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Big scores on Marquette County lanes as popular as roast turkeys for Thanksgiving

December 4, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

I thought it would be safe to take a week off from my Mining Journal bowling column while I visited family for Thanksgiving and went to Ford Field in Detroit to watch and write about Ishpeming's state football championship.

Boy, was I wrong.

On the night before Thanksgiving, not one, not two, but three bowlers achieved some amazing feats on the lanes in Marquette County.

Article Photos


Jeff Miller of Ishpeming bowled what he thinks is his 12th 300 game, while Amber Buckmaster shot her 13th 700 series with 701, both coming in the Industrial League at Superior Lanes in Marquette.

But the least expected of all had to be Tom Auston's first 300 game he rolled in the Superior Iron Range Federal Credit Union League at Country Lanes in Ishpeming.

Auston, 48, finished the night with perfection after a 211-186 start gave him a 697 series.

The owner of Midas of Marquette used the 15-pound Storm Anarchy reactive resin ball that Steve DeBakker at Country drilled for him last season.

"He's watched me bowl and he could see what I needed and how it should be drilled," Auston told me.

He also said that he did a lot of bowling and carried an average around 210 when he lived in Arizona, but only bowls once a week now that he's come to the Upper Peninsula, since he also uses his free time for other pursuits such as playing pool. His average was down about 10 pins this year, at around 179, when he hit perfection.

His old high game was 290 and the most strikes he'd had to start a game was nine, a fair number of years ago.

"But just last week I had a 265 game, so things have been going better lately," Auston said.

On Nov. 21, he made a change late in his second game, moving his target a bit closer to the gutter. It paid dividends immediately, as he struck out in the 10th frame.

It continued throughout the final game when the first 11 strikes slammed the pocket solidly. Then came the final ball for all the marbles.

"I was so nervous," Auston said. "I went to go up there and I just had the shakes."

He turned around and started over before delivering a ball that pulled across the center of the lane and hit the left side of the head pin, but settled in for a crossover "Brooklyn" strike.

One neat thing about his 300 were his Midas teammates - his wife, Karen; father, Jack; and brother, Derek. And his mother was there to watch as a spectator, too. He was particularly gratified to do it in front of his father, whose own high game is 297.

Miller, 50, a teammate of mine on Wednesday night, got his first 300 since 2010 just in time, since his season is over for at least a few months since he was set for surgery on his toe right after Thanksgiving.

Miller was using his 15-pound Storm Virtual Gravity Nano resin ball, one he drilled for himself since he runs the Pinhead Pro Shop in the Superior Lanes building. Opening the night with the perfect game before shooting 213 and 203 for 726, he had just one close call in the 300.

That was in the sixth frame, when a shot he stuffed in the 1-3 pocket nearly left a solid 9-pin. That pin actually slid standing up along the pin deck and half a pin spot over before finally falling down on its own.

Buckmaster, 31, was using her 14-pound Ebonite NVD resin ball to shoot games of 209, 244 and 248 just hours after her family buried her grandfather, Kenneth Buhrmann.

"Grandpa's funeral was at 2 p.m., then we went to the (American) Legion (post) and all the family came to watch us bowl," she told me.

Other members of her team include Buckmaster's husband, Andy Buckmaster; father, Larry Lancour, brother, David Lancour; and cousin, Allen Lancour. Her mother, Sandy, has bowled with the team in past seasons, too.

With all this good news on the lanes, I promise a short topic for next week to save extra room for three weeks of Mining Journal Bowlers of the Week.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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