Hot rollers at Freeze Frame Bowl
By John Burbridge
GREENE — It was about the time when Clark Freesemann should have been getting the “freeze-out” treatment.
He had just strung seven strikes in a row to start the second game in Tuesday Night Road Warriors League play at Freeze Frame Bowl, the six-lane house Freesemann owns located just outside Greene.
Like for a baseball pitcher taking a no-hitter or perfect game into the latter innings, you’re supposed to allow a bowler in line for perfection to retreat into his own isolated corner — or pocket — between frames and not speak a word to him let alone make eye-contact.
But Freesemann remained as gregarious as ever, and so were other league members with him.
“I hate to say it, but it’s gotten so common around here that it’s no big deal,” said Freesemann, who came up about a half-board high in the eighth frame and left a 7-pin.
Freesemann has several sanctioned 300 games to his credit. He even has the rare distinction of being a 300-game bowler and having recorded a verified hole-in-one in golf.
But for the current 2019-2020 bowling season at Freeze Frame, Freesemann has yet to roll a perfect game.
His patrons have had better luck.
With still several weeks remaining in the four Monday-thru-Thursday leagues at Freeze Frame, there have been 12 perfect games rolled this season in league and tournament play.
“That’s the most we’ve ever had,” Freesemann said.
Many of the perfect games have come from the “Road Warriors” who engage in a match-play format where — in addition to team points based on game and series totals — bowlers compete one-on-one for “match-play” points against bowlers from the opposing team who have the same spots in the lineup.
“It makes things more interesting,” Freesemann said. “You see that I have seven in a row, but I’m only 10 pins ahead of the guy I’m supposed to beat. That’s how competitive this league is.
“But what makes this season special is that the 300s have been bowled in all our leagues … all of our bowlers have gotten the experience of seeing someone bowl a perfect game.”
Among the 12 perfect games, Brett Lobdell has three of them. Up until March 3, Lobdell had the highest league three-game series (826) at Freeze Frame before Cody Brandau set a house record with an 834 series.
There have been four 800 series bowled at Freeze Frame this season — also an impressive total for a six-lane house.
Brandau has two of them with a previous 801. Dave Spencer has the other (803).
Though Brandau’s 834 is a Freeze Frame record, it’s not a personal-record.
“I actually can’t think of it right now,” said Brandau when asked to recall his highest series, “but it’s higher than 834.”
Interestingly, Brandau is not among the growing list of Freeze Frame 300 bowlers this season (so far). He has a 299 game this season and 26 perfect games during his career. Brandau also has 15 800 series.
“Yeah, that’s a lot at a local level,” said Brandau, a Mason City resident who bowled his first 800 series while rolling for the St. Ambrose University bowling team, “but across the nation there have been a number people who have rolled a 900 series. I haven’t gotten one of those yet.”
There’s a scorers’ shot at Freeze Frame, and Freesemann — who dresses the lanes — aims to keep it that way.
“Bowlers come from all over to bowl here,” Freesemann said as his house attracts rollers from up to 60 miles away in all directions. “If they’re willing to travel great distances after a hard day’s work, I should put in the effort in keeping the oil pattern consistent week after week.
“The oil is going to flatten out and move as the night goes on. Conditions are going to change and bowlers are going to have to adjust. And even if you put it right into the pocket on every ball, something is bound to happen to keep you from getting 12 in a row.”
In other words, perfection is still hard to achieve.
Freeze Frame Award Scores
2019-2020 Bowling Season
Brett Lobdell — 300 (3), 826
Dave Spencer — 300, 803
James Blockhus — 300, 299
Kenny Calkins — 300
Chris Barragy — 300
Travis Knapp — 300
John Schmidt — 300
Jim Allen — 300
Marv Enabnit — 300
Aaron Huff — 300
Cody Brandau — 299, 834, 801
Richard Bates — 299