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home : community : community news February 5, 2016

Mary Kinnunen, left, of Big Brothers Big Sisters, sports her 1970s Shirley Partridge costume. Also pictured is Jo Waltenberg, branch manager of Associated Bank. They are standing next to the Bowl for Kids’ Sake display in the bank’s lobby. (Submitted photo)
Mary Kinnunen, left, of Big Brothers Big Sisters, sports her 1970s Shirley Partridge costume. Also pictured is Jo Waltenberg, branch manager of Associated Bank. They are standing next to the Bowl for Kids’ Sake display in the bank’s lobby. (Submitted photo)
3/21/2014 7:30:00 AM
Bowl for Kids' Sake event to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Northwoods

Kayla Breese
Feature Writer

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin will hold a Bowl for Kids' Sake event at Hodag Lanes starting at 6 p.m. April 4.

"It may surprise people to know that the Bowl for Kids' Sake events are not about bowling," Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Northwoods Development and Marketing Coordinator Mary Kinnunen said. "They are thank-you parties and this year's theme is 'A Bowl Through TV Land' [and] costumes are encouraged."

Kinnunen will be dressed up in lime green as Shirley Partridge.

"One fun thing about Bowl for Kids' Sake is the costume contest, and with 'A Bowl Through TV Land' theme, you know there will be some good ones," Kinnunen said. "When I found this Shirley Partridge-style 1970s pantsuit at a resale shop, my husband reminded me we have an old tambourine in one of the boxes in the basement."

There will be prizes, music, games and, of course, bowling.

There will be two bowling rounds and the event will take approximately two hours.

People don't have to be good at bowling to participate. To register a team, log on to, click on the Bowl for Kids' Sake tab, register your team and email your donation page to anyone on your email list or Facebook page. Mail-in registration forms are also available at the Rhinelander City Hall, the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce and the Rhinelander District Library.

Cost for team registration is $100. Teams must consist of three to five players. The team captain must put down $25 to reserve a lane, and that would go toward the total cost.

Each bowler is asked to raise at least $100 to participate in the event. They can accomplish that through the BBBS website or by collecting pledges in person. The form can be found online at the same site or a form can be emailed or faxed.

"You can ask 10 friends to pitch in $10 and boom you're there," Kinnunen said.

Teams who raise $1,000 (Matchmaker Team) get their photo taken and framed, $100 restaurant gift certificate and $10 per team member to Action City.

Teams who raise $1,500 (VIP Team) get everything the Matchmaker Team gets plus a personal team waiter while you bowl plus special goodies.

Individuals who raise $100 will receive a Bowl for Kid's Sake T-shirt, those who raise $200 will receive a hooded sweatshirt, those who raise $250 will get the T-shirt and hooded sweatshirt, those who raise $300 will receive the previously mentioned items plus an entry into the grand prize drawing (each additional $50 earns another chance at the grand prize). Those who raise $500 will earn everything previously mentioned as well as a $50 grocery store gift card. Those who raise $1,000 will receive everything previously mentioned plus a free massage.

Grand prizes are a pair of four-day Country Fest or Rock Fest tickets, valued at $310, donated by Country Fest and Rock Fest.

There will also be prizes for the best retro TV costume. Prizes will include pool parties, computer games, restaurant and grocery store gift certificates, river tubing and planetarium passes, and a watercolor print of a jumping musky.

"Another thing, to think that you are going to be on the first team ever for the first Big Brothers Big Sisters is really pretty cool," Kinnunen said.

Rhinelander's own musician songwriter, Scott Kirby (also known as DJ Skirby), will be playing various classic TV show theme songs throughout the event.

"All the money we raise stays right here in the Northwoods and the more money we raise means we can match more Big Brothers and Big Sisters with more Little Brothers and Little Sisters," Kinnunen said.

Associated Bank was the first team to sign up. They have five bowlers, but the entire branch is involved in getting pledges.

"I find that their program [Big Brothers Big Sisters] really helps with children," said Jo Waltenberg, branch manager of Associated Bank. "They need mentors, especially nowadays in rural communities where there's not a lot to do. A mentor can be a good role model and share with them experiences and do things with them (that), helps make them stronger."

Waltenberg has participated in Bowl for Kids' Sake with other branches of Associated Bank, so she was thrilled that one would be happening in Rhinelander.

"Bowl for Kids' Sake is an excellent fundraiser," she said. "It's something that's fun and gets the entire community involved rather than just asking for money; there's activities they can do to kind of get out."

It costs an average of $1,000 a year to match one Little and Big, run background checks and screen the volunteers.

"We are excited to bring these programs to Rhinelander but to make these services a reality we need strong community support," Kinnunen said.

BBBS is 100 percent community funded.

Interested sponsors and bowlers can contact Kinnunen at (715) 820-2633 or email her at

Kayla Breese may be reached at

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