Eight inducted into USBC Hall of Fame Class of 2024

LAS VEGAS – The eight members of the 2024 United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame class were celebrated during their induction ceremony Wednesday evening at South Point Hotel and Casino.

Missy Parkin of San Clemente, California, Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina, and Sean Rash of Montgomery, Illinois, were inducted in the Superior Performance category. Debbie Kuhn of Abingdon, Maryland, Jodi Woessner of Oregon, Ohio, and Brian Waliczek of Frankenmuth, Michigan, were inducted in the USBC Outstanding Performance category. Roy Buckley of Columbus, Ohio, was inducted in the Veterans category and Darlene Baker of Mahomet, Illinois, was inducted in the Meritorious Service category.

Five of the eight members of the 2024 class were in attendance for the ceremony Wednesday. Buckley, who died in 2021 at the age of 77, was inducted posthumously. Jones and Rash were competing in the Professional Bowlers Association’s Tournament of Champions in Fairlawn, Ohio.

Parkin, a 42-year-old right-hander, has enjoyed a decorated youth, collegiate, international (Team USA) and professional career.

Her most memorable professional win came when she collected the title at the 2011 USBC Queens in Syracuse, New York. That win was one of seven top-10 finishes Parkin owns in the event. She also has finished in the top 10 six times at the U.S. Women’s Open and once at the USBC Masters (tied for ninth in 2012).

In addition to those professional accolades, Parkin has enjoyed success at the USBC Women’s Championships. She was part of the team that won the Classic Team title at the 2003 event in Reno, Nevada. Parkin contributed 645 to the winning team total of 3,220.

Parkin is a 13-time Team USA and four-time Junior Team USA member and has earned more than 40 medals during international competition, including 23 gold medals.

“When you’re in another country and you hear your national anthem playing and realize you’re representing your entire country, I can’t even put into words what that feels like,” Parkin said.

She was a collegiate standout at California State-Fullerton where she was a two-time National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association first-team All-American (2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons) and NCBCA Most Valuable Player for the 2002-2003 season.

In 2003, Parkin was the Intercollegiate Team Championships Most Valuable Player and was named to the All-Tournament Team in the men’s division (California State-Fullerton did not have a women’s team at the time). Parkin was selected as the Bowling Writers Association of America (now IBMA) 2003 Female Collegiate Player of the Year.

Parkin made headlines on the youth bowling scene with a win at the inaugural Junior Gold Championships in 1998 and was the recipient of the prestigious Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow award in 2001.

“I’ve had a very unconventional career, and I’ve broken some barriers,” Parkin said. “I bowled against the men for over 10 years, and then I bowled in Europe and Asia. I do hope that I’ve had some impact on the younger generation that looked up to some of us who did those things and inspired them to bowl.”

Jones, a 45-year-old right-hander, has enjoyed a storied career on both the PBA Tour and as a member of Team USA.

He’s accumulated 20 PBA Tour titles (tied for 13th all-time), which includes a pair of major championships. Jones’ first win on the PBA Tour came at the 2004 Japan Cup in Tokyo, and his 20th win came at the 2020 PBA Hall of Fame Classic in Arlington, Texas, where he shot 300 on TV on the same weekend he was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame.

Jones earned his first major championship at the 2006 U.S. Open in North Brunswick, New Jersey, and followed that up a year later with a major win at the PBA Tournament of Champions in Uncasville, Connecticut.

He also has left his mark as an 11-time member of Team USA where he won more than 25 medals during international competition, including 10 gold medals. Jones started his career with Junior Team USA with an event in Hong Kong in 1996 and bookended it in the same city as a member of Team USA in 2018.

Jones shared his thoughts via a video that was played during the induction dinner.

“I got to do it with my best friends,” Jones said of his time with Team USA. “There’s something about wearing your country’s colors on your shirt, representing Team USA and doing it at the highest level that is just so rewarding. It was always about winning medals and representing the United States to the best of your ability both on and off the lanes.”

