On two consecutive Sundays in April, ten bowlers from the area took to the lanes. A friendly competition had been organized to match five of the top bowlers from Country Lanes against five of the top bowlers from Superior Lanes in a challenge of thirty Baker games (fifteen at each center). Each bowler would rotate through the lineup so that they bowled in all five positions three times. To make things a little more difficult, lead pins were used on a regular house pattern to put an emphasis on shot making rather than on power and carry. After careful consideration, Clay Sandberg chose Glenn Ayotte, Andy Goldsworthy, Chris Loonsfoot, and Steve Windahl to join him in representing Country Lanes. Mike Musolf chose Jeff Miller, Scott Salminen, Justin Stephens, and Dave Stevenson to help him represent Superior Lanes.
On April 7, the ten bowlers started the competition by bowling the first fifteen Baker games at Country Lanes Bowling Center. Superior Lanes did a nice job of sticking with Country Lanes winning three of the first six games (206 – 233, 170 – 157, 221 – 215, 171 – 233, 182 – 212, and 202 – 188). It was at that point that Country Lanes really turned it on and used the knowledge of their lanes as an advantage. Superior Lanes was only able to win two of the next nine games (179 – 221, 182 – 210, 163 – 204, 138 – 186, 199 – 200, 224 – 161, 186 – 203, 155 – 212, and 186 – 185). With Country Lanes winning the pin total in all three of the 5-game sets and for the day, they took a commanding 40 – 10 point lead into the next Sunday at Superior Lanes.
As the same ten bowlers started the competition at Superior Lanes Bowling Center on April 14, the Superior Lanes team was determined to find a way back into the match. They slowly began to chip away at the 30 point deficit by winning the first seven games of the day (217 – 179, 206 – 162, 202 – 177, 193 – 184, 206 – 202, 214 – 204, and 183 – 172). Trying to hold onto their lead, Country Lanes tried to turn it on. Superior Lanes however were still up for the challenge, but only managed to win one of the next three games (159 – 175, 160 – 129, and 166 – 175). With only five games remaining and the score of the match at 36 – 44 in favor of Country Lanes, Superior Lanes was bound and determined to not let their comeback go to waste. They dug deep and won four of the last five games (202 – 158, 146 – 178, 212 – 192, 192 – 178, and 236 – 159). By winning the pin total in all three of the 5-game sets and the pin total for the day, Superior Lanes was able to win the first ever Superior/Country Challenge- 54 – 46. With the victory, Superior Lanes stakes claim to the newly created traveling trophy as well as bragging rights for the year. The bowlers from both teams should feel very proud however. They helped start a tradition that should go on for years and helped develop pride in their bowling centers.
Judging by the buzz about the event, the turnout of spectators to watch it, and the exciting conclusion, I would say that the first Superior/Country Challenge was a success. Maybe it will eventually develop into more of a league with other bowling centers but for now, I expect this to be an annual tradition that will continue long into the future. Congratulations to both bowling centers and to all who participated. (Picture from Republic Memorials' Facebook page)