A version of this story ran in the June 2013 issue.
I grew up in an extended family of bowlers, but once I moved to Texas bowling was pretty much out of my life. While I was earning my master’s degree in photojournalism at the University of Texas, a professor suggested I drive out to Blanco to check out a cafe with an old bowling alley in the back, the Blanco Bowling Club and Cafe. It was the start of a nearly two-and-a-half-year undertaking that eventually became the capstone project of my degree. I learned about centuries of bowling history and how 9-pin bowling came to both thrive and struggle in the primarily German enclaves of Bexar, Blanco, Comal, and Guadalupe counties. I grew to really appreciate the club members’ sense of community and tradition, and this image of their annual members’ meeting best sums up the experience. Most everyone I met, and many others I didn’t meet, are gathered here with their families and friends, just as they are every year.