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More Fireside chats are in future for new bowling center owner Steve Cook

The PBA Hall of Famer and Granite Bay resident buys Citrus Heights facility
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Steve Cook was inducted into the Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame. He won the Tournament of Champions, U.S. Open and Touring Players Championship, small feats not, en route to 15 career titles.

He always wanted to own a bowling center, too, but it never seemed to work out — until now. And it happened fast.

Cook has purchased Fireside Lanes in Citrus Heights, effective this Friday.

“It’s kind of weird,” said the longtime local resident, who now lives in Granite Bay. “It just happened.”

Cook, who stands 6 feet 7 inches tall, is one of the more easily recognizable figures in bowling circles abroad and locally. He bowled as a junior at Fireside Lanes and practiced there when he was preparing to join the PBA Tour.

“It was always kind of my place,” he said Monday. “When I came home, that’s where I went and bowled.”

Cook, who has owned Steve Cook’s Bowling Supply, Inc., since 1989, said he heard about two months ago Fireside Lanes would be for sale. Someone else was looking into purchasing the center, but Cook threw in his hat anyway, just in case it didn’t work out.

“All of a sudden, boom! We went into negotiations,” he said. “It was done within 60 days.”

Come Friday, the bowling center will open as Steve Cook’s Fireside Lanes. He said the place “needs some work,” and he has a two-year plan for improvements.

“I’ve been doing a lot of running around,” Cook said. “I used to be semi-retired. All of a sudden, I’m waking up at 6 o’clock in the morning and doing stuff.”

Fortunately, he has that luxury. Sons-in-law Aaron Rudnicki (married to Cook’s daughter, Stacey) and Nick Szakacs (Jill) run the bowling supply business, and Dan Romero, who’s engaged to Cook’s daughter, Kristin, works in the office.

That’s giving Cook time to play flip this bowling center. He spent the last two weeks talking to league bowlers at Fireside, gathering information and opinions and thanking them for their support.

Cook said he wants to give the place a “lodge feel,” and wife Candi has a real knack for color schemes. The bar already has a fireplace (check), but the air conditioner needs fixing, too.

“I thought it would be great to own a bowling place,” Cook said. “The last 45 days, I’ve been doing a lot more work than I used to be doing.

“Me and my wife are both excited about it. It has a great following and a good base. I want to jump in and get going in the right direction. I think people will enjoy it. It’s always been a family bowling center.”