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Bowling: Special things are happening on the Sibley lanes

SIBLEY, Iowa -- In bowling, when you're about to do something you've never done before, you've got to fight off all sorts of thoughts threatening to derail your dreams.

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Mark Hawkins (left) and Brittany Dorschner (right) achieved remarkable bowling success in the span of a week at reBar Lounge and Lanes in Sibley, Iowa. Hawkins rolled his first 300 game and Dorschner set the alley's all-time women's series. The business is owned by Jesse Kruger (center) and wife Cassie. (Doug Wolter/The Globe)

SIBLEY, Iowa -- In bowling, when you’re about to do something you’ve never done before, you’ve got to fight off all sorts of thoughts threatening to derail your dreams.

Mark Hawkins, 63, was on the verge of rolling the first 300 game of his career on April 8 at reBar Lounge & Lanes in Sibley. It was on a league night, and everybody else stopped short in silence when he picked up his ball for the 10th frame.

“It made it feel like I was the only one there bowling,” he remembered.

“I thought, ‘Oh God. Could this be the night?’ And some strange feelings go in you. My arm started tingling, and I thought, ‘Oh no. Not now.’”

Three days later, Brittany Dorschner attempted to break the Sibley women’s series record.

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“By my third game, I thought I was close. But I didn’t want to add it up in my head and psyche myself,” she recalled.

As it turned out, both Hawkins and Dorschner successfully maneuvered through to the end. Hawkins got his 300 game and Dorschner rolled a 740 series -- spectacular feats, and a landmark occasion for new owners Jesse and Cassie Kruger, who took over the town’s bowling business in August of last year.

“I had the chance to do it. And I thought, ‘What the heck, why not?’” Jesse explained this week.

Bowling’s popularity in 2019 is not as widespread as it has been in the past. Some area towns with long-standing traditions of bowling activity -- including Worthington -- have lost their alleys. But the sport has been a fixture in Sibley for as long as anyone can remember, and thanks to the Krugers it’s likely to continue for many years to come.

The biggest changes the Krugers brought to the bar-lanes operation is probably the food. Jesse has a passion for good food, and he likes to experiment. Breakfasts are served on Saturday mornings, there is a lunch special on Sundays, and Jesse cuts and grinds his own meat for burgers.

Hawkins, a Sibley resident and a 1974 graduate of Sibley High School, rolled a 202 in his first game on the 8th. He followed with his 300, then finished with a 205. He carries a 199 average.

He said he had no lucky strikes during his 300 game, and in the 10th frame all the pins went down quickly.

His reaction was an explosion of emotion. “It was just like Tiger Woods hitting that last putt (at this year’s Masters). It’s a great feeling. I hope it never goes away,” he said.

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“I really wanted it,” he continued. “It’s on the bucket list. It’s nice to get that one out of the way, so everything else will be a breeze.”

Dorschner, a Wilmont resident who grew up in the Worthington area, rolled a higher series once before -- a 761 at Oxford Lanes in Worthington. But just prior to setting the Sibley record she had been struggling.

But not so on her special night. She started with a 258, then a 280, and then a 202 (she carries a 191 average), beating the all-time record by three pins.

“I was actually bowling against my husband (Matt). They switched it up so we would bowl against each other.”

Matt also bowled an excellent series. In fact, it was his best ever.

“All he said was, ‘I bowled the best series of my life, and it still didn’t come close to what you got,” laughed Brittany, who said she feels very comfortable bowling in the northwest Iowa town.

“I was welcomed,” she explained. “And it was nice to come, and everyone made me feel welcome. It’s kind of like leaving one bowling family and getting another one.”

To sign up for reBar Lounge and Lanes league play, bowlers can call 712-754-2322.

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