Four area bowlers get their hall pass
Ruth E. Thompson, Cheryl C. Hoff, Jack Heimel and Dave Biggerstaff are this year's four inductees for the SCWI/USBC Bowling Association Joint Halls of Fame.
Ruth E. Thompson
Thompson, an Edgerton resident, is being inducted for meritorious service.
While Thompson has bowled since she met her husband, John, in 1959, her coaching of young bowlers and commitment to serving as a league officer are what have earned her the most attention.
Thompson began coaching young bowlers in 1971 on the urging of Char Hartzell. She became a certified coach in 1974. She worked with Evelyn Kettle in youth leagues at the old Franklin Lanes, and Hartzell and Thompson coached at the Northern Inn.
Donna Skau and Kenlon Meyers have helped Thompson coach in recent years, and one of Thompson's former students, John Gorschel, now helps her coach.
"I love kids, and I love bowling," Thompson said. "Nobody sits on the bench. All the kids get to play."
Thompson's first starting serving as a league officer in the 1970s and has been in various capacities ever since.
She has bowled in 29 national, 35 state and 20 local association tournaments.
Thompson is the chaplain for the Edgerton VFW Auxiliary Post 2708 and a trustee and vice president of her church board.
She and her husband, John, were both inducted into the Edgerton Hall of Fame in 1997.
Cheryl C. Hoff
Hoff is being inducted for superior performance.
"It's going to be a night I'll never forget," she said.
Her career highs are a 263 game, 662 series and 178 average.
"This is what I do during the winter months, and I thoroughly enjoy it," Hoff said. "You form bonds with friends, and it extends outside of bowling. I golf with many of the same women I bowl with, and we go out and do fun things."
Her interest in bowling was sparked at age 10 in Brodhead. When she was at Orfordville High, Sandy Paulsen and Hoff began a Girls Athletic Association bowling program.
Hoff began bowling in adult leagues after high school.
She went on to win several city tournament titles and league titles, competing in every center in Janesville and Beloit.
Hoff said her most memorable thrills in bowling over the recent years have been watching teammates and friends roll high scores.
The Janesville resident has worked for 41 years as a system administrator of management operations of the computer department at Beloit College.
Heimel is being inducted for superior performance.
"It's a great honor," Heimel said. "I really appreciate it."
Heimel has earned several tournament titles, including two Central Illinois Classic Bowling Association championships, along with an U.S. Open qualifying title in 1986 at Don Carter Lanes in Rockford, Ill.
Heimel has been a Janesville Bowling Association member for 16 years and served three years on the board of directors.
Heimel has bowled eight 300 games and a 798 high series.
His high average was 232, and he has competed in 20 state tournaments and 29 national tournaments.
The Illinois native said his parents and grandparents were bowlers, which got him started at a young age.
"I grew up in a small town, and there wasn't much else to do," he said.
Heimel enjoys the competition and friendships he has developed throughout the years in the area.
Biggerstaff, who got his start in the sport a youngster, is being inducted for superior performance and meritorious service.
"It's a very proud moment for me," Biggerstaff said. "I've been bowling since I was 5 years old, and two of my four children are in it, so it's quite an honor for me."
Biggerstaff has bowled more than 40 years in men's, mixed and junior leagues, and served nine years on the JBA board of directors.
The 1975 Janesville Craig High School graduate is a certified bowling coach and will enter his second season as the head bowling coach at Parker High.
His Parker team, which included daughter Taylor, finished first in the local league last year and was 11th in the state high school tournament.
Biggerstaff's top accomplishments include a 300 game, many 700 series, a career-high series of 803 and a high season average of 234. At one time, he bowled in three leagues a week.
Being inducted for both performance and service is noteworthy.
"Now that I'm older, helping kids is more important," Biggerstaff said. "But I'm such an avid bowler, and I love the sport. I would rank them both equal."