Bob Hileman of Portage, Ind., who has worked in bowling for more than 40 years, was named recipient of the 2017 Jim Jaryszak Laneman Award last Wednesday at Bowl Expo.

First presented in 2011, the Jim Jaryszak Laneman Award recognizes a person for their behind-the-scenes work as a laneman. The winner is selected by the United States Bowling Congress Equipment Specifications and Certifications team from submitted nominations.

“It was a total surprise,” Hileman said. “I’m deeply honored and humbled at the same time. Jim Jaryszak and I were very good friends, and I miss him dearly. To have my name associated with all the lanemen in the world — Lenny Nicholson, John Davis, everyone — I’m quite honored. I can’t say enough.”

Hileman has been the laneman at Stardust Bowl II in Merrillville, Ind., for more than 35 years. He started his career at the center in the mid-1970s, hired as a porter when he was 15, but soon began his work behind the scenes. Wally Kucharski trained Hileman as a mechanic, and when Kucharski left the center in the late 1980s, Hileman assumed the job as head mechanic.

He was instrumental in running PBA national and regional events at Stardust Bowl, including the PBA Tour Trials. He is a three-time recipient of the Pat Patterson Award, which recognizes individual contributions toward the PBA Regional program.

“I’ve seen him helping out another laneman at a high school tournament, not at his center, when their lane machine broke down,” said Stephanie Cooley, coach of the Lake Central girls bowling team, who was one of two people to nominate Hileman. “He always does whatever he can to help. His knowledge is unsurpassed in the area of lane maintenance.”

The Jim Jaryszak Laneman Award is named in honor of the former USBC Research Manager, who passed away in late 2010. Jaryszak was instrumental in setting up the USBC Sport Bowling program and served as the point person when the PBA was updating its animal patterns.


2011 — Len Nicholson

2012 — Sam Baca

2013 — John Davis

2014 — Steve Cross

2015 — Bill Cooley

2016 — John Forst

2017 — Bob Hileman

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