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Bowling News USA - July 2, 2011 Jeff's Big Night in Texas..

(Pictured: Del Ballard Jr., Carol Gianotti, Wayne Webb, Cheryl Robinson, Jeff Richgels, Roseann Kuhn)

It was a night Storm staffer Jeff Richgels will remember forever.

Richgels was one of six inductees into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Gaylord Texan Hotel. He was elected in the Superior Performance category.

Richgels, 48, of Oregon, Wis., is the first person to be inducted in the Outstanding USBC Performance category. He claimed the first of his four USBC Open Championships titles at the 1986 event (Regular Team) and had 90 clean frames en route to the 1997 Regular All-Events title. He also won Regular Doubles and Team All-Events titles in 2005.

He won the 1985 Team USA Trials to earn a spot on Team USA and represented the United States at the Federation Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ) American Zone Championships in Bogota, Colombia, where he won gold medals in team and trios.

“I always thought that there could be a place for guys like me, and there are so many of them out there, between the amateur category and the great stars of the PBA Tour,” Richgels said. “I’m very proud to be the first inductee in this category. It’s a great honor.”

Watch the Hall of Fame speeches here:

Joining Richgels in the hall of fame class of 2011 are Del Ballard Jr., Carol Gianotti and Wayne Webb, also for Superior Performance, Jeff Richgels for Outstanding USBC Performance, Cheryl Robinson in the Veteran category and Roseann Kuhn for Meritorious Service.

Between 1987 and 1993, Ballard won 13 Lumber Liquidators Professional Bowlers Association Tour titles, including the 1988 USBC Masters and the 1989 Firestone Tournament of Champions. He won the U.S. Open in 1987 and 1993 and totaled nearly $1.3 million in PBA career earnings. He was selected to the PBA Hall of Fame in 2009.

“Welcome to my birthday party, and I’ll cry if I want to,” said Ballard, who underwent treatment for tonsil cancer last year. He thanked USBC President Darlene Baker for the phone call to tell him he had been selected to the hall of fame “because anybody that’s close to me understands I’ve been through a little bit of a rough time the last year or so, and it could not have come at a better time.”

Gianotti, 43, took the 1989 USBC Queens title for one of the 16 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour titles she won between 1989 and 2000. She’s had six top-10 finishes at the Queens during her career and has collected nearly $1 million in career earnings.

The Perth, Australia, native represented her country in the Seoul Olympic Games bowling exhibition in 1988 and is a multi-time member of Team Australia. She has been a part of three team titles at the USBC Women’s Championships and captured the Scratch Doubles title with Missy Klug in 2010.

“I’ve always said throughout my career,” Gianotti said, “how fortunate I have been to have the opportunity to do what I love to do, and that is to compete and be successful. I’ve traveled the world and met so many people. It is a great honor to be inducted into the hall of fame, the highest achievement you can receive in your sport.”

Webb, 53, of Columbus, Ohio, was elected to the PBA Hall of Fame in 1993. He won 20 PBA Tour titles from 1978-1997, including the Firestone Tournament of Champions in 1980.

He more recently has become a force on the PBA Senior Tour. He won the 2010 USBC Senior Masters and was named the 2010 PBA Senior Player of the Year. He joined Mark Roth as the only players to earn PBA Tour and Senior Tour Player of the Year awards during their careers.

“Last year I was very fortunate to win the Senior Masters and two other titles which basically filled my bucket list,” Webb said. “There were only a couple of things that I had left that I wanted to do in bowling – being Senior Player of the Year and this, being inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame.”

Robinson, 59, of Placentia, Calif., was the 1970 Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow award winner. She went on to win four titles on the PWBA Tour and finished second at the Queens in 1980. She won the all-events title at the 1980 Women’s Championships.

“Bowling has been my metaphor in life,” said Robinson. “Not only has it helped me fulfill my life goals, it has taught me dedication, compassion, faith in God.”

Kuhn, 62, of Hays, Kan., was instrumental in the merger of bowling organizations to create USBC and was chief tournament officer for USBC in 2005.

She joined the Women’s International Bowling Congress in 1974 as a field representative, served as rules/legal manager from 1988 until 1995 and was WIBC’s rules/legal technical advisor before being appointed executive director in 1996.

“I love the legislation process,” Kuhn said. “Tweaking rules and bylaws was like a puzzle to me. I never studied law, but I won many a debate with lawyers.”

With Friday’s inductions, there now are 385 members of the USBC Hall of Fame – 254 in Performance, 112 in Meritorious Service and 19 Pioneers.

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


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