Bowled overPublished 3:34pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013
After 34 years of national tournament competition, Loren Kaiser of Albert Lea was inducted into the United States Bowling Congress Minnesota Hall of Fame on March 23 at a ceremony at Jackpot Junction Casino in Morton along with five others.
“I never dreamed I would get an honor like the Minnesota State Hall of Fame,” Kaiser said in his acceptance speech.
Kaiser qualified for the Hall as a superior performance pioneer.
Twenty-four of Kaiser’s relatives, most of whom bowl, too, were in the audience the night he was inducted.
As a certified coach and instructor, Kaiser has had the unique opportunity to coach many of his relatives along with hundreds of others.
“A lot of the guys on the leagues here at Holiday Lanes are the ones that have come through our program,” Kaiser said. “It’s neat having a finger on all of them.”
Among Kaiser’s endless awards and achievements on display in the office at Holiday Lanes are photos, newspaper clippings and bowling memorabilia of and from his family. He manages the bowling alley.
In his speech at the induction ceremony Kaiser spoke to a room of about 400 people and spent more time talking about the achievements of his family than himself. He asked each of the 24 family members to stand up as he went through a list of bowling achievements asking each one to sit down if he or she fit the category. As Kaiser read the final item, there were only two family members left standing — his granddaughter, Paige and grandson, Parker.
At that time, Kaiser presented the two with rings they earned for bowling 300 games in February and December.
“I’m extremely proud of that,” Kaiser said. “It was pretty neat to do that in front of that many people.”
Also in his speech, Kaiser thanked Matt Lang for nominating him to the Hall of Fame, Jerry and Dean Sonnek for getting him started in bowling and many others who have helped him along the way including his wife, Terri.
The two actually met 19 years ago because Kaiser was coaching Terri’s daughter, Lori Wika.
One day he gathered the courage to visit Terri at the grocery store where she worked. The first time through her line, he didn’t have the courage to ask her out. After returning home he decided he better go back a second time to try again. Strolling up to her line with a bottle of barbecue sauce in his hand, Kaiser got the job done and the two began dating. The two have since been married for 18 years, and Kaiser still has the bottle of barbecue sauce.
“She’s my best friend; I can’t roll anything past her,” Kaiser said.
Kaiser first started bowling after he got out of the service. For two years while he was stationed in Alaska he would hang out at the bowling alley for something to do, but he never bowled, just drank coffee.
But that all changed. At 66, Kaiser has bowled for more than 40 years and has set a goal of continuing to coach and shooting a 300 after he turns 70.
Over his career, Kaiser has had seven 800 series, 20 300 games, five 299 games and one 298 game. He is an inductee of the Albert Lea Hall of Fame who has served on the board of directors for 20 years and was president for six years.
The first year Kaiser bowled he averaged 146. Today, he averages 220. His highest single-season average is marked at 233.
Kaiser has won several championships including:
State Moose singles (1978)
State Moose team (1977)
State Legion team (1979)
Albert Lea Association singles (four times)
Albert Lea Association singles scratch (four times)
Albert Lea Association doubles (six times)
Albert Lea Association team (seven times)
Albert Lea Association team scratch (nine times)
Albert Lea Association all events (three times)
Albert Lea Association all events scratch (four times)
Austin doubles (one time)
Austin team (two times)
Tournament of Champions (one time)
Address: 424 Oregon St.
Livelihood: co-manager at Holiday Lanes
Family: wife, Terri; six children; 15 grandchildren
Interesting fact: Kaiser used to think bowling was for sissies.