Two inducted into TRUSBC Hall of Fame
THREE RIVERS — Two people were inducted Feb. 26 into the Three Rivers USBC (United States Bowling Congress) Association Hall of Fame: Calvin Perkins of White Pigeon and the late Avis Hackenburg of Three Rivers.
Perkins got his start at the Mixing Bowl, playing three games for $1, in the 1970s. He went for the fun of it, by himself or with friends.
“I got hooked on it and stayed with it,” he said.
Starting out joining the Sportsmen League at 9 p.m. Fridays, he eventually bowled in every league except the Classic and the Wednesday Afternoon leagues.
He was president and vice president of the Frosty Mixed League on Sunday, president of the Tuesday Night Men’s League, and president and vice president of the Youth League.
He started coaching youth in 1997, and has spent two years as assistant coach of Three Rivers High School’s bowling team.
“I enjoyed all the kids and the parents very much,” he said.
From the time Perkins began bowling until his retirement from the sport, of which he is in the second season, his league average rose from 110 to 202.
“I was self-taught,” he said. “I didn’t go through youth bowling. I tried to get around people I liked, and I learned a lot.”
His high score during league play was 297, however, one time when coaching, he got a 299.
“I left a 5 pin,” he said. “There was more pressure then — I wanted it so bad in front of the kids.”
Other hobbies include golf and playing softball; he worked as the grocery manager at Harding’s Market in Constantine and later Dan’s Market.
His wife Tammy, daughter Jessica Perkins Shetterly and granddaughter Skylar Perkins all bowled as well.
According to Hackenburg’s daughter, Tracy Miller, she was instrumental in organizing the first women’s bowling league in the late 1940’s. The Rose Room Beauty Shop sponsored her team on the Monday Night Frosty Ladies League. At that time, Harold and Lillian Salmen owned and operated Frosty Bowl; then Ted and Mae Wojtowicz who then sold to Jim and Mary Larsen and on to son, Mike Larsen currently South Lanes Bowl.
Hackenburg served as secretary/treasurer of the Frosty Ladies League and also the Sunday Night Mixed League for many, many years.
She maintained a bowling average in the 150’s which was very good for a woman bowler. She had some very good women competitors at the time, who kept her on her game. To name a few: Rose Kinney, Roberta Lehman and Eleanor Jones, the first women bowlers to achieve a 600 (which eluded her as much as she would have loved it). These games were achieved on wood lanes with a hard rubber bowling ball — pure talent and no science.
In the late 1950’s and early ‘60’s, the Three Rivers High School Girls’ Sports Club (girls in grades 9-12) offered after-school activities which included bowling. Avis coached basic bowling skills to all of the girls, which included correct ball fit, approach and delivery. She was a great teacher and mentor and truly loved the game.
Hackenburg and her teammates participated in all of the city and state bowling tournaments; travelled all over Michigan and participated in several national bowling tournaments; New Orleans, Dayton, Milwaukee to name a few.
She bowled until 1987, two years before she passed away due to cancer. Her bowling legacy and love of the game has passed down through her children and grandchildren. Daughters Carol Weiandt, Miller and Connie Eickhoff were all above average bowlers, and grand-son Russell Weiandt, at age 16, bowled a 701; and grandsons Russell and Keith Weiandt and David Hill are highly respected bowlers maintaining averages well over 200.