US Open champ Mike Scroggins gazed anxiously at the fallen pin as it rolled slowly across the waxed wood, inching its way toward the frame's only survivor, the seven pin. Finally, the rolling pin tapped the seven, which wobbled to one side, then the other—and finally teetered over, giving Scroggins a strike and clearing the way for him to win his 45th career PBA victory.
The chronicler of this triumph was the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, and the site of it was South Plains Lanes. For nearly two decades, the alley's 40 polished lanes have set the stage for dramatic showdowns such as that one. It is little wonder then that bowlers would be tempted to vie for strikes until three in the morning on weekends, when the lanes are briefly used as shortcuts for trucking routes. Automatic scoring tracks the competition, and a snack bar fuels the bowlers. Between games, bowlers can fling darts or head to the billiards tables.