Johnny Campos, Bob Thomas, Joan Romeo and Bill Vint have been selected to receive 2017 service awards from the International Bowling Media Association.
Campos will receive the Luby Hall of Fame Award, Thomas will receive the Alberta E. Crowe Meritorious Service Award, and Romeo and Vint each will receive the Mike Hennessy Award of Merit after they ended up tied in the voting for that honor.
While majoring in journalism at the University of Texas, Campos had his first bowling-related article published in the Daily Texan campus newspaper. It was about a 6-foot-8 star on the college basketball team who also was a formidable bowler, and Campos has been finding and writing stories like that ever since.
Because he has always written superbly, especially about a sport he loves to play, Campos initiated a bowling column in the Brownsville Herald. He took that column to larger-market sports-writing gigs in Laredo and San Antonio.
His work ultimately caught the attention of the PBA, which hired him as Tour Press Director in 1983. Campos became the PBA’s National Tournament Director, succeeded the retiring Harry Golden, in 1990.
Eventually, family and a career opportunity took him to Peoria, Ill., and a position with Caterpillar Inc. It also provided an opportunity 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.”
The Luby Hall of Fame Award is given to an individual (living or deceased) who has made a distinguished contribution to bowling via print, broadcast, telecast or photographic coverage over a period of at least 10 years.
Thomas is the Assistant General Manager of the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. He was introduced to the business by his parents in the early 1970s when they co-owned and operated a 12-lane bowling center in Blythe, Calif.
After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 1983 with a B.S. in Business, Thomas moved to Tucson and worked at Cactus Bowling Centers, honing his skills under the leadership of Jack Cook. He quickly moved up the ranks, working under Mike Kaufman, now the Director of Bowling Operations for Boyd Gaming in Las Vegas.
In 1989 Thomas moved to Las Vegas to work at the legendary Showboat Lanes, where he became more involved with tournament bowling. There, Thomas was able to learn how to conduct and promote tournaments with many different kinds of formats.
He was hired to be the new bowling manager at the Reno Hilton in 1993, and moved his family to northern Nevada 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.
In 1996, Thomas was hired to work at the National Bowling Stadium, where he has spent more than 20 years bringing his bowling knowledge and experience to that world-famous venue. Working with local hotels, casinos and the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, business has grown at the stadium through the years.
When not working at the stadium, Thomas often can be found singing with the Reno Philharmonic Chorus or his church choir.
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 John Davis, Bill and Barbara Chrisman, Mort Luby Jr. and Johnny Petragilia. Thank you, IBMA.”
The 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.
Romeo’s first reaction when she heard about winning the Hennessy Award of Merit 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 grassroots member with professional genius and expertise. With more than 30 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 Bowling Writers Association into the IBMA.
She also helped develop the FIQ International Senior Open and worked tirelessly for the professional women bowlers’ exhibit in Reno and at the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington, Texas.
Romeo 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 more than 50 years of experience covering bowling.
“To receive this honor is not why I do it,” he said. “I have lived my life for ways to help people feel good. Just to have known Mike Hennessy and to consider him a friend was pretty nice.”
Vint was the editor of the ABC’s 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, and it remains the only full-time voice for the sport in Illinois. He co-founded Sleeping Dogs Communications in 1997. Currently, he is a media relations representative for the Professional Bowlers Association.
Vint has received the BWAA Luby and NWBW Alberta Crowe awards, as well as the World Bowling Writers’ Golden Quill award. He is an Illinois USBC Hall of Fame member.