North Country bowling fans flock to local lanes for reopening

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT
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MALONE, N.Y. (WCAX) - New York bowling enthusiasts brushed off their balls and shoes to hit the lanes in the North Country after a five-month closure.

The sound of bowling balls gliding down the oil-slicked lanes and toppling pins for the first strikes of the season was music to the ears of many Monday. ”I haven’t bowled in a long time, just like everyone else,” said Becca Bonville.

"It feels pretty good, it's been a long-time coming," added Darren Taylor.

For this couple and many others, bowling at Lucky Strike Lanes in Malone is more than a sport. “I was a senior bowling. She was a freshman. It was her first year bowling on the team,” recalled Taylor, who says he and wife found love at Lucky Strike. “A couple years go by, we both graduate high school, and things just fell into place.”

The state issued strict guidelines in order for bowlers like Bonville and Taylor to return.

"We were ready, we were just waiting for what the guidelines would be," said Lucky Strikes' owner, Scott McLaughlin.

Every other lane needs to be closed off, balls and shoes are sanitized before and after use, masks must be worn at all times, and food can only be served when seated. "Whatever we have to do, we will make it work," McLaughlin said.

He says the governor’s ok to open Monday is the best news he’s heard in 150 days. “I got the call Friday that we could open up Monday and I almost cried. It’s over,” McLaughlin said. He wasted no time to reopen and says he’s not surprised to see the lanes full on opening day. “We had some diehards that wanted to come in.”

"It's going to be a little different, but I think overall it will be the same kind of fun," Bonville said.

For this couple, the fun will continue to fill the lanes for many nights to come. “Definitely date night.” Taylor said.

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