Story Chelsea Chambers Photography Emma Thompson
Feet skitter to a stop as the ball rolls gracefully toward its goal: ten perfectly stacked pins lay in waiting. Tensions rise, seconds pass like hours. Will the athletic curve ball spin the way it’s intended to? Will there be the perfect collision? The sounds of success echo across the lanes, pins tumble to the floor with their signature sound. Dozens of other balls meet their mark and the building is filled with cheers, high fives, and victory celebrations….or, the sounds of the ball sliding into the gutter, silently rolling out of sight, into the abyss of temporary failure.
Bowling alleys like Meridian Lanes, located on South Meridian Road, have been hearing these same sounds for more than fifty years, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. They take pride in their successful league tournaments and open bowling nights. They have tasty food and drink specials and is a fantastic place to take the whole family out—any day of the week!
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the other amazing centers to check out across the Valley like Emerald Lanes, Westy’s, Pinz, KT’s Lanes, and more! It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro bowler with a solid 300 streak or a fan of the bumper lanes, bowling is a great way to get out, socialize, exercise, and have fun!
We had the chance to talk with a few of the amazing bowlers here in Idaho and are excited to share their interviews with you!
What got you started in bowling?
Jennifer Bailey: My father. He absolutely loved to bowl. I mean, I practically grew up in the bowling alley! It just seemed natural.
James Pinckney: My basketball coach a long, long time ago used to take us bowling after basketball. Although I didn’t think it was cool, it was always fun.
Katelyn Simpson (KT): I got started in bowling because my family has bowled my entire life. I grew up in a bowling center. My mom bowled when she was pregnant with me and basically up until I was born!
How long have you been bowling?
Jennifer Bailey: I started when I was 9, then I bowled until I was about 18. I bowled intermittently as a adult, so all together probably about 25 years of my life.
James Pinckney: I have been bowling for 35 years now.
Katelyn Simpson (KT): I started bowling when I was 3 years old!
Do you play on a team or a league?
Jennifer Bailey: I am in a mixed league on Tuesdays. I bowled in my first PBA [Professional Bowling Association] league over the summer… and learned maybe why I am not a professional bowler…
James Pinckney: I play on a week team twice a week and coach at Centennial High School.
Katelyn Simpson (KT): I have bowled on leagues since I was 3 up until I bowled collegiately. Even then, I bowled on a league a couple of years. I’m back on a league again at my parents’ center (KT’s Lanes), where I bowl on a team with my grandpa. I am currently a professional bowler. I bowled on tours this last summer.
What are your long-term and short-term goals?
Jennifer Bailey: I would like to participate in more local tournaments and average at least a 210 this year. My long-term goal is to finally shoot a 300!
James Pinckney: Well my long-term goal has already happened, which was to bowl a 300. But my short-term is to average at least a 220 this year.
Katelyn Simpson (KT): Long-term goals are to win a pro national title one day. I recently just won a regional title. Short-term goals are to just fine tune my game. Make the necessary adjustments and changes to make my weaknesses not so weak.
What are you interested in outside of bowling?
Jennifer Bailey: I love to golf! And the two have pretty opposite seasons, so it works out perfectly!
James Pinckney: My new love is golf and I pretty much stink at it. But I love all sports, I’ve just been bowling the longest.
Katelyn Simpson (KT): There’s life outside of bowling? Just kidding! I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I like going to MLB games. And hanging out with my bowling goldendoodles, Blake and Adam, who are nationally known for the bowling skills.
Any advice for aspiring bowlers?
Jennifer Bailey: Practice! Especially your corner pins. And have fun! It’s really difficult to bowl when you’re frustrated.
James Pinckney: Remember to always have fun and it’s a great networking opportunity! Meet new friends and go for an outing with your friends.
Katelyn Simpson (KT): My advice is to just keep practicing. Practice those spares, ask for help when needed from a coach or people in the industry and never stop learning!
Bowling is the perfect indoor sport for the chilly season and a great activity for family and friends! With dozens of bowling alleys around the Treasure Valley and beyond, there’s no reason not to go!