Usually I have some type of theme or I feature one of the many outstanding bowlers from Winona in this column.
Not this week.
When I looked at this past week’s bowling sheets that are faxed in by the bowling houses and sat down in front of the computer, I drew a blank.
So instead of one main idea this week, I’m going to bounce around with some smaller ones or look at some issues on the local bowling scene that have tweaked my curiosity.
Here we go.
** What’s happened to second-shift bowling in Winona? Remember the days when the bowling houses were full with a 6:30 p.m. shift, and then had the lanes halfway filled for another shift at 9 p.m. Those days are gone. Winona’s last second-shift league, the Knights of Columbus League, has now joined forces with the Action League at Westgate Bowl on Thursday night.
The bottom line is there are fewer bowlers, fewer teams and fewer leagues these days, and the need for the second shifts have dwindled to nothing. Many of us are bowling just once or twice a week now. Back in the 1970s and ‘80s and even into the early ‘90s, Westgate Bowl, Winona Bowl, Mapleleaf Lanes and the Athletic Club used to be filled four or five nights a week, plus had junior and mixed leagues every weekend.
And it’s not cheap to bowl these days, especially if you’re purchasing equipment to try and keep up with the top guns in town.
Times have changed.
** There was a time when a gal rolling a 700 series or a guy tossing an 800 was a remarkable feat and having only two or three bowled in a year was the norm. The 800 is still quite an accomplishment; there hasn’t been one bowled yet this year.
The 700 for a woman has become a rather a common occurrence. Monday night, Julie Moldenhauer fired a 729 series (258-245-226) in the Alley Gaters League at Westgate for the ninth women’s 700 of the year. And we’re less than two months into the 2008-09 season.
We’ll see some 800s by the men in the near future; you can bet on that. But they’ve got a ways to go to catch the ladies.
** Could the best bowler in Winona men’s leagues come from outside of Winona? That’s a possibility the way Nick Heilman has started this year.
Heilman, who runs Nicholas J’s Pro Shop at Pla-Mor Bowl in La Crosse, averaged 229 last year in the American League. Tuesday night he rolled a 751 series, which is his third score over 750 this season.
He gave Josh Wenzel (231) a run for his money for the average title last year, and Heilman appears to be poised to do it again this season.
It was a Gora/Gora night Tuesday in the Blue Ribbon League at Winona Bowl. Brent Gora tossed the top score in the league with a 718 series, and Travis Gora was close behind with a 713.
Joining the Goras with 700s in the past week were Larry Walters (714), Bruce Malewicki (708), Paul Ciszak (707), Gary Kluzik (705) and Tom Benedict (703).
Diane Marley hit it big Wednesday night with a 683 national honor count in the Lamplighter League at Winona Bowl.
Krystal Dorman (673, 609) and Keri Prigge (656, 610) both tallied a pair of 600s in the past week, and Sue Buermann rolled her first in league play with a 656 series.
Tina Wenzel (632), Krystal Beech (607) and Jenny Glowczewski (600) also fired honor counts.