How much do you really know about bowling pins?


Mike Hawkins Bowling Columnist


By Mike Hawkins

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Millions of people go bowling every year in the United States and whether you bowl in a weekly league or recreationally, you have an idea of the incredible pressure and the beating bowling pins take on a daily basis.

Consider this — bowlers launch bowling balls weighing up to 16 pounds between 12 and 22 miles per hour at bowling pins that then collide with each other! It’s a miracle they don’t snap in two before a league session ends.

So what makes these points of emphasis and targets of everyone so tough? The answer all lies in how they’re made.

Let’s start with the material the pins are made of. I’ve heard people share that something so tough must surely be made of some type of metal.

Actually, pins aren’t made of any type of metal, but really, wood; maple to be exact. And not just one big piece of maple either; bowling pins are made by connecting seven separate pieces of wood!

The process starts with three rectangular pieces of wood, 15 inches long, being glue together. Then two holes, about the size of a quarter, are drilled into the side to allow the pin to expand and contract with the changes in humidity we all experience.

A much smaller hole is also added to the bottom of the pin during this infancy stage. This allows for the rod to come up from the deck of the lane to hold that stubborn 10 pin in place on a pocket hit! No, not really; it just helps with that humidity situation as well.

The next step is to add a shorter block of maple to each side of the first three.

These pieces are what will become the “belly” of the pin.

Then it’s off to a lathe that will precisely shave this hunk of seven securely glued pieces of wood together into the shape we know as a bowling pin.

The lathe also cuts a precise circle on the bottom of each pin, where a plastic ring will be added to help the pin not crack on the bottom.

The pins are then covered with a white plastic laminate, have their two red stripes added to their neck and their brand logo along with the USBC seal applied before being packaged, 10 in a box and shipped to their new homes.

At the end of this process, the factory has birthed a brand new bowling pin, weighing between 3 pounds, 6 ounces and 3 pounds, 10 ounces, and being 15 inches long.

The local pins took their usual weekly beatings during league nights with Fellowship offering the most brutal of these. Jason Small smacked the pins around to the tune of a 235-697, while Mark Tarkington followed closely behind with a 242-673. Chad Freeman closed out the men’s leaders with a 234-661.

Kaytee Simpson tossed the second highest series by a lady bowler this season when she bagged a 267-653! Kaytee’s 267 game was comprised of the front 6 and final four strikes with a pair of spares in between. She was joined by Bobbi Jo Tarkington’s 209-569 and Brittney Gaumond’s 218-532.

Monday Night Mixed turned in some nice numbers last week led by Boris Beatty’s 222-634,Rondell Christian’s 223-629, and William Swinson’s 240-605. Debbie Winslow’s 192 game topped the ladies, followed by Stephanie Winslow’s 187 and Mary Beasley’s 180. Mary’s game was almost 50 pins over her average!

John Turner found the pocket pretty consistently last Thursday during MLK for a 238-661 while David Ange tossed a smooth 220-616, Rafael Riddick had a 237-601, and John Bradley claimed a 233 game.

The ladies’ side of the sheet included Debbie Winslow’s 192-567, Brenda Marx’s 186 game and Brenda Cowand’s 183 game.

The ladies leagues for the week were highlighted by Patsy Sanders 7 spares, 3 strikes 200 game from last Wednesday night’s Albemarle Rollers. Patsy’s gem featured a 4-5 split conversion along the way and a double in the 8th and 9th grame. Patsy finished with a 487 series.

Susie Thomas had the high series from Wednesday night with her 177-498 and was joined by Pamela Griffin’s 173-458 on the leaderboard. Sharon Yonek (174), Ocie Manos (167), and Debbie Regal (158) claimed the high games from Thursday morning’s All American Ladies league.

Jason Nistler paced the bumpers bowlers with a nice 126 game, followed by Ariana Mummert’s 114, Cheyanne Hardison’s 98, and Tristan Hardison’s 83 effort.

Joshua Davenport set new personal high score during the youth league this past Saturday when he bagged a 224-545 performance. His scratch numbers added up to a 276-701 with handicap added. His 200 game was the ninth deuce claimed by a youth bowler this season.

Joining Davenport on the youth leaders list was Emily Brewer (188-471), Christopher Vinson (160-458), Bryce Hawkins (169 game), and Daniel Castro (160 game).

Until next week, Good luck and good bowling!