FISCHER, Texas — Over in Comal County in the small central Texas town of Fischer you won’t find a lot of hustle and bustle, but as the sun sets on the local dance hall with a simple sign starts to draw a crowd. If you decided to step inside this puzzling place, you’ll have some of the most fun you can have in Fischer.
Food, faith, friendship, folklore are just a few ways that cultures have shaped the Lone Star State, but over in central Texas you’ll find a fun game that made its way across the pond many years ago. Now this isn’t your typical 10 pin. Known as 9 pin bowling, it’s been around these parts since the 1800’s, and if you’re going to play, you better know the rules.
“The object is to get them all down or to get them all down and leave the red one,” said Rachel Luehlfing.
Rachelle’s family settled in Fischer in 1933. She’s in charge of the Fisher bowling league, a group of tightly nit Texans that meet here 4 nights a week, 49 weeks a year.
“Some people have more of the attitude of, ‘I’m here for the beer drinking, just to have fun,’ others are like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna win tonight,’” Rachel said.
This bowling hall got its start in 1897 when German immigrants brought the game of bowling to Texas. Back then bowling was a bit different but the tradition continues here and in several other 9 pin bowling clubs in central Texas. The only places in the united states that you’ll find it.
Mic Greyer is one of the newbies here. He’s only been bowling for 6 years.
“This is just one of those places that I wish there were more of in, not just Texas but the rest of the country,” Mic said.
J.R. Sachtlelben – (sock-lay-ben) is one of the regulars and by regular, I mean his family has been bowling here for generations.
“My grandpop bowled here, we had aunts and uncles bowl here,” Dad bowled here. It’s a family deal.” J.R. said.
You won’t find scoring computers here, just a chalkboard that everyone keeps up with and pin setters, well that’s old school as well.
“It’s special and its sort of like church of bowling,” Lisa Kiefer said.
Lisa Kiefer understands the sanctity of this sport.
“To the town of Fischer, I think it’s really important and prominent but also sort of elusive and secretive,” Lisa said. “Like, some people in Wimberley don’t even know it’s out here. They don’t know there’s bowling alley.”
Now we all know what goes great with any good German tradition.
“All you gotta do is look at our team’s name,” Mic said. “Beer drinking and bad bowling. And that’s really that tells you what our priorities are.”
But the most valuable commodity in here is same currency Texans are known for, friendliness.
“This is Texarkana at its best, really,” Mic said. “Everyone needs to come to Fischer Hall and have a great time. It really speaks to the history of central Texas.”