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VOL 18.5

PUBLISHER & EDITOR Scott Frager Skype: scottfrager



Sign of the times

The good life of a working reporter

By Scott Frager

Herbert Bickel, his adventures, and his Bowlingdigital. By Fred Groh

8 SHORTS Flooring a customer...a convincing clinic...ship ahoy... and peoplewatching






29 PROFILE In Lyons’ den Another visionary joins the industry.

ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Designworks (818) 735-9424

FOUNDER Allen Crown (1933-2002)

By Gregory Keer

10 CENTER STAGE You can take the boy out of New York, but –

32 OFF THE CLOCK Horses of a different color And that’s not all that’s different about them.

14 COMPASS POINTS A league of sensible men (and women)



Dillingham, Alaska has no bowling center, but what’s that got to do with having a bowling league?

1953 Notice anything odd about this particular bowling night?


36 Showcase 38 Datebook

Blotting for oil The mystery of a dirty bowling towel, and how it started a business

39 Classifieds




May 2010

13245 Riverside Dr., Suite 501 Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 (818) 789-2695(BOWL) Fax (818) 789-2812

HOTLINE: 888-424-2695 SUBSCRIPTION RATES: One copy of International Bowling Industry is sent free to every bowling center, independently owned pro shop and collegiate bowling center in the U.S., and every military bowling center and pro shop worldwide. Publisher reserves the right to provide free subscriptions to those individuals who meet publication qualifications. Additional subscriptions may be purchased for delivery in the U.S. for $50 per year. Subscriptions for Canada and Mexico are $65 per year, all other foreign subscriptions are $80 per year. All foreign subscriptions should be paid in U.S. funds using International Money Orders. POSTMASTER: Please send new as well as old address to International Bowling Industry, 13245 Riverside Drive, Suite 501, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 USA. If possible, please furnish address mailing label. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright 2010, B2B Media, Inc. No part of this magazine may be reprinted without the publisher’s permission.



Sign of the times There is the light at the end of a tunnel, and there is the light cast by bowling street signs that grace the facades, roofs and frontage roads of our centers. I was thinking about both kinds of light the other day while I was previewing another slew of street sign photos sent for posting on our website, (see below). We’re running a slide show on the site where you can experience more than four-dozen signs (so far) in all their beauty, novelty and humor. Signs of every shape and size that blink, flicker and smile at passersby on adjacent streets, roads and highways. I’m especially drawn to the signs from years ago. Once high-fashion, they’re now high nostalgia, a retro feeling, a recalling of bygone days. Whether those days were really ideal or simply romanticized fancies fueled by our imaginations, who can look at a retro bowling sign hanging above a center entrance and not think “Americana”? “Air conditioned,” say some of them, or “automatic scoring inside.” Both are dead giveaways of a center’s birth era. And what’s a bowling sign without a pin? How many ways have designers found to get ball and pin together in a street sign? It’s endlessly fascinating. It’s also fun to see how designs have changed through the years. We haven’t arranged our slide show in chronological order, but you will find signs of every style trend. Some with starbursts, triangles or wings look like the 1950s to me. Others have a high-tech appearance that says 21st century. Still others are plain and unadorned. Some signs come from historic centers, like the original Mid-City Lanes (“Home of Rock ’n’ Bowl”) and 66 Bowl, located on that famous highway. Some offer friendly advice, like “Stay out of the gutter” (Lucky Strike). One sign features a pin crashing out through the exterior wall. We even have some signs now immortalized in the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame. It was while I was looking over another batch of signs to add to our slide show that the phrase “light at the end of the tunnel” popped to mind. I thought, “That’s just what these signs have been for many years for many people across America. A place to come to, to be with neighbors and friends, to take some time out from the daily grind for laughs, camaraderie and sport.” What do our signs say as a group? Our industry lights are on and we’ve rolled out the welcome mat. . – SCOTT FRAGER, PUBLISHER AND EDITOR

THIS MONTH AT Log on to www.BowlingIndustry. com and add your sign to our collection. You also earn a chance to win an MLB jersey.



May 2010


How to Floor a Customer Dean Torvick always hoped one of his kids would get married in his bowling center, Concordia Lanes in New Ulm, MN. And when daughter Joeleen decided to tie the knot, there was no rental room around that could accommodate 300 or 400 people. So Torvick took matters onto his own lanes. Installing a floor over his bowlers’ area, approaches and lanes begins by removing the capping. That leaves a gap of 1/8 inch between the capping support boards and the lanes. Torvick walked around his local Home Depot and decided quarter-inch fiberglass insulation would compact to the thickness he needed to fill the gap and protect the lanes at the same time. On top of the insulation, he laid half-inch OSB board. Over that, he put down Event Deck portable flooring. That’s it, except for decorations and collapsible tables that cover the ball returns and are used for beverages, hors d’oeuvres and the like. Assembling the floor for all 16 lanes in the house takes four people

eight hours. Eight of the lanes remain set up for events all summer. Torvick reports he is typically hosting events for 250-350, but he says he could accommodate 500. If he used his concourse as well, he could fit in even more. The floor has made quite an improvement in Torvick’s summers compared to when Joeleen wasn’t married. From May through August of this year, only two weekends remain to be booked. “A summer Saturday, if we were lucky, used to make $500,” he says. “Now it’s anywhere between $3,000 and $6,000.”

Dean and Joeleen

PEOPLEWATCHING Nancy Suprenant retired in April after 36 years as NAIR executive secretary. Serving under 17 presidents during her tenure, her connection with the organization goes back to preliminary meetings before NAIR was formally launched in 1972.

coordinator for the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup and media director for PWBA. Among many other honors, Rypcinski won Writer of the Year five times from the National Women Bowling Writers Association.

Nancy Suprenant

Lydia Rypcinski 8


IBI contributing writer Lydia Rypcinski has been named for this year’s Luby Hall of Fame Award of the Bowling Writers Association of America. Rypcinski was cited for 30 outstanding years in journalism that have seen her work in the Chicago SunTimes, Associated Press and Asian Games News Service. She has been media

May 2010

John Berglund was tagged for BWAA’s Alberta Crowe Meritorious Service Award, honoring his off-lanes dedication to the sport. As BPAA executive director 20022009, Berglund emerged as a major industry catalyst, notably in the establishing of the International Bowling Campus. He was E.D. of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association in the 1980s and of the Minnesota BPA, 1998-2002.

John Berglund




Pretty hard to think of a better comeon: improve your score or the clinic costs you nothing; otherwise it’s $10 a head, including the bowling. A legitimate inducement, too, since it came from Mike Leong, who used to run a pro shop at Serra Bowl in Palo Alto, CA, and now manages the place. As the pro shop man 20 years ago, Leong guaranteed to get any player up to 180 or better in six weeks. Nobody asked him for a refund back in the day. At

Not too bounding, we hope, since that might affect ball trajectory. Still, how many cruise ships have full-size regulation lanes aboard? Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Gem, a two-year-old hosting 2,400 cruisers, becomes the line’s Bermuda sailor out of New York, starting May next year.

his two-day clinic recently, when bowlers paid only afterward and only if they were satisfied, no one stiffed him. Leong ran the clinic from 6 to 8:30 p.m. when he had plenty of lanes available, and estimates the turnout at 48. He watched each bowler, then stepped in with 5-10 minutes of tips at a time; he worked with each bowler at least five times. It tallied up to about three-quarters of an hour of expert instruction that didn’t cost the player a cent unless the player was satisfied that his game was better at the end of it. Leong did have one tough customer. A seven-year-old boy who couldn’t get his hand into the ball. He did improve at keeping the ball on the lane, though.

