David Yamauchi of La Palma, Calif., the executive director of the Junior Amateur Tour in Southern California, has been selected by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee to receive the Kerm Helmer Horizon Award.
The award recognizes leaders in the sport of bowling who have displayed courage, determination and the ability to develop far-reaching programs that provide fun and exciting opportunities for collegiate and/or youth bowlers. The award is named in honor of Kerm Helmer, the longtime bowling coach at Erie Community College who also served as a board member, vice president and president of the Young American Bowling Alliance.
“I’m honored to be recognized and flattered someone would even take the time to notice what I do,” Yamauchi said. “Honestly, it’s a true labor of love to be able to provide fun and competitive events for generations of youth bowlers here in Southern California. I’m thankful to USBC for recognizing myself, but more importantly for recognizing the Junior Amateur Tour and what the organization means to the youth in my area.”
The JAT was introduced to Southern California by Mickey Colletti in the 1970s, and many stars have come up through the organization’s ranks over the years, including PBA Hall of Famer and ESPN color analyst, Randy Pedersen. More recent graduates include the 2011 USBC Queens champion, Missy Parkin; three-time PBA Tour champion, Scott Norton; and current Wichita State standout, Wesley Low.
Yamauchi comes from a family of league and avid bowlers. He started bowling at an early age and said having great youth directors helped him hone his skills to the point he could take part in the Junior Amateur Tour Farm Club.
He put together a summer youth scratch league — “basically, so we all could have another excuse to get together” — and after joining the adult ranks, he continued to help at JAT events, which provided premier events for youth bowlers in Southern California.
He would become one of two assistant directors for the JAT under the guidance of Mary Smith, mother of pro bowler Robert Smith, after Smith succeeded Colletti in the director’s chair. A few years later, Mary Smith had to take a leave and asked Yamauchi if he could “watch things for her. That led to him taking the role as executive director when she decided not to return.
He now has been involved with JAT, as a bowler and administrator, for 31 years.
For more comments from Yamauchi, go to: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/california-junior-tour-director-to-receive-kerm-helmer-horizon-award/.