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2024 Wisconsin Bowling Hall of Fame Class features John Albrecht, Brad Kuhr, Gary Strand, Ron Wilde, Steven Koltz

JEFF RICHGELS | Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2024 6:00 pm
2024 Wisconsin Bowling Hall of Fame Class features John Albrecht, Brad Kuhr, Gary Strand, Ron Wilde, Steven Koltz

The Wisconsin Bowling Hall of Fame Class of 2024 features John Albrecht, Brad Kuhr, Gary Strand and Ron Wilde in the Superior Performance category, and Steven Koltz in the Meritorious Service category.

The class is the fifth elected under the rules of the merged Wisconsin State USBC. The association’s Hall of Fame Committee that I am part of met Saturday at Weston Lanes in Weston.

The induction dinner is set for Saturday, June 1 at the Oshkosh Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center, 1 N. Main St. in Oshkosh. There is a cash bar at 6 p.m. and dinner is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person. For more information and tickets, call the WS-USBC at 414-446-9988. Rooms are available at the hotel for $129.99 plus tax under the "WI BOWLING USBC" block.

The Policy and Procedures and nomination forms for the two categories are attached to the bottom of this story as PDFs.

As I have written, the revised eligibility requirements are:
A. Candidate must be 50 years of age at the time of nomination
B. Candidate must have been a member of the USBC for at a minimum of 20 years
C. Candidate cannot, at any time, have been suspended by any current of former national, state, or local governing body
D. Candidate must have participated in the WS-USBC Championships
E. Superior performance candidates must have earned a SCRATCH title in any of the following list of events. (See application form)
 a. USBC, WIBC, Masters, or Queens Championships
 b. WS-USBC Open Championships, WS Women’s Championships
 c. WS-USBC Seniors, Badger Queens Championships
 d. Midwest Championships
 e. PBA, PWBA Championships
 f. Wisconsin Non-Pro Alliance Championships
 g. State Match Game Championships
 h. Bowling with the Champs, Team USA, and Junior Gold Championships

At one time, a male bowler needed to have competed in 20 Wisconsin State Tournaments and have won at least two State Tournament titles, meaning a player could have 10 PBA Tour titles, five USBC Eagles, and a bunch of gold medals for Team USA and not be eligible.

That made it more of a Wisconsin State Tournament Hall of Fame than a Wisconsin Bowling Hall of Fame. 

That had begun to change in recent years for the men's Hall of Fame when a USBC Eagle was added to a State Tournament title as a requirement: candidates needed to have two or more of those combined.

And to the great credit of the new Wisconsin State USBC, it changed the eligibility requirements even more to make it truly a Wisconsin Bowling Hall of Fame.

Albrecht, the brother of USBC Hall of Famer Jill (Albrecht) Weber, was one of the state’s top tournament bowlers in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The powerful right-hander’s wins include the Hoinke Scratch Doubles in 1979 when that was a big-time tournament; two State Tournament team titles; and State Match Games singles, doubles and team titles.

Kuhr’s stellar record is highlighted by USBC team Eagles with Bowlers Edge Pro Shop in 2003 and 2010. Kuhr’s 706 led the team to 3,294 in 2003 and was third with 653 on their 3,408 in 2010.    

Incredibly, Kuhr has not won a State Tournament title, with two seconds and a third his top finishes. But he has won numerous other tournaments, including on the WSBT, MAST, CWSBT, WRSBT, and BIG tours, and at Willow Creek.

Strand in his Wisconsin heyday of the late 1970s and early 1980s was among the state’s best and indisputably the top left-hander. As we both are from Madison, I got to watch his incredible skills on a regular basis from my teen years into my early 20s.

Strand won three PBA Regional titles, made the top 24 in his first PBA Tour event in the Miller Open in 1977, and finished sixth later that year in his second PBA Tour event in Waukegan, Illinois.

Strand won the 1976 Hoinke Classic doubles title with Jack Connaughton, the Wisconsin State Match Games singles in 1977, doubles with Bill Leidich in 1982, and all-events in 1982-83 and 1983-94.

He also won five Wisconsin Non-Pro Bowlers Alliance titles, the 1978 Connie Schwoegler Classic, and 1979 Park Towne Classic.

Wilde’s career highlight came at the 1993 ABC Tournament when he fired an 810 series featuring a perfect game and twin brother Randy added 688 as they totaled 1,498 to win the doubles Eagle.

He also rolled a perfect game in singles at the 1986 ABC Tournament.

Wilde rolled another perfect game in the 1998 State Tournament singles, and won Senior State Tournament titles in 2020 in team as he shot 763 and all-events with 2,150, and then doubles in 2022 as he fired 792 in the winning 1,555.

The Green Bay bowler has been a top player in northeastern Wisconsin for years.

Koltz has a long record as a State Tournament squad sponsor and volunteer, working almost every squad when the tournament is in Green Bay. I have said and written many times that tournament bowlers like myself should make sure to thank every proprietor and volunteer because without them we’d have nothing to show our skills in.

Koltz also worked the difficult task of lane certification, which USBC now handles with professional teams.

Plenty of people will notice that no women were elected this year.

There were multiple resumes for both men and women that did not include the required individual scores to enable us to better judge the player’s accomplishments. For example, a team title in which a player had the low score on the team is not the same as a team title in which a player had the high score.

There will be some wording changes on the nomination forms to make it more clear what is needed.

Unfortunately, finding scores from years ago is not easy, and in those cases noting efforts made to find the scores could be helpful.

For the women, the Hall of Fame is in a period where several candidates that would be getting inducted under the rules already are inducted. This is because before the merger that created the Wisconsin State USBC, the Women’s HOF had an age eligibility of 35, while the merged Hall of Fame has an age eligibility of 50.