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Westside Shelter Coalition Raises Over $20,000 at Bowling Tourney:

The Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition has raised over $20,000 in connection with Friday’s February 2 SuperBowl-A-Thon XI fundraising event, according to director Lisa Fisher, although the figure is only an estimate as the group will continue to receive pledge dollars through the end of this week.

This year’s installment of the annual event was a grand Santa Monica time for all involved.

Take a fundraising event for “an alliance of organizations, public agencies and faith communities committed to ending hunger and homelessness through service coordination, public education and advocacy.” Put it in a Pico Boulevard 1950s-era bowling alley. Add an advertised – but suspect – challenge between teams from the police and fire departments. Mix in teams from a wide array of nonprofits – 11 lanes of OPCC teams alone – and add a phalanx of teams from the hospitality industry, which hosted a special (what else?) hospitality suite upstairs at the bowling alley. And you have Santa Monica 2007 – Mayberry meets the 21st century.

First Federal Bank of California was this year’s title sponsor for the fourth consecutive year. Twenty-some teams bowled in each of four sessions (over 450 bowlers) from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at AMF Bay Shore Lanes across from the Santa Monica Civic to raise funds for Westside Shelter and Hunger Coalition, and a whole lot of people had a rollicking good time in the process.

Even before this reporter shouldered his way into Bay Shore Lanes, he had been emailed that Police Chief Tim Jackman had challenged Fire Chief Jim Horn, and that the Big Blue Bus was somehow involved.

But when I asked Chief Jackman, upon arriving, “What’s this I hear about a challenge being thrown down between you and Chief Horn?” he only said, “Well, I understand Chief Horn thinks he’s quite an awesome bowler, but where is he? I don’t know where this talk of a challenge with the fire department got started.” And then Leigh Seaton, fire department engineer and paramedic, who described himself as “captain” of the SMFD team, said, “I don’t know anything about any challenge.”

Talk of a challenge continued to be perpetrated by public announcer Donna Gentry, but it continued to be denied until Fire Chief Horn (108, SMFD1 team score 598) said to Chief Jackman (104, SMPD1 team score 561), “You beat us last year; we beat you this year; next year it’s for all the marbles.”

Meanwhile, civilian Mayor Bloom bowled a more than respectable 133 (and his “Mayor Bloom’s Team” a 511).

Final tournament results, and final fundraising results, await a March 14 awards breakfast at The Lobster.

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