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Larry The Bowler

Larry's Gutter Life

This traces Larry Woydziak's adventures as "Larry, the Bowler" tells, in his own words, his experiences in his quest to bowl in every Kansas county that has a bowling alley.

Larry the Bowler (Larry Woydziak)
How it Happened

How did I go about committing myself to bowling in every county in Kansas? It's quite simple really. I sat down to dinner with a bunch of folks I'd never met but felt like I had known forever. Casually mentioned an idea I had been kicking around in my head about bowling Kansas. I then found myself clinging desperately to my seat as enthusiasm and "Explorer Energy" swept the table. A few hours later I'm driving home asking myself the same question I have to face all too frequently in life, "What have I done?"

Equipment

Being careful to stay within my $2.00 budget I acquired the necessary equipment from a local thrift store. For the quite reasonable price of $1.95 I garnered the following: a bowling bag complete with one "Mother of Pearl" bowling ball inscribed with the name "Martha", one pair of tan bowling shoes with reinforced sole on the left foot, two bowling hand towels, one wrist support contraption with velcro straps, one pair of Martha's socks (slightly soiled) and a booklet of bowling coupons from 1988. I tossed the ball in a friend's flower garden for his birthday and kept the rest to take with me. Martha's bag as well as her spirit will accompany us throughout our travels.

Research

After many hours of searching on the internet and going through phone books at the library I had a fair list of names and addresses. Next I started calling to ascertain hours of operation and ask about other alleys in neighboring counties. One of the difficulties I've encountered is that many bowling alleys are open only during the winter. Another is that most alleys operate only during evening hours which makes it tough to hit more than one a day. I have received many tips from fellow explorers and also have found local chambers and city offices to be most helpful. All of the people I've talked to over the phone and via e-mail have been most helpful.

Planning

There are differing views in this household on the value of planning. My lovely bride of 25+ years, Miss Constance, believes planning leads to success in accomplishing a goal, any goal, and of course she's right. I can plan and have planned in the past. Sometimes those plans have worked out just fine. On Occasion my plans have gone awry but only because of some relatively small detail. Miss Constance says that I might have a problem understanding the relationship between "What's relative and what's reality." I'm not sure, but she says she's going to fix that for me. I'm thinking she's got a plan.

For the purposes of our bowling venture or as Miss Constance likes to call it "Larry's Gutter Life" my plan will be as follows: pick a town, pick a road or two, use addresses only to confirm a place exists then forget it, load Martha and hit the road. This kind of plan allows one to see lots of stuff you never expected to see. Miss Constance agrees.

So it Begins

Larry talks with folks at the 2000 Kansas Sampler Festival in Ottawa about his adventures
Here are excerpts -
3 counties out of the 79.

Jefferson County
Montgomery County
Ellsworth County