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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                     by Randy Ooney


My Nickel’s Worth                      by Randy Ooney



Last month, we bid farewell to Bongo Bob Johnson.  Bob was a favorite of mine, never shy to offer an opinion about this column in the mnbowling forum.  Bob was a member of the Edina Electric team of the Biltmore Major league in 1967.  I mention that year because it was the year that I began ABC sanctioned bowling in that league.  All of the bowlers in the league had great skill, and I had to learn from watching Bob and others to become a “scratch” bowler.  Bob was employed by Gus Young at the time at the Biltmore bowling center, then moved to Cedarvale when it opened south of the river.  He then spent some time managing Apple Place in Burnsville.  Bob was also a frequent contributor of Minneapolis bowling history, and I leaned on him on more than one occasion to support some of the rantings on these pages. 


Since I must now provide my own history, I noticed the passing of another bowling icon earlier this month.  Hopkins Lanes started as a six lane house, upstairs above Sheehan’s Liquor store on Excelsior Ave. (now Main Street) in Hopkins.  In the late fifties, a new center was built on the west side of Shady Oak Road with 16 lanes.  The center was owned by Tom and Vivian Sheehan, partnered with Earl Rodgers.  After a number of prosperous years, a new center was constructed across the street on the east side of Shady Oak Road.  The original 16 lanes were carried across the street and 8 more were added.  Of course, we now know this center as Tuttle’s, and it has been completely modernized to provide a great bowling venue for Hopkins.  Tom Sheehan suffered a stroke later in life, and his wife Vivian became his angel of mercy, caring for him for a number of years before his death.  This month, Vivian joined her husband at the age of 98.


Along this historical path, from the 16 lane house to the expanded 24 lanes, a classy ladies league existed, the “Raspberry Rockettes”.  One of the better teams in the league consisted of the team sponsored by Bursch’s Café.  Fine dining in Hopkins hosted by a great bowling sponsor, Arnie Bursch.  The Bursch’s team roster was Maggie Klinkhammer, Vivian Sheehan, Hope Burnikel, Katie Schutz, and Frieda Kakach.  I watched them bowl for years, and I still credit them for building my personal devotion for the game.  These ladies were better than average, posting frequent 500 sets and an occasional 600 series.  No match for the Kayla’s, Kris’s, and Deb’s of today, but pretty good for the late 50s and early 60’s.

If there is bowling in the hereafter, the ladies’ Bursch’s team is once again rolling on Thursdays. 




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