IBMA Award Winners Chosen
ARLINGTON, Texas - The votes have been tallied and the winners notified for the 2017 International Bowling Media Association major awards. Members were sent ballots to vote in five categories for the Luby Hall of Fame Award, Alberta E. Crowe Meritorious Service Award, Hennessy Award of Merit and Male and Female Bowlers and Senior Bowlers of the Year. Ballots were distributed in a single poll for each of the five categories. The ballot period was February 7 - 19, 2017.
For only the second time in the history of the organization, there was a tie for a major award. This time in the fledgling Hennessy Award of Merit Category (see below). Albert Matzell and Frank Esposito were both awarded the Meritorious Service Award in 1984.
Winners will be presented with their awards on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 during the BPAA International Bowl Expo Industry Awards Luncheon at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.
The Luby Hall of Fame Award is given to an individual (living or deceased) who has made a distinguished contribution to bowling in print, broadcast, telecast or photographic coverage over a period of at least ten years.
LUBY HALL OF FAME AWARD
While majoring in journalism at the University of Texas, Johnny Campos published his first bowling related article in the Daily Texan campus newspaper about a 6'8" star on the college basketball team who was also a very formidable bowler. He's been finding and writing stories like that ever since.
Because he has always written superbly, especially about a sport he loves to play, shortly out of college Campos started a bowling column at the Brownsville Herald. He took that column to bigger market sports writing gigs in Laredo and San Antonio.
His work caught the attention of the PBA who hired him as Tour Press Director in 1983. Moving to the administrative side, Campos ultimately became the PBA's main man on the road when he succeeded retiring Tournament Director Harry Golden in 1990.
Eventually family and a career opportunity took him to Peoria, Ill., and a position with the Caterpillar Inc. It also provided an opening for Campos to take over a bowling column for the Peoria Journal Star that he continues to this day, providing readers with local and national coverage of the sport. He's also a frequent contributor to Bowlers Journal International.
"It's humbling to realize that I'm now in the company of some of my mentors like Chuck Pezzano, John Jowdy, Dick Evans and Joe Lyou," Campos said. "Getting the news about receiving this award is simply a great honor."
ALBERTA E. CROWE MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD
The IBMA Alberta E. Crowe Meritorious Service Award is presented to an individual or organization for outstanding long-term accomplishments in and for the sport of bowling.
Bob Thomas is currently the Assistant General Manager of the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada. He was introduced to the business by his dad and mom in the early 70's when they co-owned and operated a 12 lane bowling center in Blythe, California. After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 1983 with a BS in Business, Thomas moved to Tucson, working at Cactus Bowling Centers, honing his skills under Jack Cook. He quickly moved up the ranks working under Mike Kaufman who now oversees the Boyd Coast Bowling Centers.
When notified that he had won the award, Thomas said "Wow! How cool is that? It sounds cliché but I am quite honored to receive this award, especially being named after Alberta E. Crowe. I am humbled to be recognized and join the ranks of the past winners which include recent recipients John Davis, Bill and Barbara Chrisman, Mort Luby, Jr. and Johhny Petragilia. Thank you IBMA."
In 1989 Thomas moved to Las Vegas to work at the Showboat where he became more involved with tournament bowling. The prestigious events were all held at the Showboat and Thomas was able to learn how to conduct and promote tournaments with many different kinds of formats.
Thomas was hired to be the new bowling manager at the Reno Hilton in 1993 and moved his family to Reno to begin a new adventure. With his connections at the Showboat and his relationship with the PBA he was able to bring the PBA to Reno with Hilton Hotels sponsoring tournaments. Reno became his new hometown.
In 1996 Bob was hired to work at the National Bowling Stadium where he has spent 20 years bringing his bowling knowledge and experience to the greatest bowling venue in the world. Working with local Hotels/Casinos and the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, business has grown through the years bringing tournaments and bowlers from all over the country to bowl in the "Taj Mahal of Tenpins", growing the number of tournaments and special events held at the NBS.
When not at the stadium, Thomas is singing with the Reno Philharmonic Chorus and his church choir.
JOAN ROMEO & BILL VINT
The IBMA Hennessy Award of Merit is presented to an individual for their outstanding long-term service to IBMA, including BWAA (Bowling Writers Association of America) and NWBW (National Women Bowling Writers).
HENNESSY AWARD OF MERIT
Veteran International Bowling Media Association members Joan Romeo and Bill Vint tied in the balloting for the 2016 IBMA Hennessey Award of Merit.
