Valley City Times-Record
Sky Lanes soars with more lanes, leagues
Sky Lanes has continued to grow since the start of 2022, with many quality of life changes expanding the fun it can provide and restoring it to its place as a community hotspot.
“The machines were old, outdated, we needed tons of pins, there weren’t even enough pins to keep all eight lanes going,” Tammy Drake, owner of Sky Lanes, told the TimesRecord. “There’s no parts, there’s no nothing. It needed to be resurfaced, it needed lots of different things.”
Sky Lanes was awarded a $40,000 tourism grant in January by the city, though this grant had some stipulations – a claw back agreement was signed, requiring that they maintain the business for a number of years or be liable to repay the grant money based on a proration.
The Economic Development Corporation also approved $10,000 for quality of place improvements, to help further establish the bowling alley as a recreational activity area for adults and youth living or visiting the Sheyenne River Valley Area.
For Drake, the motivation for keeping the bowling alley going ties into the clear importance it has to the community, and particularly with the passion of Mary Berntson, owner of Prairie Frame Shop in Valley City, who has been keeping the many bowling leagues in Valley running and thriving.
“She organizes everything,” Drake said. “I don’t people understand, I’m 54-years-old and she taught me how to bowl. She has dedicated all her time … she volunteers … she’s up here with every league, she comes up with the women’s league on Tuesdays, for the kids’ league on Sunday, the mixed league on Wednesday, she’s here being the coach. She pretty much works every single day, she has no time for herself. I don’t think people understand that. She used to pay people to run her store so she could be up here with the bowling. Without her, Valley City Leagues wouldn’t be where they are. She pushes them, encourages them.”
Bowling is Berntson’s
life, a passion she’s had since she was just a kid herself.
“I started bowling when I was ten here,” Berntson said. “My mother got me into bowling, she was a coach, I got into coaching and I’ve just enjoyed it ever since. I enjoy the game myself.”
Berntson wants to keep the love of the game going in Valley City’s youth, and her hard work has certainly borne results.
“We are growing,” Berntson said. “We have a very active program with the kids. And the kids league makes the adult leagues. A lot of our adults … were youth bowlers like myself … that’s what we find here, we can keep our kids bowling even after we get them out of the youth leagues.”
Sky Lanes has bowling league just about every single day, except Saturdays. Friday is still open bowl, Rock’n’Bowl, and Saturday is open bowl 6-10, which is the best time for people to schedule parties, Drake said.
Beyond the bowling, Sky Lanes has completed work on an arcade area, and has installed vents to help augment their kitchen facilities – they serve food and beer, and welcome folks to come down and stay awhile, enjoying hot food, great bowling and a chance to take part in a long-standing favorite activity of the Valley City community.