Rainbow Lanes Columbus, OH (48 Lanes) We congratulate Wayne Webb and Mike Irwin on their purchase of this fine center and thank Bob McCracken and Rick Kennedy for trusting us to handle the sale. We wish them all the best in the future.

Bowling’s Only Full-Service Brokers, Appraisers & Financial Advisors 28200 Southfield Rd., Southfield, MI 48076

(800) 222 • 9131 Check out our current listings at


May 2010






May 2010

Maybe the motto here is, “You can take the boy out of New York but you can’t take...”–well, you know. That’s because the home of MLB free agent Johnny Damon, where these two lanes are installed, is quite a


way south of New York, in Windemere, FL. And because Damon signed a four-year, $52 million pact with the Yankees in 2005, which we’d bet made his time with the New York club unforgettable. Note the Yankee Stadium sign on the wall behind the couch (below right). The installation was by United Bowling and included a lighting package from The Lighting Store that can’t be done justice by a photograph. Non-bowling folk who had a hand were Vitale Studio (St. Petersburg, FL), who did the walls, and Aztec Scenic Design (Maitland, FL), who did the clown. The three-dimensional face projects outward from the wall about three feet. ❖


May 2010




SENSIBLE MEN (AND WOMEN) Well, the winters are long.




May 2010


n inspired idea, some would say. Bill Darling and his friends wanted a name for their group, and it just popped into his head. “The Dillingham Bowling League.” But seeing as how the town of Dillingham has no bowling center, it may have been a tad of the home brew talking. Darling, his friend Gorden Isaacs, and a dozen or so other residents of Dillingham were meeting at the time to taste-test their home-brewed beers. Dillingham is an Alaskan hamlet (population 2,400) on Nushagak Bay, which flows into Bristol Bay, which joins the Bering Sea. There are no roads going out of town. Roads in town, but they don’t go anywhere else.


Brewskis in 60 Seconds:

The Lesson, That Is “For the most part,” says home brewer Gorden Isaacs, “you buy the components already started: the malt, which is made out of barley; the malt, [bought] as a syrup; the hops, which are green flowers off a vine; the yeast. You boil it and mix different varieties of malt and hops and yeast for various flavors. “A home brewer typically does a 5gallon batch. You put it in a glass 5gallon jug, like you get bottled water in. A little device on top called an airlock lets air out but doesn’t let any in, so no bacteria can get in. You have to be very careful about cleanliness so you don’t contaminate it with any bacteria. “You put it in the bottle and when it gets down to the right temperature, you add some yeast and it goes to work for a week or two. It bubbles away and converts the sugars in the malt to alcohol. After a week or two it becomes beer. Then you let it age or you can put it in a keg, which is much easier but takes a little more equipment. Typically it’s not real good right after it’s done fermenting; if you age it for a month or two, the flavor matures. “I tend towards the amber beers–not terribly strong. Once the alcohol gets to a certain level, it kills the yeast; so there’s a limit as to how [strong] you can naturally brew the beer–about 6% alcohol, I believe. Some strains of yeast can stand a little higher alcohol level, but it’s very similar to commercially purchased beer. It’s kind of fun to experiment with the different styles and flavors.”



May 2010

Dillingham in summer mood. No movie theater, no mall, no fast food and no bowling. The downtown is two blocks. Nearby villages are even skimpier. “Most don’t have much infrastructure at all, like grocery stores,” says Isaacs as his rocking chair squeaks when we reach him at his building supply store in Dillingham. “Some of them have a small general store but not all of them even have that. A lot of villages [have] between 50 and 300 people.” When you want to cover the miles or get something into or out of Dillingham, you fly, like the 325 miles between Dillingham and the closest big city, Anchorage. The nearest major hospital is there, although Dillingham has a six-bed facility and villages have clinics. Flying, Isaacs says, is “a way of life here. You want to go over to the next village, you jump in an air taxi. There are several one- or two-person businesses, that’s all they do–fly people back and forth.” No wonder a case of Bud is $42. “We’re very remote. Having a beer now and then is kind of expensive. So in the wintertime, when people have time, they like to [work at] hobbies, and a good indoor hobby is to brew up a batch of home brew.” The winters are, of course, on the long side. Also frigid. All told, you have to be tough to live here. And when the members of the Dillingham Bowling League adopted rules for their club, they didn’t pull punches. Rule 1: All brewers will go by the middle name of Bob at meetings. (“How you been, Janet Bob...?”) Rule 2. Deciding it would be perfectly permissible to discriminate at meetings, the League adopted this one to make sure they would: Members will not own a dog who is a member of the Communist Party. Rule 3: Socially redeeming actions are not allowed at official meetings. Rule 4, a corollary: Nothing official can happen at official meetings. Rule 5: You must like home brew or those who do.

COMPASS POINTS Rule 6. It seems word got around that League members were not people to mess with, since Rule 6 is “probably what kept bowling alleys out of Dillingham all these years,” according to Darling, one tough hombre. “Yeah, I was pretty bad. But no members of [IBI] ever called and complained. Amazing!” The League was really hardnosed about Rule 6, he says: Members are not allowed to bowl in Dillingham. For their ramrod obedience to the mandates and the quality of their brews, members have been known to depart the meetings with trophies. The mementoes “kept getting worse as the years went by,” Darling brags, until one year in the middle of a contest they noticed there weren’t any trophies at all. “I went downstairs, found small pieces of old used plywood and a Magic Marker and some clear plastic like you wrap houses in or put down for drop cloths. Cut long strips for the ribbon, put that at the bottom. Magic Markered the name of the person who got it and what category it was in—[e.g.,] First Place Amber. And they had a piece of used plywood to put on their wall.” Sadly, club members were not as successful in getting hold of genuine acetate bowling shirts. Meetings were therefore rather informal. On the other hand, the league was pretty good at PR. Dillingham has the only radio station in a radius of 350 miles and a local announcer was more than obliging. That may have been connected with the fact that he was one of the judges of the tasting contests. “Everybody that knew about the home brew club begged to be judges,” Darling swears. “We’d probably get four or five people in the community that knew about us or wanted to know about us, and allowed them to judge.” The announcer would be guaranteed to blurb a meeting of the Dillingham Bowling League on Friday at 7:30. He wouldn’t say where the meeting was, but after all, Isaacs made some signs that he stuck out front when meetings were due: “Bowling League Tonight.” With an arrow. It’s been 15 years since Darling lived in Dillingham. These days he runs a technology consulting business for school districts and lives in Eagle River, an Anchorage suburb. Gorden Isaacs is still in Dillingham, though, running his store, drilling water wells, doing some construction. And while the Dillingham Bowling League has had its downs in recent years, it’s bounding back on a “totally intermittent basis,” Isaacs states. “Last spring we had a meeting and we’re looking forward to having a few this winter.” It’s a story that just goes to show how long Alaskan winters are. Or maybe it goes to show that the best part of bowling in Alaska is the beer. ❖

