Center Comings & Goings

by Bob Johnson 0

• If you’ve ever thought about owning your own bowling center, you may want to contact the United States Department of Agriculture. Because the loan that was made to finance the purchase of the center in 2010 was guaranteed by the USDA, that government entity must sign off on the center’s re-sale. The facility, located in the northern Oregon town of Joseph (, presently is owned by Community Bank. You can read more about this unusual set of circumstances here (

• The New York town of Liberty is losing its bowling center. After 42 years, business is winding down at Liberty Lanes, which has canceled its fall league schedule and presently remains open only for open play. “Bowling is a working man’s sport,” co-owner Bobby Fix Jr. told the Times Herald-Record newspaper ( “The only problem for the working man is he works two or three jobs, so he has no time.”

• Buffalo Bill’s Bowling Alley closed its doors in November 2011. According to reports, the center lost business as the building’s infrastructure gradually deteriorated. But now, the 12-lane facility in downtown Sturgis, S.D. — a city best known for its annual motorcycle rally ( — has a new lease on life. It has new owners and a new name: Sturgis Strikers. More on the center’s rebirth can be found here (

• Lakewood Lanes, a 14-lane center in Waterford Township, Mich., sustained major damage last Thursday night, resulting from a fire. The center’s motto is, “Where real bowlers bowl,” but they won’t be bowling there anytime soon because of collapsed walls and other damage. “It just looks to me like a total loss,” Waterford Fire Captain John Lyman told the Detroit Free Press ( The local CBS affiliate ( reported that an explosion may have touched off the fire, perhaps related to a gas leak.

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.

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