in business led brothers Michael and Randy Longe to this decision.
"It's been a little bittersweet. It's been tear-jerking a few times, there's no question," Randy Longe said.
Champlain Lanes has left behind quite a legacy filled with good tournaments and great times.
"My memories will always be of me having a good time," Special Olympics athlete, Joshua Beaupre said.
The bowling alley has hosted several Special Olympics Chittenden Bowl-A-Thons over the years.
"It's been a place where they can learn and learn to bowl and get to socialize and basically have a great time here," Special Olympics program Coordinator, David Bogdan said.
The Longe's have also organized the Annual Champlain International Tournament in the Spring. This year's 55th annual tournament will be the final event held there.
"We've had a tremendous amount of friends over the years," Longe said. "In-state, out-of-state, local and some fly in for the tournament up from Florida and Ohio to come up and bowl with their friends on the weekends."
Champlain Lanes has also played a key role in bowling's emergence as a High School varsity sport. South Burlington practices there and the bowling alley has hosted several state tournaments.
"These are just some fine young people," Longe said. "They all get along. They all support each other and I've found that very, very amazing."
The 55th Annual Champlain International Championship Tournament takes place from March 22nd through May 12th.