Kingpins and diamonds : ninepin bowling survives as a cultural relic thanks to tradition and family values in small town Texas




Selvidge, Spencer Myers

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Today, and for the last 20 years, the Blanco Bowling Club and Café has seen a decrease of active membership and faces real challenges to maintain relevance in an ever-evolving world of technology, activities, entertainment and economic uncertainty.

Ninepin bowling is spread over four mostly rural counties in Texas’ Hill Country with 18 different alleys, including Blanco. Though Blanco’s population has grown over the last 50 years, its bowling club’s membership hasn’t. Blanco, a town of 2,205 people is a rural outlier statistically – it has grown every 10 years since the 1950s. From 2000 to 2010, Blanco’s population grew by over 33 percent, more than double Texas’ average and almost five times the national growth rate. Several factors could account for Blanco’s growth, but being roughly 45 miles from both Austin and San Antonio and being located on a state highway doesn’t hurt. Gourley suspects that now more than ever people are calling Blanco home while working in nearby population centers. They don’t get out into the community as much.

The club, and to some extent the town itself, is and has been under a quiet assault from the modern world.



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