by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Bowling pins went down often at Lano Lanes in NYA on a recent practice, much like they had at the state tournament in Park Grove in St. Paul Park in May for Erin and Steve Bohn.
The duo finished first in the youth-parent division to advance to the National Family Tournament in late July in Columbus, Ohio. Erin, 9, bowled a 75-112-120-317, while Steve, 43, bowled 215-279-300-794, including 21 strikes in a row to cap off his 16th 300 game in his career.
For Steve it was a flashback to his own history when he and his mother, Sharon, brought home the National Championship in 1982 in Washington DC.
“It’s pretty excited because me and my mom went to nationals and ended up winning nationals,” he said. “
A Waconia native, Steve had bowled since he was a kid at the Chancellor House bowling alley in Waconia owned for more than 20 years by his parents, Curt and Sharon of Waconia.
“I was brought up bowling so it’s something that I’m good at,” he said, adding he enjoys Wednesday night leagues at Lano Lanes and amateur tournaments during the weekends.
“When I got better, I started bowling in some of the major or masters tournaments and I knew where I belonged then,” he said of his pro experience when he was younger. “The pros are really good.”
Success has followed him regardless as Steve and partner John Kreyer of Fridley won the U.S. Bowling Congress Nationals doubles tournament in Reno in 2010 beating more than 35,000 teams, not to mention his 16 300 games, something his wife, Michelle laughs at.
“When we first started dating and got married, he told me he’d quit bowling when he got a 300,” she said. “And now 15 later, maybe once he gets 100 300s he’ll quit.”
Much like her father, Erin, who will enter fourth grade at St. John’s next year, started bowling just three years ago and bowls junior league at Lano Lanes in the fall and winter in addition to other singles and doubles tournaments with her dad throughout the season, earning scholarship funds along the way.
She is also practicing a lot this summer almost every day, biking to Lano Lanes to take advantage of the Kid’s Bowl Free program which allows kids to sign up and receive daily coupons for two free games of bowling each day.
“I like just having fun and focusing on your bowling,” she said.
Michelle added her daughter really grew up in the bowling scene.
“When she was an infant in her car seat I would take her to the bowling center,” she said. “Back then it was smoking, so we didn’t stay very long. She’s been watching him for forever.”
Despite that practice and early experience Erin, who averages about 100 with a top score of 154, still has a ways to go to catch up with her dad, who averages 220.
“It really isn’t much of a competition between the two of them, but she’s doing really well,” said Michelle. “She’s gotten a lot better over the years and is really consistent and consistently getting better. She loves it, she enjoys doing it… I’m very proud of both of them.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at firstname.lastname@example.org.