This year’s Hall of Fame could be a busy one as five candidates have advanced to the voting stage of the process.
In the Distinguished Performance category, Tom Smyth and Craig Zirbel will be on the National Hall of Fame ballot, mailed to all Hall members and MBA officers and directors. The deadline for return of these ballots is June 22. Ballots will be opened and counted at 5:00 at the MBA bowling office that same day.
Smyth has one MBA City Tournament title to his credit, as well as three top five finishes. He has four MAST titles and three second places. In MBA league competition, he has 13 300 games, eight 800 series (838), a high season average of 234, and a lifetime average of 214 over 26 seasons. Smyth also adds a host of collegiate accomplishments to his resume.
Zirbel owns three MBA City Tournament titles and a number of wins in other tournaments including the Henry Hitter, MAST, and the old Wisconsin State Non-Pro. He has 12 300’s, two 800s, a high average of 227, and a lifetime average of 209 over 30 years. Zirbel has thrown five additional 300 games and one 800 series in tournaments.
In Meritorious Service, Don Bussan was the sole nominee to advance to the ballot. Voting for this category is done at the committee level, by 12 Hall members, six MBA directors, the MBA President and Vice-President. Note that some MBA directors are also Hall members. These ballots are held under seal until the National Performance Ballots are returned.
Bussan has been a long-time supporter of the MBA as a major sponsor of the City, Senior City, Masters, and Senior Masters tournaments. The work of a proprietor is crucial to the health of bowling and to the health of the USBC. For decades, Bussan has consistently found a way to balance growing his personal business while supporting all bowling. He would join his father Bob Bussan in the Hall.
In the Veterans category, Mike Kelly and Don Leighton were placed on the ballot. Voting for this category is also done at the committee level.
Kelly was a standout youth bowler in the 1960’s. On March 1, 1967 at age 19, he was the youngest member of the MBA to roll a 300 game. Before health concerns degraded his skills, he was a feared bowler who could rival anyone. He has one City Tournament title to his credit.
Don Leighton is a 39 year member of the MBA, and has two City Tournament titles to his credit – both earned in the 1980’s. He added a Senior City Tournament Singles title to his resume just this year. Over his long career, he has amassed 16 300 games, and four 800 series (833). Don would join his father, Phil “Whiz Kid” Leighton in the Hall.
Nominee profiles with statistics, achievements, accomplishments, and/or service credentials are compiled annually and presented to a Credentials committee for review. This five member panel determines what nominees, if any, are forwarded for consideration.
Forwarded nominee profiles are then reviewed by a committee of Hall members and MBA directors in the specific nominee category – Distinguished Performance, Veterans, or Meritorious Service. This committee determines which nominees, if any, are placed on a ballot.
Ballots for Meritorious Service and Veterans are cast at the category committee level. There are a combined 20 members on the three committees, whose members stagger service in three year increments. Ballots for the Performance Category are mailed to current Hall members (57) and MBA association officials (11).
At any balloting level, a nominee must secure support on 70% of the returned ballots to merit induction into the Madison USBC Hall of fame.