Have you ever heard – “The family that plays together stays together?” The Risner and extended families have taken that to an extreme. For many years their family has bowled on New Years Day. The tradition began in Jackson, Ohio before the building, where the family bowled, was turned into a restaurant. Now they bowl at Sunset Lanes in Portsmouth.
“We are a close family, a bunch of us,” Darrell Risner, 81 years young, said. “We’ve done this every New Year’s Day for 30-some years. We just meet every New Year’s day at this bowling alley.”
Newly-elected Scioto County Engineer Darren LeBrun has a dubious honor at the event.
“He is the stats keeper,” Risner said. ‘He’s got the stats from way back. He’s got the handicaps figured out and a rotating trophy.”
Risner said the family reserves pretty much the entire lineup of Sunset’s lanes from 1-4 p.m. “Normally they would be closed, but they open up for us. Then they open up at 4 o’clock for the general public,” Risner said.
Risner said the age range is large.
“We’ve got kids six years old and then we’ve got my brother Harold who is 85 years old,” Rsiner said. “That’s (Ohio State Highway Patrol Lieutenant) Karla’s (Taulbee) dad. We’ve got old people teamed up with young people.”
“It is fun,” Risner said. “It keeps the family together. We get to socialize. We bowl and then we finish it up down at McDonald’s. We call them and tell them we’re coming down, and then, after that they all take off.”
Family members come from diverse places such as Circleville, Ohio; Pickerington, Ohio; St. Albans, West Virginia and Chicago, Illinois. Of the eight Risner siblings, seven are retired school teachers, combined experience in excess of 250 years in that profession, representing Minford, South Webster, New Boston, Portsmouth West, and Eastern in Pike County.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.