Twin Falls kid raising money for national bowling competition in July | Local

TWIN FALLS — Walking over to his bag, Samuel Combs digs through toe pads, sandpaper and sweat rags, looking for the right piece of equipment.

“If your bag is not a mess then you aren’t bowling correctly,” the 15-year-old joked.

The Twin Falls native who devotes two to three hours a day to the sport has accomplished a lot in the past year.

Samuel was the only freshman on the first place Northern Invitational Canyon Ridge varsity bowling team and played 16 games with a score over 200. In July, he will be traveling to Lansing, Michigan, to compete at the Junior Gold Bowling Tournament, a competition he had to qualify for.

For his family, his achievements are only part of the story. Bowling changed his life.

His sister Trisha Combs said he is a completely different kid.

“It has given him encouragement to get out of his bubble and meet new friends,” she said. “I never would have guessed this a year ago.”

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Samuel has autism, a condition that leads to challenges with social skills and communication. Last year he was dealing with anger issues and social anxiety. That all changed when he joined the Canyon Ridge team and then, shortly after, the Treasure Valley Tournament group. The Magic Valley doesn’t have a bowling tournament group.

His mother, Sharlena Combs, said Samuel had no friends before joining the teams.

“The friends I had were doing bad stuff,” he said.

The bowling community has welcomed him with open arms, offering advice and wisdom.

“The friends you make are amazing,” he said.

The Combs family have always been into bowling. Samuel’s mother, however, mom was not sure if he would stick with it.

“I thought he might bail and he proved me very wrong,” she said. “He has exceeded every goal.”

Now his dream is to make bowling his life. He plans to meet with professional bowlers at the competition in July to learn tricks of the trade.

Bowling isnt a cheap sport, with balls reaching $300 and shoes costing $130. Samuel has raised $3,000 in scholarships and hopes to reach $6,000 before the tournament date.

At 1 pm June 11, the family will hosting a Bowl-a-thon at the Bowladrome to raise money.

Samuel encourages everyone, even first-timers, to try the sport at least once.

“Try not to think,” he said. “If you think, you get in your head — and the moment you do, things go wonky.”

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