Jones hasn’t limited his success to just professional and international competition. He brought home an Eagle at the 1999 USBC Open Championships in Syracuse, New York, when he won Regular All-Events with a total of 2,158.

He is one of five PBA players to have been named PBA Rookie of the Year (2001-2002 season) and PBA Player of the Year (2005-2006 season) during their careers. In 2009, the PBA ranked its 50 greatest players of all-time, and Jones checked in at No. 30 on the list.

“There are very few people in both (USBC and PBA Halls of Fame),” Jones said. “If you would’ve told 17-year-old me that I would be in both the PBA and USBC Halls of Fame, I would’ve said you were crazy. I would’ve told you I just wanted to go bowl, so obviously I did something right. It’s been fun.”

Like Jones, Rash has made his mark on the PBA Tour and during international competition as a nine-time Team USA and three-time Junior Team USA member as well as earning an Eagle at the USBC Open Championships.

Rash, a 41-year-old right-hander, boasts 17 PBA Tour titles, including two major wins. He collected his first PBA win at the 2006 West Virginia Championship in Parkersburg and notched his 17th at the 2021 PBA Chesapeake (Virginia) Open. 

His first major championship was a memorable one as it came at the 2007 USBC Masters at Miller Park in Milwaukee (home of baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers). His other major championship came at the 2012 PBA Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas.

Rash was PBA Player of the Year for the 2011-2012 season and won both the PBA High Average and Points Leader awards that season.

During his time with Team USA and Junior Team USA, Rash collected 19 medals, including 14 gold.

Rash also claimed an Eagle at the 2003 USBC Open Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee, when he paired with Derek Sapp to win Regular Doubles with a then-record total of 1,540. That win is one of 11 top-10 finishes for Rash at the Open Championships.

Collegiate and youth-level success are included in Rash’s bio as well. He was a member of the winning Wichita State University team at the 2003 Intercollegiate Team Championships and was a two-time member of the NCBCA All-American First Team.

Rash also was able to share some of his thoughts via video.

“I learned real quick at Wichita State that you had to be a team player, and it didn’t go very well for me my first year or two in college,” Rash said. “You learn from failure more than you do from winning. I learned a lot about who I was as a person and who I wanted to be. It really helped me move forward to the next step in my life.”

As a youth, he won the 2002 Junior Gold Championships in Winter Haven/Lakeland, Florida, and was named the Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow in 2001.

Rash won the 2012 ESPY Award for Best Bowler and was the first player to roll multiple 300 games on TV during PBA competition (2014 and 2015).

“Looking back, the hardest thing for any athlete is the amount of travel we do,” Rash said. “Our spouses and kids get left out sometimes. I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my wife Sara. My parents got me started on this journey, but I don’t know if I could still be doing it by myself. So, thank you, honey.”

Kuhn, a right-hander, is a two-time champion at the USBC Women’s Championships.

Both of her titles came at the 1991 event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she set records (since broken) in both Classic Singles (773) and All-Events (2,036). Her all-events total marked the first time a woman had broken the 2,000-pin mark.

“I had no idea what the records were, not any of them,” Kuhn recalled. “I remember the Dorin sisters were bowling to my left. I’m pretty sure Leanne Barrette, Carol Norman and Robin Romeo were on that squad to my right, so I was thinking that if I was bowling that well, they had to be bowling better. When I was told I broke the records, all I could say was ‘Wow.’ It was hard to believe.”

Kuhn is a three-time member of Team USA (1998, 1999 and 2000) where she was part of gold medal teams at the 1999 Pan American Games and the 2000 FIQ World Tenpin Team Cup. She was the U.S. National Amateur champion in 1998.

In addition to her two Women’s Championships wins, Kuhn owns four more top-10 finishes at the Women’s Championships. She was the Bowling Digest Magazine Amateur Woman Bowler of the Year in 1999 and has been inducted into the Maryland State USBC Association Hall of Fame, the Greater Baltimore USBC Hall of Fame and the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame, all for Superior Performance.

