Painting a strike every time

Got some bowling pins laying around?


Sheboygan’s Jon Schrank wants to talk to you.

“The problem is getting them,” he said. “I’m trying to get into negotiations with a person who works in a bowling alley to give me their old, used bowling pins if they don’t want them any more.”

Schrank, however, does not bowl.

He paints the pins.

There’s one of Packer Aaron Rodgers.

The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, too.

Even a Roman emperor.

It all started when Schrank was growing up in Milwaukee and his mother returned home with some bowling pins from a rummage sale.

“When I was a little kid, I would paint on stuff like pieces of wood,” Schrank said. “My aunt painted on stuff like that, so I did it. … My brother used to paint. Canvasses were expensive. So painting on stuff that was relatively cheap was cheaper than a canvass.”

About 25 years ago, the psychology and history teacher at South created his first one: NFL hall of famer Joe Montana. It’s the only one he has and it is still on display in his living room.

Schrank’s friend saw it and asked for a Paul Hornung pin.

“So I made him one,” he said. “And then I made my buddy a Robin Yount about three years ago. Then the pandemic came, and my kids wanted one.”

Schrank has painted fewer than 10 pins, and enjoys giving them to family for Christmas or birthdays.

It takes him about 20 hours to finish one, but what’s his secret since bowling pins are white?

“You just use enough color,” Schrank said. “Like the last one I did for my daughter’s boyfriend, I had to paint it very green because it’s a Packer (Rodgers). And the pants were yellow. So you just use enough paint.”

He uses acrylics and a spray sealer, and then is usually asked to paint another one after his daughter posts pictures of the pins on social media.

Schrank gives them away for free but has checked out what people are charging for painted pins online.

“I guess I could (do that), but what do you charge?” he said. “What person that I know wants to pay $75?”

Maybe not for a pin.

But perhaps a bowling ball.

After all, there is one sitting by Schrank’s back door.

“I was going to paint a frog on it last summer and I never got to it,” he said. “I like painting on weird stuff. It’s on the agenda.

“The problem with that is I don’t know how to set it on anything without rolling away.”

I bet the pin of Giannis, the reigning NBA defensive player of the year, could stop it.

Categories: Sports

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