Class of 2016 Inducted into USBC Hall of Fame

by Bob Johnson 0

Emil Williams
USBC Communications

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LAS VEGAS – The United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame welcomed five new members and celebrated their accomplishments at The Orleans Hotel and Casino on Thursday evening.

The 2016 USBC Hall of Fame Class includes Kim Adler of Melbourne, Fla., and Mike Durbin of Hollywood, Calif., in the Superior Performance category; Steve Kloempken of Pleasant View, Utah, for Outstanding USBC Performance; Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Township, Mich., in the Veterans category; and Joan Romeo of Van Nuys, Calif., for Meritorious Service.

Adler is a 16-time Professional Women’s Bowling Association winner, which included the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open. She also found success at the USBC Women’s Championships, claiming a Classic All-Events title in 2004. She has 11 additional top-10 finishes at the Women’s Championships, including a second-place finish in Classic Singles in 2004 and a runner-up effort at the 2002 USBC Queens.

“It’s actually the only hall of fame that I am part of in bowling,” Adler said. “Nothing like starting from the top. I had traveled so much in my bowling career that I was never in one city long enough to get the number of years in that usually are needed to qualify for a local or state association. I am so pleased to be able to have this, and not only for me but for all those people involved in my bowling career.”

Durbin earned 14 Professional Bowlers Association Tour titles across three decades, and became the first three-time Tournament of Champions winner (1972, 1982 and 1984). He also earned six PBA regional titles, won the 1967 PBA Rookie of the Year award and earned the No. 22 spot on the PBA’s 50 Greatest Players list. He was inducted in the PBA Hall of Fame in 1984.

“It’s the culmination of my career,” Durbin said. “It’s the cherry on the top of the sweetest cake you can imagine. It’s just a wonderful experience. The only negative is my parents aren’t here to see it. I’ve been involved in the sport of bowling all my life, and they were involved in the sport of bowling, too. There isn’t a higher honor than being a member of the USBC Hall of Fame.”

Kloempken is a two-time Team USA member, winning gold medals in doubles and trios in 1991 at the World Bowling Men’s Championships in Singapore. In college, he helped Wichita State win three consecutive Intercollegiate Team Championships from 1993-1995. At the USBC Open Championships, he won Team All-Events in 2003 and Regular All-Events in 1993. In 27 years as an Open Championships competitor, Kloempken holds a 213.5 average.

“It’s just an honor to be included in such a great group of professionals, bowlers and great people,” Kloempken said. “And, that was an awesome class. I couldn’t be more proud for the people I was inducted with. Even during the moments where they brought in all of the past hall of famers, your jaw drops to just imagine that’s who I’m a part of and our class is a part of. I’m just really honored and fortunate, and I look forward to being part of this hall of fame for years to come.”

Sullins is a five-time PBA national champion. Known for his longevity, he holds the PBA record for consecutive tournament appearances with 239 from 1986-1993. His resumé also includes 32 regional and PBA50 wins, including the 2009 PBA Senior World Championship. In Michigan, Sullins has earned 10 city championships and nine state titles, which helped earn him induction into the Metro Detroit Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Michigan State Bowling Association Hall of Fame 2003.

“As a professional, this is one of the highest honors, but it’s also one of the highest for the amateurs,” Sullins said. “You’re always a USBC member. And I take pride in our Michigan State and Metro Detroit tournaments when they say ‘sponsored with USBC approval.’ When you can win those tournaments, to me, it’s great because it’s a USBC tournament, not just a local or a state tournament.”

Romeo has served as president and vice president of the International Bowling Media Association, and president of the California Bowling Writers. She was an executive coordinator for World Bowling and served as a trustee to the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame. She has earned the California Women’s Bowling Association Distinguished Service Award, Columbia 300 Humanitarian Award, Bowling Writers Association of America Meritorious Service Award and BWAA President’s Award.

“It’s a major honor because I wasn’t affiliated with any company, it was just me,” Romeo said. “To be able to be recognized for doing something that I loved is truly remarkable. So many people helped me get here.”

Through 2016, there are 417 members of the USBC Hall of Fame – 217 in Superior Performance, 117 in Meritorious Service, 50 in Veterans, 20 in Pioneers and 13 in Outstanding USBC Performance.

The USBC Hall of Fame was created in 2005 by merging the former American Bowling Congress and Women’s International Bowling Congress Halls of Fame.

For more information on the USBC Hall of Fame, visit BOWL.com/HallofFame.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.