President Lee defends pumpkin bowling champion title

Students swarmed in Johnson Commons Thurs., Oct. 24. for Harvestfest, an annual event drawing spectators and competitors for pumpkin bowling. The man to beat was President of the university, Douglas Lee. 

Lee has proved victorious for the past seven years of pumpkin bowling, not including last year when he was beat by junior political science major Ryan Williams. Lee was able to reclaim his title this year as champion after beating sophomore Luke Diel in quadruple overtime. 

“I brought my A-game,” Lee said. “I think this event is just part of the spirit of the university, the comradery, the fun and how often do you get to pumpkin bowl in your life? For me, it’s seven times.”

Other participants included senior nursing major Nicolas Burgess and professor of ethics and constitutional law, Larry Stratton.

The event was set up by the department of communication with heavy involvement and preparation done by those involved with the campus radio station, WCYJ-FM. 

Senior electronic media major and general manager for WCYJ, Hugh O’neil was there to witness and ensure the event ran smoothly. 

“This is just a fun way to bring people together,” O’neil said. “It’s a unique opportunity for students, professors and even the president to get together in a less formal and relaxed setting.”

Lee said he especially enjoys the event because he loves to be with the students. 

“I so respect the people that you are and the great hope of the future that you carry with you,” said Lee. “It’s my opportunity to engage and enjoy the time we all get to spend here at Waynesburg before you go on to great things.”

Students involved with WCYJ-FM worked together the week leading up to the event to prepare. Pumpkins were painted and decorated earlier in the week and a tournament bracket was set up for those registered to participate. 

“This year I tried to add some more structure,” O’neil said.

As each round of two players competed, success was based off of the number of pins they knocked down with each bowl. If players tied, they would have to move a distance back up the hill adjacent to Johnson Commons.

“We ended up with bowlers bowling some pretty far distances,” O’neil said. 

The competition was set up on a downhill slope allowing for pumpkins to roll with speed and ease. The grassy bowling lane lead to pins arranged along the brick wall surrounding Johnson Commons. A variety of hand-painted pumpkins smashed and shattered against the wall as bowlers took their shots. 

Spectators, including students and faculty, surrounded the event taking photos, chatting with one another and placing their bets on who the winner would be. 

Lee said he would encourage students and faculty to continue to attend in years to come because, “it’s a lot of fun to be a part of this community and look for opportunities to participate in these kinds of events.”