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Nationwide tour brings Texas youth to Milwaukie

Natalie Savant picked a local bowling establishment because its where professional Shannon OKeefe got her start


A young lady from San Antonio, Texas, Natalie Savant, is on a mission, trying to promote a sport she is passionate about — bowling.by: JOHN DENNY - Natalie Savants passion for the sport of bowling brought her to Milwaukie Bowl on Oct. 5, her 28th stop on a nationwide tour. Natalie said she chose Milwaukie Bowl as the place to bowl in Oregon because it is where her favorite professional bowler, Shannon OKeefe, learned to bowl.

In March, during spring break, Natalie began a tour of the lower 48 states, with the goal of bowling in all 48 — promoting the sport she loves, while raising money for a bowling scholarship.

She travels with her mother, Ginger Savant. Ginger is a reservations agent with Southwest Airlines, which helps — a lot — with the cost of travel.

Natalie, who is 9, made a stop at Milwaukie Bowl on Oct. 5. Oregon was her 28th state on her planned 48-state tour.

Natalie encourages young people to follow her on her tour on Facebook, www.facebook.com/NatsStrikingSummer.”

Natalie writes on Facebook: “I like music, singing, dancing and I LOVE to bowl! I started bowling league when I was 5 years old....

“Both of my parents, one of my grandfathers, one of my grandmothers bowl; so do my uncles....

“I don’t understand why more kids don’t bowl in league. There are so many new friends to be made and so much fun to be had. Maybe they just don’t know about it. I have already won over $300 in scholarships that I am going to use when I go to college at Texas A&M University.

“After talking about it with my family, we decided that this summer I would try to bowl in 48 states. (Mom says we will have to see how things pan out if we want to think about adding Hawaii and Alaska.)

“My dad said that maybe along the way I could drum up some sponsorship and raise some money for a good cause. I thought that was a super cool idea.... Then, I had a brilliant idea! A youth scholarship.... What better thing to do with any monies raised than help someone go to college?”

Natalie has a dream of someday making a career of bowling. She idolizes professional bowler Shannon O’Keefe. O’Keefe first learned to bowl at Milwaukie Bowl, and that is why Natalie elected a stop at Milwaukie Bowl.

“I met Shannon O’Keefe in Reno, Nevada,” Natalie says. “She’s so nice, and she’s an awesome bowler! Someday I want to be just like her. I want to be a pro bowler and on Team USA.”

Natalie Savant is off to a pretty good start. Last year she placed first in singles for Division 10 (averages 89 and below) at the Texas State USBC Youth Championships. She averaged 124, 45 pins over her then 79-pin average, recording a personal best series of 371.

by: JOHN DENNY - San Antonio 9-year-old Natalie Savant (second from left) bowled with (left to right) Meygan Docker, Morgan Docker and Lauren Hector during her trip to Oregon. The Texas youth is on a bowling tour of the 48 contiguous states.She has a high game of 153. While bowling with Junior League bowlers at Milwaukie Bowl, she rolled games of 100, 107 and 86.

What did Natalie think of Milwaukie Bowl?

“It’s the littlest lanes I’ve ever bowled at, only 16 lanes,” she said. “But it’s got real wood lanes, which is really cool.”

Ginger Savant noted that most bowling establishments today have synthetic lanes, “because they are easier to maintain.”

Before coming to Oregon, Natalie Googled sites to see in the state and, at her insistence, the family’s first stop was Voodoo Doughnut.

“The doughnuts are humungous, and there are so many different ones,” Natalie said. “We only got to get four. I got maple-bacon. It was really good!”

The family planned a stop at Multnomah Falls after Natalie’s bowling at Milwaukie Bowl.

Natalie, who says her favorite subject in fourth grade is math, says her favorite stop on the tour through the visit to Oregon was Nashville, Tenn.

“I went to the Hermitage,” she says. “It’s the home of Andrew Jackson. It was really interesting to learn how different it was back then. There were slaves, and they didn’t get to live in the same house....”

Natalie says that for people considering a stop in Texas, the place to visit is Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels.

“It’s a water park and it’s an awesome place!” she says.

So why is Natalie so passionate about bowling?

“I like that anybody can do it,” she says. “You get to meet a lot of people. And it’s awesome!”

Ginger Savant wanted to make clear that Natalie is a good student as well as a bowler.

“She keeps very busy,” Ginger said. “At school, she’s in choir and on student council. Bowling is her only sport, but she’s a Girl Scout.”




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