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Voyageur's Best Sports of 2005

Bowling longevity

Bowling longevity
Bowling at McGregor Lanes
by John Grones  |  April 12, 2005

McGregor Lanes opened in 1961 and Vernon (Fuzz) Strom started bowling that year. In 1969, his wife Margaret (Mugs) started bowling. Fuzz at age 75, and Mugs at age 70, are both very steady bowlers and that was demonstrated on Wednesday, April 6 when the two combined to roll 14 straight No-Tap strikes. Their team, McGregor Lanes, enjoyed fun-night after wrapping up another league championship with teammates Donny Reich and Jamie Burman.

Fuzz and Mugs have been bowling mixed doubles for many years and they recalled their first bowling partners, Shirley and Len Johnston. Then it was Bev and Rick Hatch, Leroy and Nan McCoy, Dave and Diane Rian and then Donny and Nancy Reich. “When Nancy died, Jamie joined the team,” said Donny. “I would have quit bowling if it wasn’t for Fuzz, Mugs and Jamie.”

he team had an interesting year. They beat Ukura’s by one pin for the first-half championship and they held off the Sweet Trees in the second half. It was an excellent display of head-to-head bowling with just two weeks remaining in the season that determined the champions.

“We were tied with two weeks remaining,” said Donny. “We beat the kids.” Members of the Sweet Trees team include Sam and Kathy Haugse and Dave and Marilyn Ruud.

According to Sam his team took defeat in a gracious manner, but he did have an explanation. “The only reason this happened was because we were taught to respect our parents.” The respect carried over the next week on fun night when the two teams enjoyed a No-Tap (all ten and nine counts are scored as strikes) competition.

Fuzz and Mugs started off the evening with a pair of 214s to go along with a a 199 by Jamie and a 222 for Donny. They defeated the younger Sweet Trees team by a comfortable margin, but it was the second game that Fuzz and Mugs put on a clinic. The two combined to roll 14 strikes in a row. Later, Mugs would pick up the 6-7-10 split and finish with a 252. Fuzz picked up the baby-split and finished with a 265. Donny, not to be outdone by his teammates, rolled a 300. The team score was something ridiculous and so was the winning margin. Mugs suggested that I might want to mention the score and underline their ages.

Kathy’s response, “I’m just glad this wasn’t a roll-off night!”

The young team did bounce back in the third game, while fatigue set in with the champs. “We gotta give those kids a break once in a while,” added Fuzz.

The Sweet Trees have been teamed up since 1985 and they were not about to carry this respect thing too far. They decided to kick it up a notch. It was Marilyn who got hot first by hitting four strikes in a row. Then Sam hit five out of six and Dave recorded six strikes in eight frames. In the end, Dave came away with a 231, Marilyn recorded a 200 and Sam had a 192.

Mugs, on the other hand, experienced five splits, while Fuzz didn’t have any better luck.

Donny, better known as the secret weapon by Fuzz, bowled a 276 and the champs edged their kids by three pins.

Donny, clearly one of the best bowlers in the northland, finished the season with the high average (211), the high game (299) and the high series (757). Edi Holland had the high average for women. She finished with a 161. Kathy Haugse had the high game with a 216 and Bonita Novotny had a 559 high series.

This article first appeared in the April 12, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.