Know a story about offbeat bowling? Share it on IBI

May 2010



hat’s a $78,000 boat–a 21-foot Lund with a 225 Merc 4-stroke Verado engine. I had a 9.5 Verado kicker on it with a remote control trolling motor.” “That was his baby.” “I enjoy the hell out of fishing and hunting.” “This was the first boat he’s ever been able to get.” “I sold it about two months ago. I got nowhere near half, even a third, of what that boat was worth but I need the money for labels, to buy bottles, to produce the product. To be honest with you, I’ve got my wife and the dog hocked, including my shotgun. This thing is an all-or-nothing situation.” It was also a joke–in the beginning–Woody Woodcock says. He and his wife, Linda (commentator in the boat story above), are the creators of Zapp It Bowling Products, a line of ballrelated chemical products for bowlers. The flagship item is a ball cleaner certified by USBC for use during competition. It breaks down the oil that soaks into microscopic fissures in the coverstock, allowing a microfiber towel to blot up the beads. An amateur bowler who has spent thousands to improve his game, Woodcock says noted coach Susie Minshew woke him up to the importance of keeping his gear clean. Result, Minshew told him: the ball rolls the same, shot after shot. A clean ball became a lodestar for Woodcock’s game, but




May 2010

he kept having trouble. He was using a cleaner that came out of the bottle green, yet his ball towel was turning black. The lanes are cleaned every day and can’t be that dirty, he reasoned. He went to Wal-Mart and bought a half-dozen white hand towels. Driving to five bowling centers between home in Dallas and Fort Worth, cleaning his balls before and after he bowled, he found the same thing on all the towels. Woodcock and his wife own Unique Graphics, a company that prints labels, among other things, for businesses. One day he was talking labels with a client while another man at the meeting was talking chemicals, trying to work out a production schedule for the labels. Woodcock decided to consult the chemist about the black towel mystery. Examination of Woodcock’s 15 or 20 balls showed the microscopic fissures, apparently caused by harsh cleaning agents. Woodcock wanted to do something about the fissures for his game. The chemist, who does research and

PROFILE Kitchen beginnings. “I bought a box of bottles and I had some labels printed and I sat here during the nightly news wrapping bottles with labels by hand. Then I was in the kitchen filling them with a turkey baster. Then I would hand them out.”

manufacturing for a variety of private-label products, was happy to oblige. Woodcock started using the concoction about 2004. His average climbed from around 175 to about 210 in about six months. Other bowlers saw, wanted some, and soon Woodcock was selling small bottles of it. The pro shop manager where he bowled was next–or rather, his customers were. With the Woodcocks’ background, a segue into business with the cleaner was seamless. Woody and Linda both have backgrounds in sales, Woody once owned a smoked foods business in Denver, and he started their graphics company 20 years ago. These days, Woodcock has four clocks in his house, set to different time zones around the country and Canada so he can time his calls for Zapp It. The house has more than its share of boxes, bottles and filing cabinets.



May 2010

Woodcock’s two dozen or so bowling balls are there somewhere. The manufacturing operation has moved out of the house, though. As of a year ago, Woodcock was sharing plant space with the chemist. And the original Zapp It cleaner has been joined by a product that extends shots on dry lanes and another that helps sweat-prone hands stay dry. Manufacturing is still a one-man band except when Woodcock has to ship around 2,000 or more bottles. The bottles are filled and labeled and the sprayers are attached by machine, but the labels and sprayers are loaded manually. For that job, he hires day labor. He’s now shipping about 200 bottles of product a week, working seven days a week, making about 25% of his income from the product line (graphics is still the family’s bread and butter), and feeling frustrated that he can’t get the word out about Zapp It as fast as he’d like. A major bowling distributor recently took on the line, which will help. When he says, “I have so much time and money put into this that I have no choice but to continue forward,” he doesn’t seem to be kidding. A couple of years ago he sold his coin collection to fund the business. It had taken him more than 15 years to assemble. ❖

What it takes. Files, records, invoices, orders in every nook of the house, and Woody and Linda.






May 2010

COVER STORY By Fred Groh “

Herbert Bickel, working the Brunswick Euro Challenge in March.


’m my own boss, I travel the world, meet a lot of people, and I can work wherever I have Internet.” Add to that a dog, a horse, a BMW roadster, and an old country house in the north Germany town of Oldendorf where he lives with his girlfriend, Sabine. Yes, life is good for Herbert Bickel, the jack-of-all-trades behind This year he celebrates his first decade with the website, which he owns, publishes and edits. A portal for international news and views on the bowler side (plus archived issues of IBI), Bowlingdigital racked up about 80 million hits and 400,000 unique visitors from more than 150 countries in the past year. Life is not quite ideal, you understand. Bickel’s footloose working life means that his office times are 24/7/365, he says. That includes Dec. 24, 25, 26 and Jan. 1. He clocks as many as 16 hours a day at major tournaments, where “first in, last out” is his reputation in the pressroom. Once in a great while, finances can be a headache. Organizers of one edition of the World Championships have owed him $10,000 plus incentives for more than ten years. They ran through their budget before they got to him. And life is not especially laid back. When Bickel takes his car and he’s in a hurry, which he usually is, he likes to keep the needle past 125 (mph) on the many stretches of German autobahn that have no speed limit. From Germany he jets off to cover major championships around the world such as the Men’s and Women’s World Championships, the World Ranking Masters, and the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup. He regularly goes to the Brunswick Euro Challenge in March and the Columbia 300 Vienna Open in the fall. If you’ve seen the man unpack his gear on arrival at a pressroom, you may remember his laptop, an external hard drive for emergencies (it backs up the entire computer, just in case), a still camera, audio headset, assorted cables for mastering any connection challenge, and a cell phone. Life seems to have been crowded and busy for a long while. To dot the i’s in this brief résumé, Herbert Bickel, born 1956, attended Sports University in Cologne, his hometown, where he pursued track and field, swimming, gymnastics, basketball, handball, volleyball, soccer – even table tennis, riding and parachuting – and journalism.


“I always had pretty good contacts, nothing to compare to today but I always had good contacts through my job as TV commentator,” Bickel says looking back. One very hot summer in his student days he was working at a public swimming pool near the college, when employees at the local bowling center approached the pool staff to ask if they’d be interested in trading free swimming for free bowling. Since the answer was yes, Bickel and his coworkers were soon bowling a lot after work and in the house league, and he began managing the center. Bowling was big on European TV in those ’80s and ’90s years. The PBA Tour, the Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour, Seniors Tour, assorted amateur tournaments–and a bowling show would be broadcast five or six times. “There was really no need to get a TV guide if you wanted to watch IBI

May 2010


COVER STORY bowling. There would be some bowling sooner or later every day,” Bickel remembers. Most of the programming came from a small network based in London called Screensport. And in Germany, a small BPA wanted to promote bowling and get bigger. Screensport’s bowling commentary didn’t seem to have a clue about bowling, according to Bickel, and Bickel appeared to be the only one around who had studied sports and journalism, knew tenpin bowling, and had contacts with both players and proprietors. Everything suggested to Ferdi Janka, a wheel in the new BPA, that Bickel might be very well positioned as an on-air man at Screensport. Janka, who remains a power in European bowling today, swung the deal. Bickel’s first telecast for Screensport was on June 20, 1990. As a commentator, he got to know people in top positions at PBA, LPBT, BPAA and ABC in the U.S., Asia and Europe. With every year, more championships, more bowling congresses. The contacts grew firmer, more extensive. Today he says, “You tell me the country and I tell you the name of my contact.” It’s not easy to develop good contacts and even tougher to be known for your credibility, he reflects. Those are his strengths, he believes. Players know that “for me, there is always a line between what I get to know in confidential conversation or what they tell me as a friend, [and what they] tell me as a writer.” Same with proprietors – with the industry, in fact. The one exception is bowling federation officials. He gets on well with past and present officials such as Jerry Koenig, former FIQ president, and Kevin Dornberger, incumbent WTBA president, but Bickel says he can count the officials on two hands he calls friends. The feeling is mutual. “In the past ten years I have seen so many who don’t care about bowling, don’t care about the sport, the players. It’s all [in having] the position. Just become the president; that’s it.”

