by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Once again, I am happy to wander into the past to mention one of the great pioneers of Minnesota bowling. Gus Young is well known to the folks at Gustavus Adolphus college in St. Peter, MN. He coached the Gustavus basketball men’s team from 1949 through 1957. This tenure included league championships from 1954 – 1956. In the last two years of that run the Gustavus team made it to the elite eight in the National NAIA tournament.
I am not sure of the exact year, but I believe in the early 60’s, Mr. Young opened Biltmore Lanes in Edina. It was located on West 50th (which also happened to be Highway 169 at the time) about one half mile west of Highway 100. The center was 32 Lanes and I believe it was the largest center in the area, until it was superceded by Southtown’s 48 lanes a few years later. The center was well kept and very modern, however we were still in the days of surface visible ball returns, and those hot telescores overhead where you melted a yellow lead pencil on a hot screen which was then projected above so everyone could see how they were doing. The center featured a day care center for children of ladies in morning leagues as well as a Pro Shop operated by bowling legend, Leo Mann. I joined my first bowling league, the Biltmore Major, in 1967.
I got to know Gus Young, and I was proud to serve as secretary of the “Friends of Gustavus” mixed couples bowling league in the early 1970’s. The League consisted of 24 teams, each with two men and two women, and I think it was the largest league in the Twin Cities, mainly because most bowling centers did not have 24 lanes. Gus was proud of that league and participated with his wife, Evelyn. I always maintain great memories of Mr. Young, especially this time of year. Gus Young left us on Halloween Day, October 31, 1977.