Bowling scores skyrocketed in Brainerd with the advent of the LaGuyal Lanes in 1958 and most of the 15 men who now belong to the 700 Club and the 28 members of the Women's 600 Club cleared those levels on those maples.
However, a mark that hasn't yet been equalled at LaGuyal Lanes, now Brainerd's onIy bowling alleys with the selling out of Lake Region by Andy Theisen a couple of seasons ago, is the only perfect game yet recorded by a league bowler in Brainerd.
Accomplishing that feat at the Lake Region Lanes on Front Street Nov. 13, 1944 was Bill Katus, a member of the old postoffice team.
Katus, who was residing at Rapid City, S. D. when last heard from in the late '50's and competing in five leagues although in his 60's, had been bowling for 20 years when he hit the jackpot with 12 strikes in a row.
In his eighth year of competition here, he started mediocrally with a 156 before really turning it on while all the other league bowlers quit their action to cheer him on. He said he knew he had a good hit when his last throw left his hand and the lanes really exploded when it carried all 10 pins into the pit.
MOTHER-DAUGHTER entry in Brainerd Woman's Bowling Assn. 600 Club is pictured here. Shown affixing a 600 Club membership to her daughter Kaye's sweater is Mable Koering, whose 627 in 1949 was the first three-game tally in that class at Lake Region Lanes. Kaye Koering Elmore started with a 602 series at LaGuyal Lanes, but has since rolled a 675 which is the highest yet rolled by a woman here.
Ken Johnson, who sold LaGuyal Lanes this winter to Dick Mans, just missed joining Katus in the diamond ring class at his lanes Dec. 10, 1969 when he rolled a spectacular 299 singles and a 723 series. A 290 by Meth Porwoll in the Sportsmen's league Jan. 23, 1967 had shared the previous single game high at LaGuyal Lanes.
Theisen, who has three 700's to his credit -- all at Lake Region Lanes, showed a high count of 716 there, rolling it Jan. 22, 1964.
Men's 700 Club... Leroy Smith 758-703-700. Ken Smart 739. Bill Svendsen 737-733-719. Don Benton 736-733-709-707. Warren Johnson 735. George Melin 733-731. Ken Johnson 723. Warren Ludlow 723. Dick Cook 721. Al Kundert7l7. Andy Theisen 716-707-705. Lloyd Johnson 714. Dick lmgrund 710. Cal Leinlnger 705. Dan Vickerman 703.
Warren Johnson of Crosby got things going quickly at LaGuyal Lanes with a 735 and that mark has been topped there four times since then, the highest now on record being the 758 rolled by LeRoy Smith in the Sportsmen's league April 4, 1966. Smith included a 280 middle game in his record count.
JUNIOR GIRLS BOWLING championship of the state was claimed by this entry of VFW Mahium Hanson Post, rolling a 2,380 at Holy Cross Lanes in Minneapolis in April of 1957 in a field of 36 girls' teams. Shown here are (left to right) Sharon Hoim, captain; Carol Bolster, Marsha Dyhvik, Donna Ryan and Dorothy Treichier. The girls were chaperoned at the tourney by Colettta Mott, Irma Anderson and Bobbie Dybvlk.
Johnson missed a perfect game by sparing his first frame during his 735 series in February, 1958. He followed it up with 11 straight strikes for a 290 while bowling with the Spalding Hotel team in the Friday Night Rookie league. He started with games of 220 and 225.
On Jan. 30 of that year, Dick Imgrund (who had games of 218, 244 and 250) had posted the first 700 count in 15 years or more with hi 712 at the new lanes. Veteran Joe Koering was unable to recall more than a pair of 700 series having been rolled on those lanes up to that time -- a 713 by Roy Hella and the other by Katus.
Presently Ken Smart is second high with a 739 compiled behind a 257 opening and a 258 finish March 13, 1963; while Bill Svendsen came through with a 737 behind a 268 start in January, 1969 and Don Benton (with four 700's to his credit) rolled a 736 with a 279 middle game May 2, 1962.
Last winter's action also was strong, judging from the 688 and 674 counts of Russ Petersen, and Virg Skarloken, the former also having a 672 to his credit with a high game of 287, eight pins up on Dennis Flanagan.
