Since our last chat, we’ve run two more Challenge Nights at Hood River’s bowling emporium, Orchard Lanes. 

These Challenge nights feature different oil patterns on the lanes. In bowling parlance we call an oil patterns the “shot.” Even the slightest change in an oil pattern will test your bowling skills! We are able to apply an unlimited array of shots with our state of the art computerized lane machine.

The pattern we selected for the Challenge on July 22 is called Easy Street. Easy Street is considered to be a medium distance pattern of 38 feet and it’s rather dry with only 18.7 ml of oil applied to each lane. As with most patterns, a side view of the oil application looks like a top hat and in this case these was 12 times more oil in the middle 15 boards compared to the outside toward the gutters. Easy Street is considered to be a recreational pattern favorable to many different bowler styles and ball choices. High rev players can swing it and low rev styles can play more direct. When it’s wet in the middle, a pull will tend to set. If it’s dry on the outside, you can swing the ball and it will hook back into the pocket. The toughest thing about Easy Street is its dryness, which will require bowlers to impart more speed or less revs. To be successful on this pattern, the ball needs to be on the 7 board with 22 feet left to get to the pocket. The Challenges are four-game tests with both scratch and handicap winners. The handicap is based on 90 percent of a 220 average; 22 bowlers turned out for Easy Street fun and the results follow:

Our local living legend on the lanes, all-star and all-pro Jeff Miller from The Dalles, the odds-on favorite to win every time he laces up, won the scratch division with an 889 total, a 222 average. Pretty much ho-hum for the 6-foot-5 power player who entered with a 224 average. Second in scratch action went to The Dalles lean and lanky Matt Hodges with 873 sticks, a 218 average. Matt entered with a 201 average which indicates he bowled well over his average. Matt’s a big guy who has a big back-swing that apexes well over his head, like a lot of pros.

Obviously, he liked the drier Easy Street pattern probably because he can generate great speed with that big back-swing. And, no wonder, Matt also took the handicap division with a 945 total. Fred Bergren got second with 926.

We ran another Challenge night on Aug. 5 on an oil pattern called “Bourbon Street.” This pattern puts down more oil at 23.45 ml per lane and its 40 feet in length. Its more challenging at a ratio of 7 to 1 looking at the amount of oil in the middle as compared to the outside of the lane. At 40 feet, the ball needs to be at about the 9-10 board which leaves 20 feet for it to hook back into the pocket. It appears bowlers will need to hook the ball to be successful on this pattern; 25 bowlers turned out for Bourbon Street and the results follow:

Lynn Spellman, whose smooth finesse style put a spell on the sticks to win the scratch division with an 881 total, a 220 average. Lynn capped the evening’s action in the fourth game with a clutch, come from behind near perfect 298. He splashed 11 straight fine strikes in a row but just pulled that final 12th ball attempt at nirvana and the 4-7 pins stood upright in defiance. Nevertheless, a big finish like that is an exciting way to win. Lynn bowled well as he finished 93 pins over his average. The man who has no peer in the hook department, Air Force fueler Jeff Brittle took second with 869 pins, a 217 average. Mr. Brittle practically uses the entire lane to contain that big hooking ball of his, it must turn at least 3 feet! Jeffrey also won the handicap division with a 977 total.

Great bowling everybody!

We plan on running another Challenge Night with a different oil pattern in a couple of week so why not test your skills? Call Pat Olson at 541-386-1326 to sign up.

Many thanks to everybody who are supporting us through these difficult times. Please give some consideration to bowling leagues which are scheduled to start in about a month at Orchard Lanes.

We have a spacious center that provides ample room for social distancing, so bring your mask and have some fun bowling. We all need some recreation.

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