While Sikeston is not a St. Louis with a variety of entertainment to choose from, there are some jewels that will sparkle if only used.
One of those gems is the Sikeston Bowling Center and Pro Shop located at 1601 E. Malone.
Owned and operated by Bill and Wanda Cashmer, the center has 16 lanes for bowling, an arcade with several games and a couple of pool tables to choose from.
"I feel like we try to portray a family atmosphere," said Bill Cashmer. "Bowling is something everybody can get out and do. During our open bowling nights we have a good combination of adults and kids in the center. We have a lot of people bring their kids out and they all have a good time. Sometimes the kids do get a little rowdy, so we have to settle them down a bit. But overall, everybody is just bowling and having a good time."
The bowling center is usually abuzz with activity during the fall season with leagues forming and competing during these months. During the summer, the leagues are usually winding down allowing ample opportunity for open play for everybody.
"In the fall during the weekends," said Cashmer, "it can get pretty crowded here. We usually having a waiting list during those times. During the fall, we have open play on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. We have one league going on in the summer and that is a mixed league with men and women. In the fall we have a men's and a ladies league.
"We used to have a mixed and couples leagues a few years ago. Now, we have had a lot of people inquiring about forming those leagues again and we might do that in the fall and play on Fridays and Saturdays. Currently, we have a youth league that bowls on Saturday mornings."
The corporate games hold their bowling competition at the center during the summer.
Many schools, church groups and civic organizations use the center for their enjoyment. According to Cashmer, these groups receive discounts if they use the center.
The bowling center will start their adult leagues in the third week of August after the Sikeston Rodeo finishes up. A kids league will start in October.
To join a league, simply come to the bowling center and make contact with Cashmer. Give Cashmer your name, address and when you would want to bowl. Cashmer will meet with the captains of the teams already in the league and see if they have any openings. If none exist, you will be put on a waiting list. Or, have a team already formed and come to Cashmer with the information and you will be ready to go.
The bowling center uses paid advertisement in and around the lanes to bring some visibility to local businesses. The ads are paid for one year and Cashmer will take care of getting a sign made.
"It is really a good tool for someone to buy an advertisement here," said Cashmer. "During the fall, an ad is seen seven days a week by gobs of people. We have about a half-dozen of ad space available right now."
A big crowd-pleaser at the center for kids is the cosmic bowling which takes place every Friday night.
"Cosmic bowling is where I turn off all my lights in the place," said Cashmer.
"I have some disco lights and black lights that we turn on. My panels in the back of the alley glow with the black lights and we turn up the music. We have a pretty good group during that time, with 12-14 lanes occupied. It is a good time for the kids in the safest possible environment. We do not serve alcohol during cosmic bowling because the lights are so low I can't monitor everybody in a safe manner, so the parents can relax and know that their kid is having a great time in a safe environment."
Cashmer believes that his employees make the whole operation run very smoothly.
"I have a good crew of employees that work extremely hard," said Cashmer. "I can't say enough about our employees. Without them, life would be real tough."
While many come for the bowling and the arcade, the food could quite possibly be the main attraction at the center.
The center has an extensive menu that keeps the folks happy and full.
"I think we have some of the best food in town," said Cashmer.
"We have a large variety of food from burgers, hot dogs, pork tenderloins, mozzarella sticks, and toasted ravioli. We have a couple of items that nobody in town has. I would put our nachos against anybody's in Sikeston."
Perhaps the biggest asset of the center is that it will not break the bank to take a family out for a night of bowling.
It costs $2.75 for a game and $1.25 for shoe rental.
During the summer, the center is closed on Sunday and Monday. The doors open at 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and at 1 p.m. on Saturday. On Friday and Saturday, closing time is at 11 p.m. The rest of the week depending on volume, the center will close at 9 p.m. or 9:30 p.m.
For more information contact Bill Cashmer at (573) 471-2430.