By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: August 2009
Janie Steidley, Pam Martin, and Curtis Eastom welcome you to Thunder Bowl.
Looking for some good, clean family fun that doesn’t include the heat and the sun? Tired of sitting inside and staring at a screen to escape the weather? It’s time to go bowling! It’s as much fun as you remember, but if you haven’t been to Claremore’s Thunder Bowl in the last few years, you are sure to be surprised. The former Country Club Lanes is now called Thunder Bowl and after a storm of renovation and updates, the atmosphere is perfect for a good time.
Owners Dan and Lora Neldon bought the alley two years ago, and Thunder Bowl now boasts state-of-the-art bowling equipment, including new bumpers and gutters to go along with the refinished wooden lanes. The bumpers are coordinated with the automatic scoring system and can be programmed to raise or lower depending on the person bowling. Flat screen monitors at each lane display scores or can be used to watch the news, sporting events or catch the weather. Manager Pam Martin shared that the response to the updates has been overwhelming. “We really appreciate all the compliments on the facility; it’s been wonderful to see the progress.”
A full service pro shop is available, offering all types of bowling items, including balls, shoes, specialty items and apparel. Pro shop manager Curtis Eastom grew up bowling, and his enthusiasm for the game is apparent in the service he offers.
Janie Steidley is a familiar face behind the counter. She has worked in the alley grill for 18 years and offers a variety of items including full chicken dinners, burger baskets, corn dogs, hot dogs and more. Kids’ meals are available along with favorites such as grilled cheese, giant pickles and a variety of beverages, from energy drinks and soft drinks to domestic and imported beers.
Don’t miss the colored pencil drawings in the family arcade room. Featuring sketches of professional bowlers, these hand-drawn treasures are the work of long-time bowler Dick Burke. At 86 years old, Burke has given 13 drawings to Thunder Bowl so far and has plans for several more. Manager Pam Martin says they are thrilled with his gifts to the hometown business. “We have a lot of regulars who come in, and they just become like family. We really appreciate them and are so happy they enjoy spending time here.”
All ages can enjoy the leagues offered at Thunder Bowl. From the Bumper Babies to the Swingin’ Seniors, there is something for everyone. Pam says they have league bowlers from as young as 3 and 4 years up to regulars who are in their 80s and 90s. Several of the Thunder Bowl leagues are sanctioned through the United States Bowling Congress, which makes individuals and teams eligible for awards and recognition for bowling achievements.
League coordinator Sue Lee is forming fall leagues now and is hoping to start a Battle of the Businesses next spring. “We are looking for participating teams to start after the holidays – it’s really a lot of fun.” Thunder Bowl is also looking for sponsors and participants for its fall high school bowling program. Started last year, the high school program is completely free for the students who take part. Teams from Keys, Verdigris, Foyil, Chelsea, Claremore and Owasso took the top honors during the past season.
Special bowling events each week include Quartermania on Sundays, “Bowl One Game, Get One Free” weekdays from
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., hourly rent-a-lane packages any day of the week, and glow bowling Friday nights from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
A private party room is available for birthdays, meetings and other gatherings. There are four party plans available as well, which range from basic to all-out party. Special bowling rates are offered to seniors, schools, churches, childcare centers and other organizations. Further information about specials, leagues and party planning can be found on the Thunder Bowl website at www.thunder-bowl.com or by calling (918) 342-1055.