Preglers journey rolls on to Iowa

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 31, 2002

For Mark and Kris Pregler, it's been a journey well worth taking.

Next month, the co-managers of Echo Lanes will be leaving to manage Cadillac Lanes in Waterloo, Iowa.

It's 50 lanes there, up from the 36 in Austin. However, the bigger facility isn't why the two are leaving town.

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"We're looking forward being closer to home and our family," Kris Pregler said. "That's the main reason we are doing this."

The couple came to Austin in September 1998 from Dubuque, Iowa, where Mark was managing a bowling facility and Kris was a collection officer at a credit union.

Together, they've helped make numerous improvements in their nearly four years at Echo Lanes.

One touch that brings pride to the two is giving the facility a connection to its customers. An example is the framed keepsake of the napkin, bookmark, invitation and program from the wedding of Mike Matyas -- the 842 series record holder at Echo Lanes.

"Look around," Mark said. "It's little stuff like that that makes a bowling center home to some people. A sense of pride is what we've tried to instill in this place. I was never a perfect manager, but I had a lot of fun.

"The challenge is making a place work better, but still have more fun."

Kris said having a top-notch staff, including assistant manager Al Smith, was vital to helping make Echo Lanes thrive.

"I'm very grateful to work with an excellent staff here," she said. "I'm really going to miss our senior bowlers. Al Smith is one of the biggest things we will miss. I hope the new manager takes care of Al."

Mark said he'll be coming back to Austin about once a week, checking on the sale of his "three-bedroom rambler with a double lot."

And although he can't take everything off the walls with him, the memories will do just fine.

"I can't put it into one sentence, because this is what I love to do," he said. "I'm at a loss for words -- me of all people."

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at