6 and 7 a.m. when he checks his emailbox. He updates Bowlingdigital with news from PBA and USBC in the States, where people are probably still working (U.S. Pacific Time is nine hours behind him), and the latest from Asia and Australia, where folks are already up (6-12 hours ahead of him). “I first edit press releases and write my stories. Verifying the scores costs a lot of time but is vital, as there are often mistakes. After the American and Asian section is updated, I’ll take on Europe and the other sections.” He might scan columns from his contributing writers such as Dick Evans, John Jowdy and Joan Taylor. He reads Jim Goodwin’s Stars & Strikes online edition and peruses newsletters from the likes of the World Tenpin Bowling Association. Bowling business news gets his attention as well, having opened a section of the website for it in cooperation with IBI. Some time each day, he checks in with his webmaster, Thomas Schätzle. “When this is done, the guys from USBC communications are up again and I work on the America section. “The last thing before I’ll go to bed is checking my mailbox for the very last time. “I have a 50MB connection in my home office in Cologne. Great for video uploads on Bowlingdigital and on YouTube. It takes about 45 seconds to upload a 50MB video onto my FTP server.” He obviously gets a kick out of that.


When Bickel lands in a tournament city, he and his paraphernalia head for the host center before he stops at


A normal working day in Bickel’s home office gets going between Rented pied-à-terre in Denmark for the 2005 Women’s World Championships. It cost less than a room at the tournament hotel. The autobahn flyer–a BMW Z4–is ready to go.

Laid-back staff at Bowlingdigital’s summer office. 24


May 2010


A visit with web radio’s Phantom (aka Len Nicholson) while in Lake Wales, FL for the World Ranking Masters, 2005.

the hotel. He inspects the working conditions. If he can check in late at his hotel, he defers it and sets immediately to work at the center. He has to update his website–tough to do while in transit. It’s an orderly whirlwind. “They give me the results. Either I take pictures or they have taken some. I talk to the players, the organizers, get my story together, write the story, add the photos, add the results. Of course I have to edit them,

We’re always on the trail of news and events in the bowling business. Help us sniff it out. If your company or association has added staff or promoted people; if you’re launching a new program, expanding, or celebrating a major event; or if you want to share your thoughts on an industry issue, contact our editorial department. And people will be calling you a newshound, too.

Phone: 818-789-2695 Fax: 818-789-2812 E-mail: 26


May 2010

depending on my software. For example if I get the results in Excel, I can edit each and every result so that it fits to my website within minutes. “The story takes the longest. In some countries and some organizations I have to verify the scores. You won’t believe how often I correct the official standings.” With this much to do, Bickel has no patience with freeloaders or distractions in the pressroom. “Lots of officials from the participating federations [are] accredited as press who have never written a word about bowling,” he says. “It has become common to get a press accreditation and to hold meetings in the pressroom, and it’s cheaper to get the food and beverages offered to the press than to pay for it.” He’s also insisted through the years on proper working conditions. Asked what he needs, his standard reply is: quiet, a desk, Internet access at highest possible speed, coffee, no smoking. So a pleasant surprise at the 2005 World Ranking Masters was the hospitality of Kegel at its then-new Training Center, the tournament venue. Writers were given use of the conference room, where besides Bickel’s minimum they got leather chairs, enormous space, fruits, sandwiches and cake.

COVER STORY Bickel usually arrives for a tournament on Thursday because with the common format in Europe, that is when the top players enter the qualifying rounds. Qualifying continues to first cut on Saturday evening; finals are Sunday. During live coverage, when he always publishes complete standings, he is in the tournament bowling center from about 8 a.m. until 90 minutes or so after the last squad – 2:30 a.m. perhaps. He is one of those people who can sleep little and keep fresh, keep going, keep thinking clearly. If you follow his live coverage, “you will find each and every game of each and every player in each and every round until the finals, numerous pictures,” he says proudly, and “in the meantime you get videos. We are publishing videos in real high-definition,” with files measured in gigabytes. Lower-res versions are uploaded to A half-dozen or so videos will come out of a major event like the Brunswick Euro Challenge. He says he is cramped on time for feature stories. Too bad, as his impromptu interview with

Verifying scores at the 2007 Vienna Open.

Formula One driver and avid bowler Robert Kubica hints. The interview was done at the 2008 Vienna Open. The day following its posting on Bowlingdigital, the site had 30,000 unique visitors – about the number he usually gets in a month. USA Today visited and picked up the story, as did a variety of racing magazines.


May 2010



Bickel has also wielded an effective truncheon on occasion. He tells of one association president seeking re-election at an international congress. In his country and for him, another term was 100% certain, says Bickel. But Bickel knew sources that “had a lot of facts about [him] – how much money he spent for traveling and so on. They showed that bowling had not developed at all [on his watch]. I published these facts because nobody else had.” Anonymous email from Bickel’s contacts added details. “I wrote about people getting proxies from countries [that] were not sending people. Other people [were] paid for a flight and hotel for a meeting. Guess what? They vote in favor of the guy who is paying for the trips.” When the president was not re-elected, he looked Bickel up. “He said, ‘It’s your fault.’ I said, ‘Oh, Mr. ––, my pleasure.’ I really felt honored because he agreed that the Internet or Bowlingdigital had such an influence on the people in the congress.”

his working years. Print and broadcast media can’t compete successfully against the Internet – yet most Internet sites have no visible means of support. “There are a lot of news websites and mostly they just field stuff from other websites, the Russians an example. My website is very popular in Russia. When we had the World Cup in St. Petersburg [2007], there were so many people who said, ‘I’m running this website in Russian. We take all your stuff and translate it into Cyrillic. You’re doing a great job!’ I said, ‘Thank you, nice to know,’ but I have no idea how they make any money.” Bowlingdigital, on the other hand, has been chalking up successes for a decade and the occasional competitor has come along. None has stayed very long. “There is absolutely nobody who is doing this in the United States,” Bickel observes, “mostly because USBC is such a strong [news] organization. I cannot imagine anyone who wants to compete against it.” But more to the point, he reflects, repeating a thought, “is the contacts. If somebody who is not known in the bowling business started to run a bowling news website, I doubt he would get any money because people [wouldn’t] know him and would not trust him and would never spend any money.” It would be tough, anyway, given Bickel’s ten-year lead. Maybe he was in the right place at the right time, going live as owner of Bowlingdigital in 2000. Maybe the heyday of bowling journalism has passed and Bickel will have few successors. Bowlingdigital, though, still sits in the sweet spot – anywhere in the world there is major competitive bowling – and doesn’t look like it’s going to move any time soon. ❖

For the work he does, Bickel is paid. This makes him somewhat unusual among bowling writers, unless a free breakfast counts as payment. “Everywhere I am going, people say, ‘Great website, great job,’ and when it comes to payment, ‘Oh, the budget is so tight; can you do it for free?’” An executive with a major supplier once remarked to him, “Usually we should not pay for press.” Bickel agrees–provided bowling is one of the major sports. “We’re not a major sport. And if you want to have people write about this before you become a major sport, you have to pay for it, especially when everybody is traveling.” Local media? They don’t cost, but consider PBA. “They are happy if they see a writer from local media.” And think about the NFL. They don’t need to pay to have major events covered, such as Super Bowl, “but I bet the NFL is paying a certain percentage of their income for public relations, to make sure everybody gets everything.” As things usually go in bowling, however, young journalists can’t look here for a strong future in sports journalism, Bickel believes. He says there is an additional reason the pressroom ranks have thinned by half during

The pressroom at the Brunswick Euro Challenge in March. The event was carried on live TV by Eurosport, ratings-leading European network for sports, for the first time in the history of the European tour.