“I’m being inducted into the national (USBC) Hall of Fame with some amazing players,” Kuhn said. “It’s incredible, and it’s also very humbling. One of my friends referred to it as ‘The Big Dog Hall of Fame.’ It’s the ultimate.”
Woessner owns three titles at the USBC Women’s Championships with her most recent coming in last year’s event. The right-hander also is the 2022 USBC Senior Queens champion.

At the 2010 Women’s Championships in El Paso, Texas, Woessner posted a record all-events total of 2,330, which gave her titles in both Scratch All-Events and Diamond All-Events. The record still stands today.

“I had no idea about the record as I was bowling,” said Woessner. “I was just so focused on my bowling. My husband was flying in at the time, and as soon as he landed in El Paso, his phone was blowing up because I had just finished bowling and had taken the lead and broken the record. It was so cool.”

Last year in Las Vegas, Woessner won the Diamond Team event as a member of Sterner Strong 2. Woessner contributed 679 to the winning team total of 2,705. Included in that 679 was a 300 game, making her one of five bowlers at the tournament to record both a 300 game and 800 series (816 in doubles in 2010) on the championship lanes.

Woessner’s win at the 2022 Senior Queens in Las Vegas came in her event debut. Woessner went undefeated in bracket match play and earned the top seed for the stepladder finals where she defeated USBC Hall of Famer Lucy Sandelin, 238-223, for the title.

In addition to her Women’s Championships and Senior Queens victories, Woessner has five other top-10 finishes at the Women’s Championships, a pair of top-10 finishes in the USBC Queens and a fourth-place finish at this year’s USBC Senior Queens.

“There’s truly more than one way to get here,” Woessner said. “If you’re determined enough, put yourself out there and never, ever give up, that is what’s gonna get you there. That’s what I want people to remember about me. I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities, but there’s nothing greater than this.”

Waliczek earned induction in his first year on the ballot on the strength of four Eagles won at the USBC Open Championships.

Eagle No. 1 for Waliczek, a right-hander, came in 2015 as part of Team NABR in El Paso, Texas. The group captured the title in Regular Team with a 3,368 total. Waliczek’s contribution was 659.

Waliczek’s second and third wins at the Open Championships came in 2017 in Las Vegas as Team NABR won titles in both Regular Team (3,266 with Waliczek contributing 655) and Team All-Events (9,957 with Waliczek adding 2,051).

His fourth Eagle came at the 2022 event in Las Vegas as Waliczek captured the Regular All-Events title with 2,241. His performance on the way to that Eagle was incredibly consistent as Waliczek posted 745 in team, 750 in doubles and 746 in singles (a 249 average for his nine games).

Waliczek offered some perspective on his team’s success at the Open Championships.

“We’ve been together for about 10 years now,” Waliczek said. “I think for a lot of teams, when they go to nationals, it ends up being an individual affair because you’re worried about your brackets; you’re worried about how you’re going to do, how you’re going to win your money or lose your money. We said right from the get-go that we were going to split everything, so I think that mindset put us in a good place to succeed.”

Waliczek ranks sixth on the Open Championships lifetime average list (min. 20 years) with a 217.6 average. On the 10-year short-term average list, he ranks fourth at 224.3. In addition to his four Eagles, he owns eight other top-10 finishes at the event. He’s a former National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) Bowler of the Year (1998-1999 season) and member of the Intercollegiate Team Championships winning team at Saginaw Valley State (1996-1997 season).

He talked about what he thought people might think of him being inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame.

“If people knew me, hopefully, they would say that I was a person they enjoyed bowling next to, that I was good ambassador for the sport and that they were excited and happy that I made it,” Waliczek said. “This is the accumulation of everything for me; this is my pinnacle. I don’t get very emotional, but this is the deal that kind of gives me goosebumps.”

Buckley earned induction in the Veterans category after previously being considered in Superior Performance.

The right-hander won seven titles on the Professional Bowlers Association Tour in a 10-year span from 1971-1981 and captured a pair of Eagles at the Open Championships.