On the distaff side of it, there have been a pair of 600's recorded last winter, a 624 by Evelyn Domich and a 610 by Jean Berg, while Kathryn Caughey and Enid Fitzsimons top the single game scoring column with 247's. The record three-game total is held by Kay Elmore, the daughter of Joe and Mable Koering, two of the all-time pin-toppling great list in Brainerd. Her 675 was fired March 21, 1968 in the Ten-Hi league. It included games of 246, 203 and 226.
Her feat is even more interesting when it is recalled that her mother's 627 at Lake Region Lanes in 1949 was the first count over 600 accomplished by a woman on those lanes.
The most prolific 600 counter, however, is Irene(Ike) Smedley, who has something in the neighborhood of three dozen to her credit, plus a 274 singles which was rolled at Lake Region Lanes in 1954 as she was enroute to a 611. Her top count is 654, putting her third on the all-time list behind only Mrs. Elmore and Laura Jacobs, who has a 656.
The top singles, however, is a 277 by Millie Keel, who failed to capitalize on it for a 600 in 1959. Some other distinguished single game efforts include a 268 by Charlotte Bendemer, who bagged a 647 in 1958 at LaGuyal; and 267s by Nell Akre, with a 619 Jan. 12, 1961; and Mrs. Smedley, with a 267 during a Mixed league 617 count in 1968.
While Brainerd's male pin-topplers largely have ignored the official state tourney in favor of fraternal and scattered individual tournaments, the women have been entering the Minnesota Woman's State Bowling tournament since Irma Anderson and Dorothy Cole started them off in 1949.
Highest honor in this event going to a local entrant was a first place in the 1954 tourney singles at St. Cloud by Virginia Japp, who had a 648 (including handicap). Mrs. Fieldman claimed the top prize in 1962 with a 668.
Prior to the 1947-48 season, when the Women's B league came into existence, Brainerd numbered just one woman's Ieague, the Thursday night Women's A league. The first year that the league was sanctioned was 1943-44. Before that, the ladies enjoyed only open bowling at the Elks lanes and the others which preceded that.
Men's Assn. secretary LeRoy Dahi has listed these high totals here dating back through the 1961 season with the Nutting Insurance team posting the high three-game series (actual) on record, a 3,117 Dec. 3,1969 with games of 1,021, 1,026 and 1,070 and individual efforts including a 673 by Cal Leininger, 644 by Roy Noreen, 631 by Warren Ludlow, 621 by Bud Fredstrom and a 548 by Jerry Olson.
In the Men's City Handicap tourney, Riverview Motel rolled a 3,176 in 1970, with Dick Imgrund, Dennis Flanagan, Tony Dandrea, John Gadbois and Doug Anderson forming its team. Other top handicap counts include a 743 in 1963 by Flanagan (a 695 actual); 1,383 doubles in 1968 by Gordie Gessner and Ray Theisen; a 2,005 handicap all-events in 1968 by Leininger and a 1,901 actual all-events in 1966 by Al Dandrea. Scratch highs in the city tourney besides Flanagan's 695 singles, include a 2,957 team score (1969) by Nutting's, 1,272 doubles by Curly Olson and LeRoy Smith in 1968 and Riverview's 1,051 team singles in 1970 and. Jerry Olson's 258 singles in 1961.
Also topping the 700 mark (with handicap) in singles have been Dahi (team event) in 1967. Leininger 706 (singles) in 1968 and Curly Olson (singles) in 1966. Recording scratch counts of above 650 have been Bud Marshall (699) 1970 doubles; Dick Imgrund (668) 1970 team; Olson (667) 1966 singles; Leininger (664) singles 1968; Al Dandrea (659) singles 1966; and Meth Porwoll (653) singles 1964.
Women's 600 Club... Kay Elmore 675-629-627-623.612-611603. 602 (2). Laura Jacobs 656. Irene Sm edi e y 654-645-643.638-629. 624(3)- 623-621-620-617.615(2) - 614-613(2)- 612(2)-61112).608(2). 60612)-604(21.6ll3.602. 600(5). Beatsle Fieldman 652-643-640-600. Charlotte Bandemer 647. June Dinsmore 642-619-606. Ardell Cook 642-604. Roberta DybVik 635-634-627.613.611. 600(2). Alice Peterson 631-602. Mable Koering 627-604. Jean Norskov 626-604. Evelyn Domich 624. Pat Helm 624. Irma Anderson 622-621-615-610-609-606 60412)-603-601. Alice Anderson 619-610-600(2). Nell Akre 619. Hazel Amic 618-615-613-608-607.604. Matie Gallagher 616. Eileen Benjamin 615-609. Faye Goedderi 614. Marie Lyscio 612. Mariann Enfield 612. Jean Berg 610 (21-600. Helen Collins 606. Lou Bang 605. Kay Spirra 605. Virginia Day 600. Lorraine Olsen 600.