At the Vienna Open in 2008, chatting for the Bowlingdigital camera with Formula One driver Robert Kubica.




May 2010

Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce in a photo op with Patrick Lyons, left, at Kings Dedham.





atrick Lyons has 55,000 songs in his database. After more than 30 years of running nightclubs, restaurants, and bars, that deep and wide collection mirrors the Boston-based entrepreneur’s know-how in gauging the rhythm of customer needs. He’s used it to electrify the dining experience when he helped bring the Hard Rock Cafe to America and to put soul in the night when he was part of launching the House of Blues. Always moving and changing before most other food and entertainment impresarios, Lyons–who has an ownership stake in 24


businesses that have done $100 million in revenues this past year–is like a DJ whose mission is to keep people dancing without getting tired, feeling fresh with each tune. Some of that freshness can be found at the lanes of his two Kings bowling locations. Starting with the first Kings, which opened in all its 25,000-square-foot glory in 2003 in the Back Bay area of Boston, Lyons has delivered a bowling center concept that is ahead of the curve. “I saw Bowlmor in New York,” says Lyons, who travels the world to research ways of wowing his customers. “I thought they had an interesting approach to a bowling center.” Seven years ago, when he had the chance to build out a site that was too large for a restaurant, he opted to craft a bowling outlet that catered to a wide variety of patrons. Today, Kings reigns as one of the Boston area’s goto entertainment venues, staying open all day and late at night. Illustrating its wide-ranging appeal, Lyons says, “My kids [ages 12 and 7] like going to Kings and it’s the first choice of most Fortune 500 companies to host events in the Boston area.” One of the keys to its success is the way it segments the operating hours. Before 6 p.m., families enjoy the facility, having birthday parties and regular outings. By night, young professionals arrive and the feel is more like a nightclub. “We let people know during the day that there will be the adult crowd coming in,” Lyons explains. In the evening, adults enjoy creative food choices, regulation shuffleboard, and pool tables in addition to the bowling. There are few electronic games because Lyons wants to stay true to the old-fashioned leisure activities–albeit dressed up–he feels are the heart of the establishment. His sense of what made knocking down pins special to so many Americans in years gone by comes from growing up in what he calls the bowling capital of the country, Buffalo, NY. “I understand bowling as a game and as it related to the culture of America,” Lyons offers. With that background, he decided to “build a great center to celebrate the culture of bowling from the days when IBI

May 2010


PROFILE it was at its most popular, and pair it with today’s technology.” The same thinking is reflected in Kings’ cuisine. “In the mid-’60s, in middle America, the options for food at bowling alleys were frozen pizza and soda,” he explains. At Kings, which just opened a second location in the Boston suburb of Dedham, the menu features classic macaroni and cheese but exoticized with truffle oil, and cheeseburgers are internationalized as spring rolls. Bowling was not the only thing Lyons learned in Buffalo. The business veteran, who also owns the Summer Shack seafood restaurants and the sports haunts Game On and Bleacher Bar (at Fenway Park), admits that, as a young man, he earned cash making fake IDs for state college students in his hometown. As for himself, Lyons did not go the college route. “I spent 40 minutes in a class and didn’t like the scene,” says the man responsible for much of the Boston entertainment scene for the past three decades. Instead, Lyons wended through the world of nightclubs, starting as an ace foosball player, of all things. “I worked as a dishwasher, a bar back, and made my way to managing a nightclub.” As a result, Lyons knows the food, drink, and fun business from the bottom to the top. “You have to know how people move and what they like to do in a space,” Lyons offers. “Architects don’t always get it. I’ve crawled around in nightclubs and gotten experience from living it. Some things

At Dedham, the King Pin Room, a boutique module. distance. It’s more of a science than people understand. You have to put the time in to understand it, [and] I’ve learned the diversity of the establishments and spent time developing a skill set. There aren’t any shortcuts.” The 50-something Lyons, who is the proud dad of the aforementioned children and the husband to a former Elle magazine editor he met at a House of Blues event many years ago, no longer does his commercial observations into the wee hours. “I already spent my time in the trenches. I’ve distilled knowledge from all of the experiences and I’ve been fortunate.” But Lyons never stops learning how to get into the heads of his customers. “I’m a voracious consumer of culture and information,” he points out. “I read magazines, blogs, newspapers. I’m not afraid to read trash. I travel a lot overseas and learn what people do with their time and how they react to things. “There are a lot of pretenders in the entertainment business,” he continues. “I’ve seen cycles go up and down. I try to provide the combination of value and best experience for your money.” One of the guiding principles of Lyons’ success is having confidence in his own business timing. “I try to be on something before it crests and get off before it reaches its peak,” he says. So he’ll close a restaurant even though it’s doing good business and move on to the next thing. “We try to be leaders, not followers. It’s a matter of personal pride. But he adds, “I don’t want to stamp out 50 Kings. I have plenty of business to keep busy. My metric of success is not monetary. I want to be happy.” Lyons is indeed happy, even at a time when the economy remains sketchy for most. “We’re undergoing the largest expansion in my company’s history,” he reports. “There is a 53,000-square-foot House of Blues, a 25,000-squarefoot Kings in Dedham, a 660-person pub on Landsdowne Street, a 13,000square-foot fine dining spot called Towne, and an 8,000-square-foot tavern named Boston Social Club,” the last two opening in May. “Banks aren’t lending,” he continues. “But we’re creating real jobs and expanding the local economy in our own way. I enjoy making guests happy

At a time when the economy remains sketchy for most, his company is into the largest expansion in its history. change,” Lyons has learned over the years. “Decor and music change. But the core of what makes people feel comfortable in a space–from sound to color –hasn’t changed.” While he leaves the accounting and other backof-the-business details to his partner, Ed Sparks, Lyons is always looking at what goes on with patrons. “We watch all the details, from the tapping foot of a customer to the guy gazing off into the 30


May 2010


Bowler seating at Dedham points up retro feel tucked into an updated look at Kings locations. and creating opportunities for people. The byproduct is the growth of our business.” And Lyons is growing in his own fashion. “Kings and Game On are the most likely to expand,” he suggests. “I get the most requests for those.” But he will not likely take the bowling centers and sports bars to far-flung regions. “The problem with being national is you’ve got to travel to your locations. I’m willing to expand in New England, maybe to New York and DC.” Moreover, Lyons prefers to open more than one business in a location, wanting to maximize his company’s use of its resources. “I only go to a market to build [several] things. I’ll set up four to five operations, then dedicate the manpower.” Lyons does more than build businesses; he enjoys creating better options for others in need. As big and bold as his entertainment ventures are, his philanthropic efforts are just as large. Lyons has hosted more than 300 charity events at his Kings establishments, including fundraisers for the Boys & Girls Club, Kids Can Cook (providing inner-city students from Boston middle schools with life skills through cooking), and the Genesis Fund (which has raised over $20 million dollars for treatment of New England area children with birth defects, genetic diseases, and mental retardation). So the beat goes on, from the rock thump at the nighttime Kings scene to the organ anthems blaring from the TVs of Game On. And as the music spins, countless customers will have a great time in the hospitable dens of a man named Lyons. ❖

