Reporting Mark Rosen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There’s a lot on the line when you’re bowling for a perfect 300 game, both now and in the future.
We asked some of the top high school bowlers in the area about the game and it’s growing popularity in the Twin Cities. Texa-Tonka Lanes in St. Louis Park has been a busy place in our spring that has been more like an extended winter.
Several area schools go there to practice their throw and host tournaments. The talk is about bowling, and three close friends with the bond of the bowling alley know what they’re talking about when it comes to the perfect throw.
Tyler Klinepier is a seventh grader at St. Louis Park, Sarah Blankenburg is a sophomore for the Orioles but the one they look up to is 16-year-old JonWalter Rhines, a sophomore at Wayzata.
“I’d say bowling is like the No. 1 thing he does so for him to throw off 300s here and there, it’s nothing for him,” said Blankenburg. “It’s kind of cool because he kind of sets the bar high for the rest of the kids.”
Rhines is one of the state’s top bowlers in a sport that’s rapidly growing for this age group.
“I got involved because of my dad. I was playing other sports but he just wanted me to get more involved with bowling,” Rhines said. “He thought I would be good at it.”
“Bowling is a sport. There’s a lot of skill in it. My son probably has eight different bowling balls because there’s probably 12 different oiling shots that they could put out for different tournaments,” Anthony Rhines said.
He’s been working the lanes for more than 10 years and already has a 228 avearage. JonWalter already has three perfect games this year alone.
“Three that count, but I’d say that I have like 19 that are in practice,” he said. “It is a lot, but I just try to forget about it. I just try to relax and just think about one thing.”
He’s been motivated by his father to be a great bowler, but there’s another factor: It provides a path to college and beyond.
“There’s a lot of scholarship money he can win when he does tournaments. He probably bowls about 35 games a week just to work on his game,” said Anthony Rhines.
“That’s my big goal, going pro and winning on the pro circuit,” JonWalter said. “But going to college is first.”
“College is getting more and more expensive and they have higher scholarships for females. So if girls want to come bowl, they can get huge amounts of money for scholarships,” Blankenburg.
What really matters at the bowling alley is the friendships. The bond that makes life so enjoyable. Practice can get tedious, so it’s that motivation that sometimes brings a little help.