His first PBA Tour win came in North Carolina in the 1971 Winston-Salem Open and was bookended by a win in New York in the 1981 Buffalo Open. Buckley was a consistent threat in the 70s, collecting six of his seven titles in that decade.

And although Buckley was a full-time competitor on the PBA Tour, he never lost sight of what was truly important.

“He would be gone a couple of weeks at a time, but the rule was that he wouldn’t be gone for more than three weeks,” Angela Gearheart, Buckley’s daughter, said. “That’s what he and my mom agreed on, and to us that was normal. His whole life was bowling, but it wasn’t all of who he was; it was just what he did.”  

Buckley’s two Eagles at the Open Championships also came in the 70s as he was part of the winning team in the Classic Team division in back-to-back years – 1975 and 1976. Buckley’s Munsingwear #2 teams were victorious with 2,980 in 1975 and 3,281 in 1976. Buckley’s contribution to the cause was 661 in 1975 and 641 the following year.

He had one top-10 finish at the USBC Masters (sixth in 1991) and a pair of top-10 finishes at the USBC Senior Masters (tied for ninth in 2001 and second in 2004). Buckley also had four other top-10 finishes at the Open Championships, including second-place finishes in 1974 in Classic Team and Classic All-Events where he shot 2,103.

Buckley was a two-time first team USBC All-American (1975 and 1976), a first team Bowlers Journal All-American (1975-1976 season) and has been inducted into the Central Ohio USBC Hall of Fame (1977), the Ohio State USBC Hall of Fame (1988) and the PBA Hall of Fame (1992).

“This brings it full circle,” Gearheart said. “He’s in the local hall of fame; he’s in the state hall of fame; he’s in the PBA Hall of Fame, and now he’s in the national (USBC) Hall of Fame. When my mom heard about it, she said, ‘That’s beyond wonderful.’ I think that’s the perfect way to put it . . . it’s beyond wonderful.”

Baker has spent more than three decades serving the bowling industry in a variety of local, state, national and international roles from youth bowling to the adult ranks.

She has been a director, secretary, treasurer, delegate, vice president and president at every level, culminating with a one-year term as the president of USBC (the first woman to hold the office) following a year as president-elect.

Baker has served on dozens of committees, often as the chairperson, at each level and was a key participant in the creation of the USBC in 2005 through the merger of the ABC, WIBC, YABA and USA Bowling. She also has contributed to the evolution of the SMART program.

She has been a member of the volunteer tournament staff at the USBC Junior Gold Championships for more than a decade and has assisted at the World Bowling Women’s Championships and World Bowling Youth Championships as well as her annual state and local events.

Baker also offers much of her time to bowling’s charities. She has worked closely with the Bowlers To Veterans Link and was the BVL Ambassador of the Year in 2019.

“Until I was actually on the BVL Board, I didn’t have a clear understanding of everything they really do,” Baker said. “And that’s the story that we’ve been trying to get out for about the last 10 years now. BVL means a lot to me because I have a lot of veterans in my family. Seeing some of the stories of the soldiers that come home and how BVL helps them, they’re really doing a lot of good things. It’s very satisfying to give back.”
Her decades as a leader, volunteer, philanthropist and mentor already have earned her spots in the Clinton (Ill.) WBA Hall of Fame (1991), Illinois WBA Hall of Fame (2005) and Champaign (Ill.) Area Hall of Fame (2012) – all for meritorious service.

“It’s the ultimate recognition,” an emotional Baker said of her induction. “It’s really humbling to be recognized for something that you love to do. It’s the top thing. Sometimes you feel like, ‘Why me? All I did was what I was supposed to do.’ But I guess I feel like that’s my purpose, to do what I can for others.”

Including the 2024 class, there are 460 members of the USBC Hall of Fame – 233 in Superior Performance, 127 in Meritorious Service, 55 in Veterans, 23 in Outstanding USBC Performance and 22 in Pioneer.

The USBC Hall of Fame was created in 2005 by merging the former American Bowling Congress and Women’s International Bowling Congress Halls of Fame.

Visit BOWL.com/HallofFame for more information on the USBC Hall of Fame.