Pin-chomper at the lanes
Try to imagine that the last bowling ball you threw split a pin in half, with splinters flying every-which-way. Well, that’s what the mural on the Mount Morris Lanes wall looks like.
“The outside of the building needed some repairs and a new paint job, so I wanted to add something different,” explained Lanes owner/manager Bob Santini, grinning. “The cinderblock wall, painted light gray, was getting a little drab.”
Bob’s late father “Sarge” Santini was owner/manager of the Lanes for many years, so Bob has been around the business since he was a little kid. He became officially part of the business as a 22 year-old just out of college in 1986.
Although bowling is the primary activity of the Lanes, there is also a bar and lunch service year round, with reduced hours in the summer. There are also bowling specials in the off-season when the leagues are not dominating the lanes.
Bob owns and manages a popular second business on Mill Street in Mount Morris. It’s Bob’s Dugout, where you can enjoy scrumptious charbroiled burgers, Italian sausage and chicken sandwiches to name a few. This is a summer operation when the bowling leagues aren’t knocking down pins.
A small serving of hard ice cream or frozen custard at the Dugout is the size of a large in most other ice cream places; very generous.
When I asked Bob to describe himself in one word, he said “I’ll have to use two: ‘hard working’” This wasn’t said in a bragging manner, but with a true understanding of himself. I agree, and so do many others who know him.
“‘Hard working,’ though, makes it tough for me to delegate,” he said, smiling “I’m real hands on with the businesses.”
Bob was stuck on the question of what he would be doing for a living if he wasn’t owning and managing two businesses. “I can’t think of what that would be,” he reflected. “I’ve never worked for anyone else, so I probably couldn’t do that.”
Bob still finds time to do some bowling to relax. He bowls two nights a week in a regular league at his own ‘haunts’, where he is sporting an impressive 215 average. Back in 1993, Bob and some college buddies made up a team that won a national tournament.
Chris Mead, an artist from Perry and owner of Southpaw Signs (that’s because she’s left-handed), created the mural. Chris has no formal training as an artist, just natural talent. She collaborated on this project with Mount Morris artist Gary Better, with whom she’s done jobs in the past.