The annual award was presented to Hileman at Bowl Expo 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. First awarded in 2011, the Jim Jaryszak Laneman Award recognizes a person for their behind-the-scenes work as a laneman. The winner is selected by the United States Bowling Congress Equipment Specifications and Certifications team from submitted nominations.
Pictured above: Bob Hileman, center, is presented the 2017 Jim Jaryszak Laneman Award by USBC President Frank Wilkinson, left, and Len Nicholson, the first recipient of the award.
“It was a total surprise,” Hileman said. “I’m deeply honored and humbled at the same time. Jim Jaryszak and I were very good friends, and I miss him dearly. To have my name associated with all the lanemen in the world – Lenny Nicholson, John Davis, everyone – I’m quite honored. I can’t say enough.”
Hileman has been the laneman at Stardust Bowl II in Merrillville, Indiana, for more than 35 years. He started his career at the center in the mid-70s, working as a porter when he was 15, but soon began his work behind the scenes. Wally Kucharski trained Hileman as a mechanic, and when Kucharski left the center in the late 1980s, Hileman assumed the job as head mechanic.
He was instrumental in running Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) national and regional events held at Stardust Bowl, including the PBA Tour Trials. He is a three-time recipient of the Pat Patterson Award, which recognizes individual contributions toward the PBA Regional program.
“I’ve seen him helping out another laneman at a high school tournament, not at his center, when their lane machine broke down,” said Stephanie Cooley, coach of the Lake Central girls bowling team, who was one of two people to nominate Hileman. “He always does whatever he can to help. His knowledge is unsurpassed in the area of lane maintenance.”
The Jim Jaryszak Laneman Award is named in honor of the USBC Research Manager, who passed away in late 2010. Jaryszak was instrumental in setting up the USBC Sport Bowling program and served as the point person when the PBA was updating their animal patterns.
Past recipients include Sam Baca, the first Director of Lane Maintenance for the PBA, Kegel founder John Davis, and Len Nicholson, the former PBA director of lane maintenance, the first recipient of the award.
Click here to learn more about the Jim Jaryszak Laneman Award.
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