Gregory Keer is an award-winning columnist, teacher, screenwriter, and guest expert in national media. Read more of his work at his online parenting magazine,

What unusual ideas have you tried out in your center? Share them with the industry at


May 2010


OFF THE CLOCK Dan Bobenhouse, 70 inches tall (that’s 5'10",) Magic Moment, four years old and 30 inches tall, and her two-week-old filly, Moezie. Moezie was 14 inches tall at birth.

ell Dan Bobenhouse you’d be hard-pressed to call him a bowler and he won’t be a bit insulted. He says it about himself. “I bowled as a kid, but I’m not a bowler,” states the owner of Bowlerama Lanes in Des Moines since 1998. “If I had it to do all over again, I would probably have done something in animal husbandry – veterinarian, something

T 32


May 2010

OFF THE CLOCK “I have barns, but in this part of the country–Midwest and any colder climate–they get a tremendous hair coat in the winter, like three or four inches. They’re pretty impervious most of the time. They’ll get behind a windbreak, whether it’s trees or the warmer side of the building. They’re like any animal; they figure it out.” Sick animals and fillies about to foal are taken inside; otherwise the horses are free-ranged to keep their muscles toned. Bobenhouse spends $25 a week on a diet of hay for his herd of 40. They are fed morning and evening, and their hooves need to be kept trimmed. He does all the work, which requires about 20 hours a week. Two or three miniatures can be raised on five acres. They will live 25-30 years.

along that line.” Not that he’s frustrated by his line of bowling work. Bobenhouse took a degree in recreation and park administration but decided he didn’t want to live in Des Monies. It would be nicer to live out in the country. Finding 80 acres to his liking outside St. Charles, 25 miles away, he bought it, then bought and sold adjoining acreage to amass a farm of 160 acres. Most of it he rents out to a neighbor who runs cattle, but he keeps 30 acres for his pride and joy. “A lot of people have thought that they were just a small pony, but they’re bred down from horses over the years. The objective is to breed and develop [a] correct version of a large-size horse, only in miniature.” For those like Bobenhouse who are pursuing those objectives, pedigrees matter. The miniature horse business has two registries to prove it, but bloodlines count for producing animals that please the critical eye, not for maintaining the purity of breed. Miniatures are categorized mainly by color–solid colors, varieties of pinto, Appaloosa.

“Thirty years ago, miniature horses looked like miniature draft horses,” Bobenhouse reports. “Now the trend is to make them as refined and Arabianhorse-looking as possible: long necks, long legs, dishy faces [concave when seen in profile], a nice tail set–not too low, not too high.” Rather low, one might say. Miniatures can’t be more than 38 inches tall in order to qualify for the American Miniature Horse Registry. The American Miniature Horse Association is a little tougher: the upper limit is 34 inches. “They have no real purpose,” says Bobenhouse, who confesses that he just likes “messing around with animals.” “People like to show them, they like having them around. They are for people who have lived on farms and who have moved to smaller acreage, that have had livestock or horses, that still want to mess around with horses.”


May 2010


OFF THE CLOCK That’s the fun part. “You walk out in the lot and they’re right there rubbing up against you, nipping at you. They just want attention. They love to be petted. The more you do that, the more it carries over into their adult life. “I try to have all of my foals imprinted with people,” he says, turning a little more serious. “You start doing that when they’re first born, getting them used to you, used to you [playing] with their ears, their legs, and they become just like puppies. They follow you around, untie your shoe strings–they just figure [that] out on their own.” They even come when he calls. Bobenhouse isn’t sure whether they know their names, but they recognize he’s calling them. Bobenhouse likes the shows, too, although he hasn’t entered in a couple of years. Each registry puts on a national event, with regional qualifiers, and together they hold several dozen sales a year. The horses are shown “at halter” for “confirmation”–“the way they are put together, how correct they are”–and for color. It’s purely a matter of aesthetic judgment. “The judges, unless they know that particular animal, don’t know what the genetics are. It’s all on eye appeal according to those particular judges.” Kids as young as five can handle the horses,

so the shows offer classes. The junior programs under the auspices of both registries are “very big.” The idea is to get children involved early, although not as riders because a miniature horse can carry no more than about 50 pounds. They pull as much as 450, however. That’s another event on which they can be judged at shows. “Roadster,” a speed gait, and “country pleasure,” a more refined movement, are the other driving classes. Nobody races miniature horses, as far as Bobenhouse knows, although there are thoroughbredstyle miniatures. He got into the hobby in the late 1970s because someone had a stallion and a mare for sale and Bobenhouse “thought they were cute, so I bought them.” He drifted away and into raising pure-bred cattle until the early ’90s. In 2003 he took up with horses again. “I missed not having any livestock and I didn’t want to get back into the cattle business.” He breeds, raises and sells the horses. He also keeps some because of his fondness for them–“mostly that,” he laughs. “I look at them as I did the cattle, trying to breed as correct an animal and as eyeappealing an animal as you can. I look at it as an art form in trying to find that perfect mating.” But now, he says, “I’m in the process of downsizing.” When we talked, he had several of his herd consigned to a couple of upcoming sales. Altogether he was planning to cut loose about 16. “I’ve had my farm for 35 years and I’m thinking it might be time. I was born and raised here, and it’s a great place to live. While I don’t think of myself as old, I’m 60. It’s probably just time. “I’m thinking it might be time to move into Des Moines.” ❖

Dreammaker (on the right), a 7-yearold buckskin pinto 29.75 inches tall. A 2008 National Reserve Driving Champion, he is now owned by Charlotte and Michael Kunzler of Van Meter, IA. Among his foals are the three other horses in photo: in front, Dusty Rose, a bay (30 inches tall); left of her, Beau, cremello in color (30 inches); and Splash, a pinto (29.5 inches). Genealogies maintained by the two national registries, important to buyers, go back three or four generations. The animals are registered at one year old, when fully grown at three, and afterward any time ownership changes. Registration includes a photograph of each full-figure profile and two straight-on head shots. Miniatures typically sell for $500$4,000, but have brought as much as $100,000. 34


February 2010









Evolution scoring products from D&J Marketing are designed to upgrade your bowling center to the latest technology at a fraction of the cost of new scoring. Most legacy scoring systems suffer from proprietary and antiquated display monitors. The Evolution upgrade will give you the ability to use most commercially available monitors with your existing scoring system. For more information, call 517-706-7611.

Tired of your premium shoes walking out the door? Want a shoe that’s easily cleaned and affordable to replace? Want a shoe that can look good even after months of play, unlike suede and cloth shoes? Put your customers in an attractive comfortable shoe that’ll look good this month and next. QubicaAMF’s new SuperValue Rental Shoes, as low as $11.95 every day. For more information visit, or call us today at 866-460-7263.

Brunswick Vector ® Internet Reservation system allows your customers to reserve lanes online 24/7, without a dedicated employee. A Brunswick exclusive, reservations can be shared through over 40 social networking, email, and blogging websites to create a viral effect. Features include customer data collection, ability to promote and sell food and party packages, direct payment, and more. For more information, contact your Brunswick representative or call 800-YES-BOWL.

