Jefferson Park Lawn Bowling Club’s men’s teams swept the Bowls USA National Championships in Florida this November. For the first time since 1945, the Jefferson men’s singles and pairs teams both took first place.
To compete in the National Championships, one must qualify by winning either Pairs or Singles in division playoffs. The Northwest Division, comprising a six-state territory, is one of seven divisions in the nation. The playoff winners then play each other in the National Championships to determine the National Champion. The title is awarded to both men and women in Pairs and Singles.
Northwest men, Jeff Covell and Todd Wagers won the title in Pairs and Andy Klubberud in Singles. All three men are members of Jefferson Park Lawn Bowling Club, which boasts the youngest membership in the United States. In the last five years, Jefferson Park has produced nine National Champions, more than any other club in the country.
Covell believes the success of Jefferson Park bowlers is the quality of the club’s two greens. High quality, fast-paced greens are typically the product of a warm, dry climate, but, through the dedication of a host of volunteers, Jefferson Park overcomes the handicap of the region’s rainy weather.
Andy Klubberud started lawn bowling in 2005 at Woodland Park and then moved to Jefferson Park in 2007. He said he was thrilled to be able to execute the winning shot in Florida.
“It was very satisfying to have built a practice plan, gone through it and be lucky enough to have succeeded,” he said. “That was fantastic.”
Wagers has been playing the sport for eight years. He said he originally didn’t have much interest but has now traveled to China, Holland and England for competitions. He agrees that Jefferson Park’s greens are top notch.
“Our volunteers put a lot of hours in working on the greens to keep them as true and fast as possible,” Wagers said. “The members make the club what it is, one of the best in the country. It’s an environment where you can be competitive or kick back and roll a few bowls.”
Wagers said he’d encourage anyone with a sports background or the knack for a good touch to visit Jefferson Park and give lawn bowling a try.
“The next national champion is probably down the street,” he said.