Winner of the first annual Inner-League playoff between Brainerd and C-I in April 1970 was Aire N' Aqua of Brainerd with Marshall, Lloyd. Johnson, Will Faust, Jerry Kvistad and Sid Palmer its competitors.
In a resume of bowling for the county, written by Roy Zierke; who managed both the Lake Region Lanes here and the Crosby-Ironton Lanes, some idea of the top keglers of the earlier era can be attained.
According to Zierke, who was succeeded by Sid Mott and then, Theisen in running Lake Region Lanes, bowling history for Crow Wing county must be confined to the turn of the century as the first Brainerd alleys weren't put up until about that time in the Globe Hotel, "which burned down shortly before I came to Brainerd in 1911," Zierke recalled in 1958.
"In 1911, Coffrain and Hess operated bowling alleys in the basement of the Ransford Hotel. The alleys were under their barber shop. About 1913, Ray Campbell opened alleys in the basement of the Carlson Clothing store. This burned down several years later and that, together with the closing of the Coffrain and Hess alleys, left Brainerd without any place to bowl for several seasons.
"Fred Cook then opened six alleys upstairs on Seventh Street over what was later the Red Owl store. Cook later sold out to Ralph Stevenson and the alleys were managed by Leonard O'Kelsvin. These also burned down and alleys then were installed in the basement of the Elks building and operated by a man named Block, assisted by his wife. These later were taken over by Clarence Van Essen," Zierke related.
Then in 1938, the Lake Region Lanes came into being, with Al Siegel of Little Falls installing eight alleys in the Ransord Annex. They were managed in the beginning by Forrest (Buck) Simpson, a longtime Cass county sheriff. Zierke and his son Calvin managed the lanes for eight years and Sid and Coletta Mott ran them for four years until turning over the ownership to Theisen and Dick Imgrund.
"There were many good bowlers in the past and they did not have modern facilities either," Zierke asserted. Naming an all-star team of Brainerd bowlers, he averred, "Under modern conditions, this team should average around 200."
That team would consist of Katus, Bill Sasser, Frank Ziske, Bill Demmers, Joe Zimmer and Ralph Stevenson. His choice of the top men's team of the late years was "the old Lakeside Bar team in the Classic league." It included Larry Jordan, Bob Block, Rod Sims, Wally Gavin and Cal Zierke.
Zierke recalled Sasser as "the, boilermaker" with what we called the snowplow ball. Bill was perhaps, considering the conditions, the highest scoring bowler in Brainerd history. He bowled with the Eagles team in the old Fraternal league."
Stevenson was distinguished by a slow approach and an accurate backup ball, while Ziske, known affectionately as "High Pockets," featured a fast back-up and Demmers a slow hook. Zimmer, was "slow, careful, calm, the most accurate spare bowler I ever saw," in the words of his chronicler.
Zierke recalled Clarence Van Essen for a "beautiful hook," Happy Englund "a dandy bowler," Iver Gustafson for his "mud ball," Oscar Olwein, Billy Bender, Fred Cook, Hanse Sande, Elmer Bikke (the fast baller), Lou and Jack Imgrund, Ira White, Hilding and Fred Maghan, Clark, Henry and Ralph Gum, Leonard O'Kelsvin (called "Mr. Goodness" by his. mates) and Mrs. Block, "the best woman bowler in Brainerd's history -- one who competed against men in their leagues."
A great coup occurred in 1969 at the Minnesota Bowling Proprietors Assn. convention in Minneapolis when the Zierkes made a play for the 1950 convention for Brainerd on the basis that it should be held the day the fishing season opened and conventioneers thus could take advantage of Brainerd's "wonderful fishing and resorts." Conventioneers dutifully cast a unanimous vote for Brainerd and Zierke couldn't ever forget, or live down, the fact that when the 1950 bowling session opened here all area lakes were still covered by ice.
Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).