ANAMOSA - The doors to the Anamosa Bowling Center (ABC) may be closed right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but even while playing only about three-quarters of their normal regular season schedule before orders came down March 17, that their league campaign was over, bowlers were posting some mind-boggling numbers.
“I’ve really never seen anything quite like it in all my time here,” said ABC owner Brett Seeley, as he, and an amazing eight others all rolled perfect 300 games this past season.
“A lot of the equipment has changed over the years and that might be part of the reason why we’ve seen so many more perfect games the last few years compared to what we did before. It also helps that we’ve got a lot of really good local bowling talent here, too.”
The ABC first opened in 1952 before Brett’s dad Dave took over ownership it in 1981. During all of that time not one single perfect 300 game had been rolled on the Anamosa lanes.
All of changed after 1996.
“The first 300 game ever rolled at the Anamosa Bowling Center was in 1996, and since then they’ve come a long a little more regularly,” Seeley said. “But never have we seen nine of them on one season. And this season was even cut short. We probably would have had at least 12 perfect games this year if not for the virus shutting us down early.”
Seeley, Ben Gates, Kyle Gates, Loras Holub, Rodger Blum, Troy Stupka, Tim Jensen, Jesse Carlson and Ryan Bundy all etched their names into the ABC’s record book this season with perfect 300 games, shattering the former alley single-season record of six.
Carlson took that phenomenal scoring to an even higher level by not only recording one 300, but also adding games of 299 and 298 during the 2019-20 campaign.
“I should have had three perfect games this year,” said Carlson, who posts an incredible 220 average and is one of just eight bowlers all-time to record an amazing 800 series (and he’s done it twice) at Anamosa.
“In all three of those games I had all strikes heading into the last ball of the last frame, and was only able to get one perfect game. It used to be when I would get into the 10th frame with a perfect game going, I would be so nervous. But with more and more people doing it now, honestly it has taken some of the pressure off. You still have to have a little luck though to roll a 300, even if you are hitting the pocket every single time.”
Kyle Gates tallied the lone 800 series this past season, tallying an 813 that included his perfect game.
For years, the ABC had always been known as an alley where 300 games were extremely hard to come by, but with a lot of the updates Brett Seeley has made to the lanes since he took over ownership in 1998, scores have gradually been on the rise.
“We put in synthetic lanes in 2013 and that’s given our bowlers a more consistent surface to bowl on,” he said. “We added new lane machines about five years ago, too. It’s taken a while to get things exactly the way we want them, but we’ve worked hard to try and give our bowlers the best chance possible to roll a good score. I don’t want them disappointed all the time saying they’ll never come back because the game is too hard.
“I think we’ve caught up with the industry and I’ve learned what makes the lanes succeed.”
Longtime ABC member Gayla Myers agrees.
“Brett’s done a lot of good things and I think the scores are starting to show that,” said Myers, who has bowled at the ABC for 44 years. “Years ago, it was tougher to get those high scores at Anamosa. I think the ball coming back above the floor instead of underneath freaked some people out, but with the changes Brett’s made, it’s become a much more scoring-friendly alley. And that just makes it that much more fun for everyone.”