by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
“You can talk, you can bicker, you can talk, you can bicker, you can talk, talk, talk, talk, bicker, bicker, bicker – you can talk all you want to but it’s different than it was! No it ain’t but you gotta know the territory!” So said those guys on the train heading toward River City, Iowa where trouble was looming.
But we also have a River City – right here in Minnesota, mighty proud to say, I say I’m always mighty proud to say it. I consider that the hours I spend with a bowling ball in my hand are golden – Help me cultivate horse sense, and a cool head and a keen eye. Years ago the Joyner family had a fine bowling center in Monticello but it went the way of a number of centers and was later replaced by the “River City Extreme”. This beautiful center is incredibly modern, featuring 24 lanes for open and league bowling and several lanes tucked back behind walls to accommodate birthday parties and such. I paid a visit to compete in the Minnesota State Mixed Tournament. There were no issues during the tournament. Ms. Diana Cacas did a superlative job scheduling entrants and coordinating everything involved in handling the tournament.
The center is very different than most. First of all, the lanes were dressed between our three game squads. A machine named “Flex” came out on the approaches and dressed the lanes all by itself. No cords, no human being to guide it. It just went on its merry way and seemed to know where to go. And I might add that the pattern was very playable – a little more for the likes of Mike Skinner and Scot Pohl (both with 299s) but I managed to exceed my ballooned Texa Tonka average there also. Secondly, suppose you left something like a 2-4-5 but the rack knocked over the five pin by mistake. You cannot tell the desk to just add the five pin. You need to tell them to reset the 2-4-5 and they punch it into the computer screen at the front desk and it is done before you get back to your lane.
I made friends with John Foss a number of years ago when he managed Treasure Island’s bowling center and now he is lending his expertise to the River City Extreme. John was competing at South Point last weekend but the staff at River City did not let him down and the center was operating smoothly on all facets. Since I cannot finish an article without complaining about something – Alas, there was no Pac-Man machine in the arcade. Monticello, take the ride, it’s worth the trip.