Can't Keep A Good Bowler Down

Monmouth's Grant Buehler first picked up a bowling ball 20 years ago. It changed his life forever. Now he's hoping to change the lives of others through the game he loves.

Posted: Mar 15, 2021 7:38 PM
Updated: May 3, 2021 11:30 AM

SALEM, Ore. -- Grant Buehler doesn't need the practice.

"When I come bowl, it's a piece of cake," Buehler says.

But preparation is crucial. Buehler goes through a tedious process just to get ready for a game. 

Buehler's been in a wheelchair for most of his life. He wraps a bungee cord around his feet so he doesn't fall when he bowls. He also has a metal ring that attaches to his wheelchair which holds the bowling ball in place as he approaches the line. Not mention Buehler wears multiple gloves and sleeves so he doesn't chafe his arms each time he plays. 

Buehler has Spinda Biffida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don't form properly.

“When I was born I had a hole in my skin," Buheler says. "The spine and tailbone weren’t connected.”

Buehler has undergone more than 20 surgeries. 

Yet, the moment he arrives at the lanes at The Rec in Salem, Buehler is focused on a different number. 

“This is the house that I bowled my highest game ever with a 237," Buehler says. “I have actually won two tournaments in California and back in 2017 I won a Las Vegas tournament.”

Buehler wants to return to championship form.

He plans to compete in the American Wheelchair Bowling Association's (AWBA) national tournament in Las Vegas in December. 

Nancy Herron is the secretary of the league Buehler plays in at The Rec on Tuesday's and Thursday's in Salem. Herron says Buehler is an inspiration.

“That is so fun to follow and great to know someone from our community is out there doing those kinds of things,” Herron says.

In bowling, numbers count.

For Grant, being one of a kind is as good as a gutter ball. 

“The AWBA is dwindling throughout the country," Buehler says. "I’m one of the ones trying to keep them up.”

Buehler's main goal is to open up the sport to others going through similar obstacles.

“I just want people to see whether you have limitations or not, you can still bowl, Buehler says. "Even if I inspire one person, I think I’ve done my job.”

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