Romeo's first reaction when she heard of the award was a simple "How nice!" She added "It is an honor to share this award with Bill Vint and doubly so as my daughter, Robin, will also receive the IBMA Senior Female Bowler of the Year Award at the same event."
Romeo is a dedicated grass roots member with professional genius and expertise. With over thirty years of marketing experience, she owns The Marketing Team. She is a past president of IBMA and was instrumental in the merger of the Bowling Writers Association of America, the World Bowling Writers and the National Women's Bowling Writers Association into the IBMA. She helped develop the FIQ International Senior Open and worked tirelessly for the Professional Women Bowlers exhibit in Reno and the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas.
She has received the President's Award and Meritorious Service Award from BWAA, the Columbia Industries Humanitarian Award, and was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2016.
Vint has over fifty years of experience in covering the sport of bowling. "To receive this honor is not why I do it. I have lived my life for ways to help people feel good. Just to have known Mike Hennessey and to consider him a friend was pretty nice."
He was the editor of the ABC official publication Bowling Magazine in 1991 after providing coverage for the Ladies Pro Tour from 1981 to 1990. He and his wife Lisa founded the Windy City Bowler in 1990 which remains the only full-time voice for the sport in Illinois. He co-founded Sleeping Dogs Communications in 1997. Currently, he is the media relations representative for the Professional Bowlers Association.
Vint has received the PBA writing/photography competition, the BWAA Luby and NWBW Alberta Crowe awards and World Bowling Writers Golden Quill award. He is an Illinois USBC Hall of Fame member.
|Liz Johnson & E.J. Tackett|
Bowlers of the Year
With a breakout year on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., was voted the 2016 Male Bowler of the Year by the International Bowling Media Association.
For the women, Liz Johnson, Cheektowaga, N.Y., won the award for the second straight year and for the sixth time overall. She also won the award in 2015, 2013, 2009, 2007 and 2005.
Tackett, who won four PBA titles in 2016, received 86 percent of the votes to win the award for the first time.
"Obviously, by far, it's the best season I've ever had," Tackett said. "I don't really feel like I did anything different than I had in the past. I think things just came together for me bowling on TV."
Tackett, 24, led the PBA in earnings ($168,290) and was third in average (224.49), and closed out the year by winning his first major title, the PBA World Championship.
Robin Romeo & Pete Weber
Robin Romeo, Newhall, Calif., and Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo., have been elected Senior Bowlers of the Year for 2016 by the International Bowling Media Association.
Senior Bowlers of the Year
Romeo, who has been a dominating force at the USBC Senior Queens and reigning three-time champion has also earned the title of IBMA Senior Female Bowler of the Year for the third consecutive year. Romeo who has high hope for Senior Queens title number four will have to wait until May 23-26, 2017.
"Wow, I'm in shock...I'm speechless. I'm just elated, it's so exciting. All the hard work that I do throughout the year to stay in shape, practice and to stay on top of my game. It's something to be rewarded and to win the Senior Queens, it's just unbelievable. I'm very humbled about it. To still continue to bowl as I have gotten older is more rewarding than when I first started bowling.
There is so many people that you always hear that say there is always a team behind you and I think it all starts with the family support, it starts with my boyfriend Tom who is my ball driller and is always pushing me even on the days that I do not want to go practice. My mom (USBC Hall of Fame member Joan Romeo) and my brothers and sisters."
Romeo credits her success and longevity to still be able to perform at the highest level to her family and friends. She also credits Storm Bowling Products and VISE Inserts for providing her the tools that she needs.
Weber is always a force on the lanes no matter if he is competing at home, PBA Tour or PBA50. After the 2016 season that Weber had there was no doubt that he would have been crowned the IBMA Senior Male Bowler of the Year. Weber is coming off a six title season which included both the Suncoast Senior U.S. Open and USBC Senior Masters.
"It's an honor it really is an honor. Anytime you get a Bowler of the Year behind your name it's an honor. The one thing that I never got was a PBA Player of the Year, I have back-to-back PBA50 Senior Player of the Year and three out of the last four years as the IBMA Male Senior Bowler of the Year that makes me feel really honored. I want to thank my brother Rich for being my coach and watching me and making sure when I leave to a tournament that I am throwing it well. Jim Callahan, Tim Mack and Del Ballard for being my Storm Ball reps out here on tour and making sure that I have the right ball in my hand. I have to give myself a little credit for knowing how to throw the ball. Without the ball reps and Rich I wouldn't be able to say that that I can accomplish all of this."