Janesville28.5°

Four area bowlers set for their hall of fame moment

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THOMAS J. MILLER
October 25, 2007
— Four new members will be inducted into the South Central Wisconsin and United States Bowling Congress Federation halls of fame in a joint ceremony Saturday night.

Celine McCann, Shirley Harrie, Pete Kirchner and Mike Thrall will be honored during the enshrinement dinner at the Elks Lodge, 2100 N. Washington St. in Janesville The festivities begin at 5 p.m., with the dinner at 6, followed by and the induction program.


McCann and Thrall are being inducted for both meritorious service and superior performance. Harrie is being honored for meritorious service. Kirchner is being inducted for superior performance.


This year’s honorees:


Celine McCann


McCann was a late starter in bowling, but she has made a name for herself with many high scores, including a 627 series and a 267 game.


At the urging of her sister-in-law, she first started bowling at age 40. She has served on several committees and as a league officer. McCann was chosen as Secretary of the Year for her work in the Senior League.


McCann said bowling has helped her cope with her husband’s death.


“It gets me out of the house,” she said. “You meet other people.”


McCann bowls on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and every other Saturday, mainly at RiversEdge.


Saturday night’s festivities will be a going-away party for McCann. She plans to move to Hemmitt, Calif., in November to be closer to her son.


“I will miss the people here,” McCann said. “But I’ve already checked out the bowling center in Hemmitt.”


Shirley Harrie


One day in 1981, Harrie’s co-workers at The Cookie Factory at the Janesville Mall talked her into joining a bowling team.


The sport has been a major part of her life ever since.


Harrie has served on several committees in the women’s association, including being the chairperson for the Janesville Women’s Bowling Association’s 75th anniversary. She serves as president of the 600 Club and has earned Secretary of the Year honors two straight years.


Harrie bowls in three leagues and has a 155 average. She is secretary for the Monday Seniors League at RiversEdge.


“I like the exercise and the enjoyment of being with the other people,” Harrie said.


Harrie and her husband, Bob, have three children, Bob, Tim and Ginny.


Pete Kirchner


Kirchner has been involved in the sport since his grandmother took him bowling when he was 3.


Now, after five 800 series, a dozen 300 games and a hand in building and running Varsity Lanes in Milton, Kirchner will be recognized by the sport he has enjoyed all these years.


“Just about everybody I’ve met has been through school or bowling,” Kirchner said.


Kirchner still bowls Thursday nights at Varsity Lanes and with his wife, Laura, every other Saturday.


He also is on the Janesville board of directors after many years of serving as an officer on various leagues.


He was part of a group that built Varsity Lanes, which opened on Sept. 19, 1990.


His high series is an 847, and his high average was 228. He won many city tournament titles and was the youngest bowler ever to lead qualifying for the TV show, “Bowling with the Champs,” at age 18.


Mike Thrall


Thrall will use Saturday’s festivities to get back into the bowling scene. Thrall hasn’t been in a league for 15 years, but he has kept in touch with many of his friends while running his downtown barbershop for 45 years until two years ago.


It was through a customer there that he got into bowling at Franklin Gardens in downtown Janesville around 1961. The Green Lake native first bowled while at barber college in Chicago


Thrall and his then-girlfriend and now-wife, Carlene, didn’t have much money but could afford to go to the nearby bowling center.


Thrall and his father each rolled a 299 game, which puts the pair in elite company. Mike had a high series of 740 and a high average of 196.


“I really enjoyed bowling,” Thrall said. “I’m really glad I did it.


“I made so many friends bowling and many lasted a lifetime. I still see a lot of them.”



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