Long-time PBA Host Thruway Lanes Ends 58-Year Run

by Bob Johnson 0

One of western New York’s legendary bowling centers, Thruway Lanes in Cheektowaga, has been shut down by Bowlmor AMF. Management closed the doors for good on Sunday at 2 p.m., ending a 58-year run.

According to reports, the facility has been purchased by the neighboring Basil Ford car dealership, which had been attempting to obtain the property for more than two years. The reported sale price was $3.1 million, and plans call for the center to be converted to an automobile showroom.

The sale had been anticipated for months, and local high school bowling teams already had relocated to other centers. Approximately 25 leagues now are in need of new homes as well.

Thruway Lanes was a stop on the PBA Tour for more than two decades, dating back to the 1975 Home Box Office Open, in which Tommy Hudson ran the stepladder — defeating, in order, Palmer Fallgren, Don McCune, George Pappas and Gary Dickinson — to claim the $5,000 top prize. Last summer, it was one of six centers in the greater Buffalo area that hosted the USBC Junior Gold Championships.

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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