By Clayton Huckaby
Kern Valley Sun
Mt. Mesa Lanes is going to be under new management. The bowling alley has not been open since June of last year, but Gabriella Mayfield, a longtime resident of Squirrel Valley, recently acquired it from its previous owner, Tracy Watson, and plans on bringing it back.
If you have bowled at the bowling alley before, it is likely that you have ran into Mayfield a time or two. She has been bowling there since she was 10 years old. At the age of 15, she began working there helping the owners of the establishment.
Her father, Dan Mayfield, also leased the bowling alley from Watson when Mayfield was 19 and ran it for about two years. She has been either bowling or working at the bowling alley for over 13 years now, and she is happy that she gets to now run the place.
“I’ve always wanted to own it,” said Mayfield. She continued, “I started bowling there when I was 10 years old, and I fell in love with it. It is where I learned how to bowl.”
Mayfield comes with a bevy of experience in the bowling community. As an undergraduate, she attended the University of Central Missouri, where she studied Sport Management and Physical Education. She received a full scholarship to attend the school as a bowler. She then attended Valpraiso University in Indiana, where she earned her Masters of Sport Administration.
While she attended Valpraiso, she worked as the school’s assistant coach helping other young athletes reach their full potential. She also has experience managing a bowling center. While she was living in Valpraiso, Indiana, she managed the Inman Bowling Center. She believes her experience as a bowler and as a manager will help her effectively manage Mt. Mesa Lanes.
Although she did not bowl for Valpraiso, Mayfield hasn’t stopped pursuing her passion. She is currently a bowler in the Professional Women’s Bowling Association. This will be her third year on the tour which lasts from April until August. She said, however, that once the bowling alley opens it is likely that she will no longer be doing the full tour.
She explained that she will continue to bowl in tournaments, but the responsibility of running Mt. Mesa Lanes will come first, and she believes that it would be better for her to focus all of her energy on its success.
“Owning it and bringing it back into the community makes me feel good. There is really nothing that Lake Isabella has besides the movie theater. It will be a good outlet for youths, senior citizens and everybody,” said Mayfield.
Mayfield plans to improve the bowling alley by improving the lanes and making some cosmetic and functional changes she believes are necessary to make it a success. Right now Mayfield plans on opening the bowling alley to the public sometime in mid-August. She was quick to point out that that is a tentative date and depending on circumstances, the opening date may come even later.
She explained, however, that she will ensure that the community knows when it will open well ahead of time.