Empty lanes need filling

Joe Mellenbruch Journal Reporter
Royal Lanes in Devils Lake has run into a stretch of financial difficulty. They hope to correct that with their “Freaky Friday” promotion this week.

Despite a struggling economy and a flooding lake, Devils Lake has grown quite a bit as a community in recent years.

Unfortunately for Royal Lanes, a local bowling alley, that growth has not reflected kindly on business, and it has become clear that something must be done in order to prevent the facility from closing.

Enter professional bowler Bob Markiewicz.

Markiewicz, a regular on the PBA senior tour and member of the San Diego Bowling Hall of Fame, will be in Devils Lake until Saturday, and he has made it a personal mission to improve the bowling alley’s financial situation.

“When I retire one of these days, I’d be proud to run a center like this,” Markiewicz said. “This is a very nice place.”

Markiewicz currently lives in San Diego, Calif., but his sister is Devils Lake’s own Pam Spidahl, owner of Pam’s Dogsitting Service.

Spidahl alerted her brother to the dwindling state of Royal Lanes in 2012, and now a year later with things still in a state of disrepair, Markiewicz was inspired to make a personal trip out to Devils Lake.

His mission is simple. He wants to get more Devils Lake residents involved in bowling, because he believes that once the bowling alley closes and the lanes are ripped up, they’ll be gone for good.

This potential reality needs to be prevented at all costs, according to Markiewicz.

“I want to do everything that I can to help,” he said. “In towns like this, once a center like this closes and they take those lanes out, they don’t re-open. I’ve seen it.”

That being said, the primary objective for Markiewicz and the management staff at Royal Lanes is to get as many people back in the facility as possible.

And that plan will go into effect all-day Friday during the Royal Lanes Freaky Friday promotion, which will offer local bowlers the chance to eat, drink and bowl at rock-bottom prices.

From noon to 9 p.m., the center will have $1 games, $1 slices of pizza and $1 draft beers available to all in attendance. Markiewicz also plans to be at Royal Lanes all day and will be offering free tips to those who ask for them.

Markiewicz and the Royal Lanes management team hopes that this promotion will bring more people through the door: cheap food, cheap beer, cheap bowling and free lessons from a touring PBA professional bowler.

After 9 p.m., for $15, bowlers  are invited to “rock and bowl” during moonlight bowling until midnight.

The Royal Lanes management team also encouraged all  those interested to join a bowling league, which will resume in two weeks.