Monday, August 20, 2007

City With Big Balls

Several years ago, Reno gained two big balls. In 1995, the Silver Legacy Resort was constructed, which has a giant round dome as its centerpiece, and the National Bowling Stadium opened, which is topped by a big, round domed theater.

At least one local pundit suggested that Reno’s famed slogan, “Biggest Little City in the World,” be replaced with “Reno: City With Big Balls.”

So, what’s inside the big balls? At the Silver Legacy, the 180-foot dome contains a 120-foot, green, faux mining machine with lots of pulleys and giant wheels.

About once an hour, the interior of the dome darkens, the massive wheels and belts on the device begin to pump and churn and there’s a lot of noise. Nothing actually happens but people stand around and admire the big Rube Goldberg-like beauty of the contraption, which gives them a respite from playing the omnipresent slot machines.

The National Bowling Stadium’s four-story globe houses a 172-seat I-WERKS theater (like an IMAX).

This theater in the round—designed to resemble a bowling ball—shows 70-millimeter films and boasts six-channel digital surround sound.

Of course, the National Bowling Stadium itself is somewhat unusual. Called the “Taj Majal of Tenpins,” it’s one of the world’s largest facilities devoted solely to bowling.

The $42 million stadium has 78 bowling lanes, a C.A.T.S. Practice Lane (Computer Aided Tracking System, which analyzes bowler’s games), sky boxes, pro shops, restaurant, sports bar and seating for 1,000 spectators.

The facility is restricted to tournament play (no local bowling allowed) and regularly hosts events sponsored by the United States Bowling Congress, the National Bowling Association and other groups.

And now you know the rest of the story.

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