Kulick, Barnes, Koivuniemi Elected to USBC Hall of Fame

by Terry Bigham, USBC Communications 0

ARLINGTON, Texas – Kelly Kulick, Chris Barnes and Mika Koivuniemi will be part of the 2019 United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame class after their election in the Superior Performance category.

The three were among the 10 bowlers on the Superior Performance national ballot voted on by a panel of USBC Hall of Fame members, USBC Board members and veteran bowling writers. Candidates had to receive at least 70 percent of the votes cast to earn election.

Kulick, Barnes and Koivuniemi now are part of the 2019 USBC Hall of Fame class that will have seven members. They join the late John Davis (Meritorious Service), Bob Johnson (Meritorious Service), Larry Lichstein (Pioneer) and the late Jim St. John (Veterans), who were elected by the USBC Hall of Fame Committee in October 2018.

The 2019 USBC Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place May 1 in Las Vegas as part of the USBC Convention at The Orleans Hotel and Casino.

KulickHOF180x150Kulick, 41, of Union, New Jersey, made bowling history in 2010 when she captured the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tournament of Champions title to become the first woman to win a PBA Tour event.

Following an outstanding collegiate career at Morehead State, where she was a three-time National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) Most Valuable Player Award winner, Kulick captured Professional Women’s Bowling Association (PWBA) Rookie of the Year honors in 2000. She would win the first of her six major titles at the 2003 U.S. Women's Open.

Kulick also is a 14-time Team USA member. Her international resume includes a then-record performance in winning gold in singles at the 1999 World Bowling World Championships, the first of her 22 career gold medals in international competition.

BarnesHOF160x150Barnes, 48, of Double Oak, Texas, owns 19 PBA Tour titles, including three majors – the 2005 U.S. Open, 2006 PBA Tournament of Champions and 2011 PBA World Championship. The 1998 PBA Rookie of the Year and the 2007-2008 PBA Player of the Year is one of five bowlers to have won both awards and one of six to have won the PBA Triple Crown.

He has made 85 career PBA Tour TV finals appearances and was in the top 10 in PBA season earnings for 16 consecutive seasons. Barnes was elected to the PBA Hall of Fame in 2018.

A 16-time member of Team USA, the most of any male bowler, Barnes captured the first two of his 22 career gold medals at the 1995 Pan American Games (doubles, team). He was named the United States Olympic Committee's Athlete of the Year for Bowling in 1994, 1996 and 1997.

He bowled collegiately at Wichita State, earning Collegiate Bowler of the Year honors for the 1991-1992 season from the Bowling Writers Association of America.

MikaHOF180x150Koivuniemi, 51, is a Finland native who lives in the United Arab Emirates, where he coaches the national team, a position he has held since 2015.

He was 32 when he joined the PBA Tour and went on to win 14 titles. His first two titles on the PBA Tour were majors – the 2000 USBC Masters and the 2001 U.S. Open, earning him the nickname Major Mika.

He captured his third major, and a $250,000 paycheck, at the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions. He is a two-time PBA Player of the Year (2003-2004, 2010-2011) and was part of the 2019 PBA Hall of Fame class.

He has won 25 medals competing for Finland in international competition, is an eight-time Finnish Bowler of the Year and was inducted into the Finnish Bowling Federation Hall of Fame in 2017.

In addition to Barnes and Koivuniemi, the men’s national ballot for Superior Performance included Patrick Allen of Garfield, New Jersey; Dave Ferraro of Kingston, New York; Randy Pedersen of Orlando, Florida; and Mark Williams of Beaumont, Texas.

The women’s national ballot had Kulick, Marianne DiRupo of Succasunna, New Jersey; Sandra Jo Shiery of Coldwater, Michigan; and Tammy Turner of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Through 2018, there are 425 members of the USBC Hall of Fame – 220 in Superior Performance, 118 in Meritorious Service, 50 in Veterans, 21 in Pioneers and 16 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.

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