AccuVision LCD Monitors by QubicaAMF are designed with the bowling industry in mind: engineered as a complete system providing a topof-the-line LCD panel with consistent classic look, integrated TV control, and your score-grid correctly fitting the screen. Integrated with Qubica, AMF MagicScore, AccuScore I-II-Plus, XL & BOSS, Brunswick AS-80/90C, FrameWorx & Vector, Mendes and Steltronic. It’s easy to install one lane pair or the whole house. For more information and benefits visit or call 866-460-7263, option 2. 36

IBI May 2010

Six ways to profit from disposable tube socks from Switch at only 45 cents per pair! (1) Sell them to your bowlers at 75 cents. (2) Increase your rental shoe cost and include socks with each pair of shoes. (3) Save wear on shoes. (4) Bowlers appreciate it. (5) Great for hot summers when people come to bowl without socks on. (6) Stop paying too much for sanitizing spray (which ruins the shoes). Call James Borin at 972679-4824, email, skype jamesmo bileusa, or visit

Times Square and Color Burst Carpet tile by Flagship Carpets. Carpet Tiles hold several advantages over regular broadloom carpet. For one, they are easier to install and maintain. If an impossible stain cannot come out of your carpet tile, no problem, just replace the damaged tile. The vinyl backing also allows for more aggressive cleaning methods to be conducted on your floor. For a free sample, contact Flagship Carpets at 800-848-4055.

The Profit Platform is the latest innovative product to be developed by GKM Int’l. Created by inventor Gordon Murrey, it transforms your bowling lanes into special event square footage fast, easily and economically. To see how easy it is to increase your profits, visit the company’s website at and make sure to take the Virtual Installation tour. For more information, call 310-7917092.

Purple is the color of birthday party fun when it comes from Product Specialties. “Purple Logo” features heavy-duty plates, cups and napkins in a bouncy, festive design, while the plastic tablecover comes on rolls 54 inches wide to fit any table. Party Packs serve 250 or 500 youngsters. For more information, call 800-442-0552 or visit


MAY 17-19 Bowling Centers Association of Ohio convention and trade show Holiday Inn, Perrysburg (Toledo). Pat Marazzi, 937-433-8363 or 24 Illinois State BPA board meeting Holiday Inn & Suites, Bloomington. Bill Duff, 847-982-1305 or

JUNE 1-3 Kansas State BPA conference with exhibitors Adams Pointe Conference Center, Blue Springs, MO. Mary Thurber, 913-638-1817.



May 2010

27-July 1 Bowl Expo Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas. 888-649-5585 or

JULY 28 Bowling Centers of Southern California Annual Golf Tournament Black Gold Contry Club, Yorba Linda. Victoria Tahmizian, 818-7890900 or 29-31 Independent Bowling Organization Trade Show & Convention Held in conjunction with the GMBCOA. Valley Plaza Resort, Midland, MI. Scott, 888-484-2322 or

OCTOBER 3-5 West Coast Bowling Convention Harrah’s Harveys, South Lake Tahoe, CA. Sandi Thompson, 925-485-1855. IBI is the official magazine of the convention. 11-15 East Coast Bowling Centers Convention Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, NJ. BPAA, 888-649-5586. IBI is the official magazine of the convention.

NOVEMBER 13-20 IBI Eastern Caribbean Industry Cruise Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Scott Frager or Victoria Tahmizian, 818-789-2695.


EQUIPMENT FOR SALE AMERICAN-MADE PINSETTER PARTS – HIGHEST QUALITY. Visit us on the web at or call toll free (888) 435-6289. USED BRUNSWICK PARTS, A2 parts and assemblies. Large Inventory. NEW & USED Pro Shop Equipment. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. 800-2556436 or Pinsetter Parts New from ALL major manufacturers. HUGE IN STOCK inventory. USED Brunswick Scoring parts, AS90 cameras, processors, lane cables, monitors, and PC boards. Order online @ or (888) 724-2695. The Mechanics Choice! AMF scoring packages with or without LCDs. (712) 253-8730; AMF package complete: 8 lanes, 8270s & AccuScore Plus. (641) 414-1542. 24-lane Brunswick A-2 package. Automatic overhead scoring. Brunswick 2000 returns; wood approaches. In operation through 2003 season. Available immediately. Make offer. (906) 786-1600. Ask for Denis. Buy or Sell @; one-stop shopping for bowling equipment — from lane packages to dust mops! REPAIR & EXCHANGE. Call for details (248) 375-2751. IBI

May 2010




EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA: 6-lane Brunswick center, bar & grill, drive-thru liquor store in small college town. Also, 3 apartment buildings with 40 units, good rental history. Call (701) 330-7757 or (701) 430-1490.

16 Brunswick Factory A-2s, 103-000 serial numbers. Lots of extras. Removed & ready for shipment. Also, 16 lanes Horizon/Omega masking units w/ 2 foot upper graphics. Ron @ (605) 237-0288.


SOUTHERN INDIANA (close to Indianapolis): 18-lane Brunswick center with lounge, liquor license & movie theater on 4+ acres. Turnkey business. Owner retiring. Great investment! (765) 349-1312.

LANE MACHINES WANTED. We will purchase your KEGEL-built machine, any age or condition. Phone (608) 764-1464. USED WOOD BOWLING LANE BEDS. WILL REMOVE! MIDWEST LOCATION PREFERABLE. (574) 551-5914 OR

CENTERS FOR SALE UPSTATE NEW YORK: State-of-the-art 16-lane center with 82-70s in college town. 3.5 acres prime commercial. Call Bob (585) 243-1760. CENTRAL WISCONSIN: 12 lanes, auto scoring, Anvilane synthetics, 82-70s. Great food sales. Yearly tournament. Attached, large 3 bedroom apartment w/ fireplace. $550K. (715) 223-8230.



May 2010


UPSTATE NEW YORK: 8-lane center/ commercial building built in 1992. Synthetic lanes, new automatic scoring, kitchen and room to expand! Reduced to sell @ $375,000. Call (315) 376-3611. 16-lane center in Southern Colorado mountains. Great condition. 18,000 s/f building w/ restaurant & lounge. Paved parking 100 + vehicles. Established leagues & tournaments. $950,000 or make offer. Kipp (719) 852-0155.

CENTRAL IDAHO: 8-lane center and restaurant in central Idaho mountains. Small town. Only center within 60-mile radius. Brunswick A-2 machines; Anvilane lane beds; automatic scoring. (208) 879-4448. SOUTHWEST KANSAS: well-maintained 8-lane center, A-2s, full-service restaurant. Includes business and real estate. Nice, smaller community. Owner retiring. $212,000. Leave message (620) 397-5828.





SE WISCONSIN: 12-lane Brunswick center including building, real estate & 7 acres. Raised dance floor, grill, pro shop, arcade, tanning room and more. Reasonably priced. Owner retiring. (920) 398-8023. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: 16-lane center w/ synthetic lanes, 82-70s, 19,000 s/f building w/ lots of parking. Newly remodeled bar & large kitchen. Owner retiring. (530) 598-2133.

