by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
I promised to cover U through Z awhile ago and I didn’t forget. Now that High School and College basketball has come to an end, and the NBA season was over here in Minnesota back in 2006, our bowling leagues should be wrapping up in a week or two, so it’s time to finish my alphabet of bowling centers. I apologize to those in St. Paul, Rochester, Owatonna, Wyoming, and others. I haven’t been to every bowling center in the state, however I did bowl in a four lane center once in Walker, Minnesota, and a one lane rec room at Minnesong Acres in Minong, Wisconsin.
White Bear Bowl just North of St. Paul is an older establishment that has kept up with the times. They have hosted many tournaments recently, including an upcoming MSC. A well stocked Pro Shop operated by Ken Holets is an asset to the bowling community. Ken is a great MSC bowler, understands the game, and knows equipment and what it will do. I have crossed with Ken in a couple of MSC’s and always seem to have a little more success just watching him destroy the pins. A little further South on Robert Street sits West Side Lanes, another friendly older center that has added the amenities to keep scoring on the high end and attract tournaments and high average bowlers.
Xtreme does not pass the spellcheck but it is familiar to Twin Cities Bowlers. The 24 lanes at Treasure Island are an Xtremely pleasurable experience. Great snack bar, huge game room, nice lounge area, and slot machines for your spouse to win back the money you lost bowling. Take away those slots and you have another Xtreme experience Northwest of the Twin Cities in Monticello. Mark Parnell and friends opened this center a few years ago. Great for birthday parties for kids, they actually have 4 lanes tucked away in a special room, away from the main 24. Kind of like the place in Walker, Minnesota, except the Monticello Xtreme has automatic pinsetters. In Walker, you had to stop bowling if the phone rang.
Earlier I mentioned Brunswick Zones in Blaine and Brooklyn Park, but I held the Eden Prairie Zone back until I got to Z. The Brunswick Zone in Eden Prairie was a trailblazer for the many Brunswick centers that exist today. The 40 Lanes just south of Eden Prairie Center opened in the early nineties. They offered many hours of smoke free bowling but relaxed the rules for tournaments and some evening leagues. Then a few years ago Minnesota came along and said “No Smoking”. The Zone was the pioneer. Even though the newer Zones have bigger game rooms and a few more lanes, the Eden Prairie Zone was well ahead of its time. And as I mentioned on these pages around Groundhog Day, Smilin’ Carl Fietek’s On Track Pro Shop is one of the best around. Carl is one of Minnesota’s best bowlers, a Hall of Famer, a great guy, and can help bowlers of all levels improve their game.
Speaking of great guys, I just want to congratulate a good friend, Daron Hansen on bowling his 25th 800 series last week! It is not often that a person of Daron’s girth can roll three consecutive games higher than his weight. Congratulations Drock!!