by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
The Island is Calling
Thirty seven years ago, as tricky Dick Nixon was beginning his second term as President, I was a young customer service representative at an electrical distributor, assigned to coordinating huge shipments of conduit, wire, and fittings to the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating station being built for Northern States Power by L. K. Comstock Construction. It was the first time I had heard of Prairie Island or Welch, Minnesota. In 1984, the Mdewakanton Dakota nation of Native Americans, who had settled many years before at Prairie Island, opened a small Bingo hall near the mighty power plant. Prosperity loomed on the horizon, and soon the bingo hall grew into a full scale casino, and later a hotel was added and the complex was aptly named Treasure Island. Flocks of Twin Cities’ fun seekers made the 40-50 mile trek through Pine Bend and Hastings to taste the fun and entertainment of Treasure Island. But something was missing. There‘s a dozen or more casinos scattered around the land of 10,000 lakes, but Treasure Island has something now that the others don’t have. The Island Xtreme Bowling Center.
The Island Xtreme is state of the art, beautifully designed and fully equipped with Brunswick pinsetting and scoring technology. There is a comfortable lounge area, a well stocked and well staffed bar and snack bar, as well as a huge game room for kids of all ages. I can’t keep up with the game room technology. The high score target on skee-ball is now 10,000!! In my day it was 50. There were a lot of goodies hanging from the ceiling over the lanes. I’m not sure what they all were, but it looked like tools for interesting Cosmic Bowling on Saturday nights. Alas, there was no Pac-Man machine, but we greybeards of the Pac-man generation had other things on our minds as the Midwest Senior Classic made its January tour stop at the Island Xtreme.
Our host was the grand young man of Minnesota bowling, Dave Langer, (aka Lumpy, the Lumpster, El Lumpo, Lumperiffic, and This is Dave.) I never knew how he acquired the nickname. When I hear Lumpy, I think of Wally Cleaver’s friend Clarence Rutherford, or if you are too young to remember him, how about Tim Herron of the PGA. Dave resembles neither of these oafs, and in spite of all the aforementioned goodies that the Island Xtreme offers, Dave’s smiling face is by far the center’s biggest asset. Fifty Five players showed up to compete, the largest field to date this season. There were quite a few new faces, including Twin Cities legends John Eiss and Dave (Hoppo) Hoppenrath. There were also more than a few legends looking in on the action, including Bob Hanson and Lisa Noor. Amazing how slot machines, black jack tables and a buffet can attract crowds.
The scoring condition was Xtremely fair, Dave was a great host, and Doc Thies did his usual fine job with the assistance of Roni White and Marisa Abrams. Rob Downer, a young rookie on the MSC tour, was outstanding all day and captured his first MSC title by defeating veteran Jim Lindquist 278-267 in the title match. Not bad for a couple of old guys who had already logged 8 - 10 matches that day. Thanks to everyone for providing a great venue on a snowy Sunday. Tom Corbett (Who is actually an inch taller than Lumpy now), and the CBA have something to look forward to in March. But don’t lose your edge! It doesn’t get any easier when you graduate to the MSC. The Island is calling!