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(Neb)-Chadron Bowling Alley Reopens Under New Owner  Listen

By: John Axtell Posted at: 01/06/2018 11:58 PM
CHADRON - If the first night was any indication, the reopened Hilltop Lanes bowling alley in Chadron will be a big hit. All the lanes were full nearly non-stop Friday to closing time after 11:00 with high school and college students and young adults making up most of the crowd.

     New owner and Chadron native Mike Gunwall worked at the alley as a young man when it was owned by Millie Heiser, his wife's grandmother. He says that connection and the fact bowling has always been part of his life led to his decision to buy it.


      The bowling alley has changed hands several times since it was owned by Heiser, who died in 2009 at the age of 90. Gunwall purchased it from the Sayaloune family and says they made the transition very easy.

   
Friday night's younger-skewing crowd fits in very nicely with Gunwall's goal for the bowling alley: giving Chadron another safe and healthy entertainment alternative.

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Gunwall didn't publicize Friday night's opening because he wanted to give his staff a chance to ease into things and because he's still waiting for approval of a liquor license which he expects to receive later this month.

    Bowling leagues at the Hilltop Lanes thrived for many years, but dropped off sharply in the last 15 years or so, both a result and cause of some of the changes in ownership.

      Gunwall expects to see strong participation in leagues next fall and beyond, but is also working with the student government at Chadron State College to provide low-cost opportunities for students. He also hopes to see Chadron High School bring back bowling as an interscholastic sport.

       Hilltop Lanes is open Tuesday-Sunday with an 11:00 pm closing time that may be extended any given night depending on the crowd.


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