A true passion for the sport of bowling led Beau and Kirsten Peterson to take the plunge and purchase
Starlite Lanes in McPherson at the end of July. Beau is a local kid that grew up attending Canton-Galva schools while playing baseball, before attending Hutchinson Community College and then getting a degree in accounting at Central Christian College.
For the past 20 years, Beau also made a name for himself for his skill at bowling — skills that include 32 perfect 300-games and an opportunity to spend his weekends this past five years bowling professionally as a card member of the PBA (Professional Bowling Association).
Kirsten, on the other hand, grew up attending schools in Buhler and gaining statewide honors bowling for the Crusader’s high school team.
When the bowling alley came up for a sale this spring, Beau and Kirsten jumped on the idea and purchased Starlite Lanes at 900 W. Kansas, in an effort to not only pursue their passion for bowling, but to give McPherson and the surrounding communities an opportunity to rekindle the fun of bowling, whether it be in a league with friends or during open bowling as a family.
The first order of business was for the Peterson’s to make sure they kept Nettie Wann, Beau’s aunt, in place as the youth bowling director. This fall will mark Wann’s 45th running the youth bowling programs at Starlite. She is also a fixture in the women’s bowling leagues. Wann’s son, Tom, will be serving as the manager of the bowling alley as Beau is still employed full-time in Wichita.
Despite taking the keys as owners just 11 days ago, the Peterson’s already have13 bowling leagues set to work the lanes Monday through Saturday. The 13 leagues include six that are adult-mixed leagues, three for women only, three for youths and one for me only.
Tuesday nights are for Tuesday Youth and Tuesday Middle/Senior High leagues while Saturday’s will have youth leagues for all levels of experience and include the availability of coaching.
While Beau wants to build up the youth programs that have fallen on hard times, he also is game to growing opportunities for adults.
“I remember growing up and having like 150 kids or more during the youth bowling and more recently they have had maybe 40,” said Peterson. “We want to change that and help the kids discover the fun of bowling.”
As for the adult opportunities, Peterson said, “We will be looking to start new leagues if enough interest is shown, including a possible Tuesday evening family league for parents and kids to bowl together. We would look at leagues to even run on Sunday afternoon or evenings with maybe a church league or industrial league. Right now, we have 13 leagues to build from and get the people excited once again about how fun bowling can be, that’s where we are starting from with hopes of building from those.”
Other things that are being looked at include team and league sponsorships, plaque or trophy recognition for league champions, recognitions for those who increase their scores over a season and a referral program where local association’s sanction fees could be waved for referring a new bowler to a league if they complete a 12-week season.
“As an added bonus to paying for sanction fees, we are considering giving the referee an additional $10 for each bowler they refer to a league that completes the league season. Plus, as an added incentive and an opportunity to give back to the bowling community, we will have an additional promotion to get bowlers back into the McPherson Association by putting every 50 new bowlers that sign up and their referrers into a random drawing for a brand-new bowling ball of the winners’ choice,” Peterson said.
The fun begins for the new owners of Starlite Lanes on at 6 p.m. on August 20 when they will be hosting the annual McPherson Bowlers Association Meeting.
Along with the meeting they will be having a Barbecue for a $5 charge. Peterson’s passion for bowling bubbles over when talking about the MBA meeting kickoff as he emphasized that for those interested in joining a bowling league, the meeting and barbecue is a great way to come out and meet some fellow bowlers while getting signed up for a league.
August 21 will be the official kickoff for Starlite Lanes as they reopen to the public.
Peterson pointed out that those interested should follow their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/starlitelane/ to follow the week-long celebration of reopening and all the events they will be having.
“We are planning to include special rates for bowling during the opening week celebration,” said Peterson.
“Open bowling will begin each day at 5 p.m., plus we are planning to have Cosmic Night bowling each night as added fun.”
Among other plans for the new future of Starlite Lanes, Peterson mentioned that they are in serious talks with a prospective new tenant for the adjacent restaurant, though running the full bar will be the responsibility of the bowling alley.
Also, being considered for a possible reopening next spring or summer could be the small putt-putt golf course that sits on the west side of the west parking area of the bowling alley, as Peterson explained it – the putt-putt course would give an added opportunity to make the Starlite Lanes complex a prospective spot for family and friends to meet and just have some good fun.
With bowling leagues scheduled to begin on August 27, Peterson wanted to remind the community that the bowling alley would still have open bowling on a daily basis depending on the availability of lanes. The new Starlite Lanes will be open from 5 p.m. to sometime after 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, while Sundays hours are still to be decided and may depend on getting any Sunday leagues going.
According to Peterson, one thing that will not change is those fun times of Cosmic Night bowling at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
If you are looking for something fun to do with family or friends, Peterson encourages you to come out and get reintroduced to the fun of bowling at the new Starlite Lanes.
For more information about open bowling, league bowling or renting out the bowling lanes, or for an event or party, call (620) 480-2956.