Bumper home closes

by Bob Johnson 0

The generally acknowledged home of bumper bowling, Jupiter Lanes in Dallas, Texas, has closed for the second time.

The first shutdown occurred three years ago, but the center was reopened by a partnership led by Chuck Lande, which sank $2 million into remodeling. A resurgence of business never developed, however, and now Lande — who also owns Bowl-A-Rama in Rowlett, Texas — has locked the doors.

Lande told the Dallas Morning News that there have been inquiries about the business, but no firm offers.

“I hope they find somebody,” he said. “If not, I’m afraid it will sit empty for a long time.”

Jupiter Lanes opened for business in 1958, and its “golden era” was during the 1980s when it was operated by Phil Kinzer. It was Kinzer who came up with the idea of placing long tubes in the gutters, effectively eliminating gutterballs and opening up the sport to a new generation of bowlers — toddlers.

At one time, pre-school and child care field trips accounted for a significant portion of Jupiter Lanes’ business, and Kinzer’s entrepreneurial talent transformed those visits into birthday parties and new league business.

Eventually, more sophisticated bumper systems were developed by manufacturers, but history will show that bumper bowling was born at Jupiter Lanes.

And now, that historic center has closed — again, and perhaps for good.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.