SOUTHERN NEVADA: 8-lane center. Only center in town of 15,000. 30 minutes from Las Vegas. AMF 82-70s, newer Twelve Strike scoring. R/E leased. Will consider lease/option with qualified person. REDUCED TO $175,000. Call Steve @ (702) 293-2368; email


NEW YORK STATE: Thousand Island region. 8-lane Brunswick center w/ cosmic bowling, auto scoring. Established leagues + many improvements. $309,000. Call Jill @ Lori Gervera Real Estate (315) 771-9302. CENTRAL ILLINOIS: 8-lane center with AMF 82-70s, full service restaurant, pro shop. Plus pool tables, Karaoke machine, DJ system. PRICED TO SELL. Includes RE. (217) 351-5152 or SOUTHWESTERN WYOMING: 12 lanes + café & lounge, 2 acres w/ 5 bedroom home. Full liquor & fireworks licenses. Outside Salt Lake City area. Dennis @ Uinta Realty, Inc. (888) 804-4805 or

NE NEVADA: New 2001. 16 lanes, 19,200 square feet, 1.68 acres paved, sound & lighting, lounge w/ gaming, arcade, full service snack bar & pro shop. Call (775) 934-1539. SW WISCONSIN: 10 lanes, new automatic scoring/sound. Bar/grill. Great leagues, local tournaments, excellent pinsetters. Supportive community. 2 acres off main highway. $299,995. (608) 341-9056. GEORGIA: busy 32-lane center, real estate included. Great location in one of fastest growing counties in metro Atlanta. 5 years new with all the amenities. Excellent numbers. Call (770) 356-8751.

(570) 346-5559



Michael P. Davies (321) 254-7849

291 Sandy Run, Melbourne, FL 32940 on the web: email: IBI

May 2010


CLASSIFIEDS CENTERS FOR SALE WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA: One of the top five places to move! Remodeled 32lane center. Good numbers. $3.9 gets it all. Fax qualified inquiries to (828) 253-0362. NW KANSAS: 12-lane center, AS-80s, Lane Shield, snack bar, pro shop, game & pool rooms. See pics and info @ or contact Charles (785) 443-3477. CENTRAL IOWA: Own your own turn key business! 8 lanes–Gutterz Bowl & Lounge. Outside patio, karaoke, glow carpet & bowling. Must see to appreciate. $274,000. (641) 332-2882. NORTHWEST LOUISIANA: 12-LANE Brunswick center. REDUCED TO SELL NOW! Includes auto scoring, glow bowling, pizza, large dining area & video poker. Good income. Long Lease. Great opportunity. Call Mike (318) 578-0772. SW IDAHO: 8-LANE CENTER w/full service, award winning restaurant, new lanes & scoring. $500,000 includes equipment & real estate. Nicely profitable. Call Ron @ Arthur Berry & Co., (208) 639-6171.



May 2010



TEXAS: 40 lanes with reconditioned pinsetters, new synthetics & upgraded scoring. Building in top shape including remodeled bar. Good revenue & cash flow. Ken Paton (503) 645-5630.

Head Mechanic—AMF 82-70s—in Kentucky. Call Dennis (502) 722-9314.

NE MINNESOTA: Food, Liquor & Bowling. Established 8 lanes between Mpls & Duluth w/ large bar, dining room, banquet area. Two large State employment facilities nearby. High six figure gross. 3-bdrm home included. $1.375m. Call Bryan (218) 380-8089.

Brunswick “A” mechanic, 12+ years experience, AS-80/AS-90 scoring system expertise. Former owner/GM. Willing to relocate. Contact me at (308) 380-8594.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: 16-lane center REDUCED to $799,000 for quick sale. Synthetics, 82-70s, 19,000 s/f + parking. Newly remodeled bar, large kitchen. Owner retiring. Will consider selling only equipment or building. (530) 598-2133.

MANAGER WANTED Chain looking for a manager with experience in league formation & special events in central U.S. area. Respond w/ resume to Box 505 @ or fax (818) 789-2812.


MANAGE TO OWN—SMALL CENTER. Started 29 new leagues in less than 5 years. Reliable & honest. Excellent references. Call Andy (507) 527-2551 or Matt (507) 696-1151.

SERVICES AVAILABLE Drill Bit Sharpening and Measuring Ball Repair. Jayhawk Bowling Supply. 800255-6436 or AMF scoring component repair. (712) 253-8730. SELLING, BUYING or FINANCING a Center? RC Partners can help–we are not brokers. (616) 374-5651;


SELL IT FAST IN IBI 818-789-2695 IBI

May 2010



We could not have gotten our loan without him. Mike and Tammy Knoop Bel Mar Lanes Sidney, OH The leading source for real estate loans with low down payments

Ken Paton (503) 645-5630

SERVICES AVAILABLE KEN’S BOWLING EQUIPMENT – AMF scoring, pin decks, masking units & Brunswick power lifts. (641) 414-1542.

INSURANCE SERVICES BOWLING CENTER INSURANCE.COM. Helping you is what we do best! Property; Liability; Liquor Liability; Workers Comp. Bob Langley (866) 438-3651 x 145; Insuring Bowling Centers for over 30 years. Ohio, Illinois & Michigan: Property & Liability, Liquor Liabiity, Workers Compensation, Health & Personal Insurance. Call Scott Bennet (248) 4080200,; Mark Dantzer CIC (888) 343-2667,; or Kevin Elliott.

TRAINING BRUNSWICK PINSETTER TRAINING COURSE – Colorado Springs, Colorado. 13day sessions including hotel accommodations. Call for schedule.; myspace –; (719) 432-5052 or (719) 671-7167. Fax (866) 353-5010.

LOCKER KEYS FAST! •Keys & Combo Locks for all Types of Lockers. •One week turnaround on most orders.



May 2010

•New locks All types •Used locks 1/2 price of new

All keys done by code #. No keys necessary.



CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-700-4KEY INTʼL 530-432-1027 Orange County Security Consultants 10285 Ironclad Road, Rough & Ready, CA 95975





Danny & Daryl Tucker Tucker Bowling Equipment Co. 609 N.E. 3rd St. Tulia, Texas 79088 Call (806) 995-4018 Fax (806) 995-4767

Bowling Parts, Inc. P.O. Box 801 Tulia, Texas 79088 Call (806) 995-3635 Email -

MINIATURE GOLF COURSES Indoor/Outdoor. Immediate Installation. $5,900.00 & up. 2021 Bridge Street Jessup, PA 18434 570-489-8623



(818) 789-2695

AMF and some BRUNSWICK PC board repair/exchange. 6-month warranty, fast turnaround. Call or write: WB8YJF Service 5586 Babbitt Road, New Albany, Ohio 43054 Toll Free: 888-902-BOWL (2695) Ph./Fax: (614) 855-3022 (Jon) E-mail: Visit us on the WEB!

PROPRIETORS WITH AMF 82-70 S.S. & M.P. MACHINES Save $$ on Chassis & P.C. Board Exchange & Repair! A reasonable alternative for Chassis and P.C. Board Exchanges MIKE BARRETT Call for Price List

Tel: (714) 871-7843 • Fax: (714) 522-0576



May 2010



1953 P

ardon us, Mr. Poet, but the pins aren’t the only things “flying left and right,” it seems. So are the balls–or at least they’re mighty slow getting to the pindeck. We count four bowlers who have released their balls and six balls on the lanes. We won’t begrudge artist Frederick Siebel his slight inaccuracy, though. We like the atmosphere in his painting. It’s bowling in its glory days, the conviviality, the people from all walks of life, the boisterous good times. National bowling numbers were headed up, too. BPAA’s 2,310 member centers had 28,599 lanes that year, 195354, while ABC/WIBC certified 58,982 lanes in 6,911 bowling emporiums. Immediately ahead lay a decade of steady growth on all four fronts. ❖



May 2010

Int'l Bowling Industry- May 2010  
Int'l Bowling Industry- May 2010  

The World's Only Magazine Devoted Exclusively to the Business of Bowling.