Strikes and gutters

Ross Amin

Photo By dominick porras

Ross Amin has very little semblance to “The Dude,” Jeff Bridges’ character in the Coen Brothers The Big Lebowski. In fact, Amin’s an achiever: He saved Capitol Bowl in West Sacramento from being shut down eight years ago, buying the place and turning it into a rollers’ haven.

Born in Iran, Amin has been in the United States for 32 years, first studying industrial arts in the Lone Star State. Later, he moved to Long Island, N.Y., and, eventually, to Sacramento. After nearly a decade in the bowling biz, he’s seen it all—except for maybe someone brandishing a firearm during league play or what have you. Capitol Bowl will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the release of Lebowski next month. Find out more at or call (916) 371-4200.

Which do you prefer: The Big Lebowski or Kingpin?

Kingpin, probably.

Aw, really?

I saw those a long time ago, actually. I can’t remember the details of those things. But we are actually going to have a festival for Lebowski, here on August 24. It’s going to be huge, with fund-raising.

Are you going to dress up? You could be Walter Sobchak.

Maybe. I don’t know yet.

How did you become owner of a bowling alley?

I used to live in New York, and I owned different businesses, running them and selling them. One of them was entertainment-based, and I liked that. It’s kind of a fun business, less stress. … I came here to Sacramento and this place was for sale; they were ready to close it down.

How has bowling technology advanced in the past 10 years?

We have the best technology of any bowling alley in town, and we always spend money to update things. We’re the only bowling alley that has retractable bumpers, so that adults and kids can bowl together.

When did you first pick up a bowling ball?

Oh, a long time ago. It was a lot of fun, actually. I was in college in Dallas, Texas. For the first time, I went to a bowling alley there and I liked it very much. But for a while, I didn’t have a chance to go that often. But it was always in the back of my mind.

Do you roll often?

I do once in a while. Not a lot.

What’s your high score?

Um, 195.

Wow. That’s not so good.


You get a lot of video gamers here?

Yeah, people play the driving one and the dance one.

Dance Dance Revolution? Can you dance?

A little bit, not much.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen with a bowling ball?

One time, a lady was going to throw the ball toward the pins, but it went the other way, right into somebody’s stomach. Someone standing in the back. Everyone was screaming and yelling, you know.

Sacramentans are crummy bowlers?

No, actually. Compared to a lot of other towns, there are more bowling alleys, more people interested bowling.

Is bowling popular in Iran?

Nah. There were a few of them, but they weren’t very popular. Not too many.

You have some rad bands in the 300 Room?

Yes, on Fridays and Saturday nights, we have live music.

What’s the most popular drink at the bar?

It’s a Blue Passion.

What’s that?

Captain Morgan, blue Curacao and pineapple juice.

You drink White Russians?

Those are popular, too. (Amin’s cell phone rings. He answers, walks off and the interview ends.)