Owners of Trail Lanes bowling alley make upgrades

Transferring ownership June 1, the Hillsboro Trail Lanes bowling alley in Hillsboro is undergoing several changes.

Already proprietors of Peabody Lanes in Peabody and Pla -Bowl Lanes in Herington, Curtis and Christy McBride have been waiting for the opportunity to obtain the downtown Hillsboro bowling alley.

?Originally, when we bought Peabody back in September of 2007, we immediately started thinking it would be cool to be the proprietor of the bowling alley in Hillsboro as well,? Curtis McBride said.

The previous owners of Trail Lanes didn?t see it that way at the time.

Having been denied the opportunity to take over Trail Lanes, the McBrides were convinced by a bowling friend to purchase Pla-Bowl in Herington.

?He kept bugging us to death,? McBride said. ?Finally, because we were getting annoyed with him, we shot him an offer and he said ?sure let?s do it.??

Less than a year after buying Pla-Bowl, Trail Lanes became available.

?We couldn?t pass it up and hopefully it was good decision,? McBride said.

With the new ownership comes upgrades and changes, including the availability of adult beverages.

For the first time since it opened, Trail Lanes will be able to serve beer. The McBrides have obtained a cereal malt beverage license and think it will attract more bowlers.

?With bowling these days you have to utilize all your avenues to be profitable,? McBride said. ?Not serving beer or wine coolers or whatever was not an option.?

Another major change to Trail Lanes will be the availability of open bowling.

Previously the lanes were opened for bowling leagues two nights a week and rarely swung open its doors for non league bowlers.

?I don?t think they were open on Friday and Saturday nights,? McBride said. ?Occasionally they were, but not that often.?

Also in the plans is the addition of another league, for a total of three.

?Tuesday or Wednesday night will be the night we try to get another league started,? McBride said. ?I don?t know what that league will be yet. I don?t know what the interest level will be.?

In order to bring in the novice bowler, Trail Lanes is undergoing the conversion to an automatic scoring system. Currently, bowlers keep track of scoring by hand.

Having purchased the technology and equipment necessary to make the switch, the McBrides are now trying to find someone to install the system.

?We?re two state removed from anyone who?s remotely competent enough to install an automatic scoring system,? McBride said. ?So, we?re negotiating with a guy from California, which is real expensive.?

Another modernization, which is already started, is the change to the cosmetic appearance to the alley.

Trail Lanes is embracing Hillsboro High School and Tabor College with maroon scheme on the masking unit and subway covers and blue and white walls.

Remodeling will continue after the Aug. 2 opening date, but should not impede bowlers.

?The majority of things that will keep bowlers from being able to bowl are done,? McBride said.

Coinciding with the Aug. 2 opening is National Bowling Week. Trail Lanes will be running specials all week and bowlers can download a coupon for a free game at gobowling.com.

The coupons can be redeemed on world record day (Aug. 7), when bowlers will try to exceed a nationwide one million games bowled.

McBride encourages everyone, from novice to expert, to try Hillsboro?s newest indoor sport and to leave their insecurities at home.

?Bowling is fun. Therefore if you can?t bowl, it?s still fun.?

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