Blind bowlers participate in Charles E. Roane Invitational in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The competition and the camaraderie are why they enjoy the game.

Each year, bowlers look forward to the Charles E. Roane Invitational at Creekside Lanes in Winston-Salem.

Many of these bowlers can’t see the pins.

“There's no difference in the way you bowl and the way we bowl except we just need a little assistance making sure we go straight ahead,” Roderick Wilson said.

Wilson is the president of the Forsyth Blind Bowlers, one of the groups that participates in the annual tournament.

Wilson started bowling about 10 years ago after being inspired by how much his wife enjoyed the sport.

For Wilson, bowling gave him the athletic competition he had prior to losing his sight at 18.

The league includes blind, low vision and sighted bowlers.

Howard Patterson and Tonya Patterson are husband and wife and have been bowling for more than 30 years.

Howard is blind and Tonya has low vision.

“I just use my vast imagination,” Howard said. “I picture in my mind where it's at. Sometimes I get spares, sometimes I don't.”

“I've been bowling since 1983,” Tonya said. “I bowl pretty good when I have a good day.”

Their daughter, Stephanie Davis, also bowls in the league.

She has low vision and is inspired by seeing her parents remain active.

“Nothing is off limits. No, we go. You would think we were sighted,” she said.

The tournament attracts blind, low vision, and sighted bowlers from across the Carolinas and parts of Virginia.

Charles E. Roane was the founder of the Forsyth Blind Bowlers.

The league members are preparing for a national tournament in Las Vegas in May.