Exit Realty Midwest - Cherokee REALTORS want to acknowledge Kenny Bern
This past weekend, Kenny got some more love, when the Iowa Bowling Hall of Fame in Des Moines inducted him into the Hall of Fame for his outstanding bowling ability over a 20 year career.
The Iowa Bowling Hall of Fame was established in 1959, with its first class inducted the following year. Close to 120 people have been inducted since that time, but none from Cherokee - in fact, very few of the enshrinees are even from this part of the state, with the few who are from northwest Iowa being from Sioux City, Fort Dodge and Spencer.
Kenny didn't even start bowling until he was in his late 20's, but when he started, on kind of a whim, he showed right away that this was his "thing." On his very first night, Kenny rolled a three game line of 510 (a per game average of 170). Before he knew it, Kenny was bowling in a Mixed League with his late wife Olga, and he eventually wound up bowling in as many as eight leagues - mixed, doubles, you name it.Kenny bowled all over the state - and beyond - over the ensuing 20 years - "from Fargo, North Dakota to Miami and both the East and West Coasts," in his words.
"It was the competition (he loved), Bern says today. "I loved the tournaments and back then every little bowling alley had a tournament," Bern said.
All told, Kenny estimates that he (and often Olga as well) put it an estimated 50 - 60,000 miles a year traveling to and from bowling events - all by car. During the day he worked at the former Hy Grade Plant (for 34 years, until it closed in 1981), but many nights and weekends were spent on the road and in the bowling alleys.
Kenny bowled seven 300 games (four of them sanctioned) during his career, and he won three tournaments that he considers "majors" - the Bowlers Journal Tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1968 (he finished second at the previous year's tournament in Miami, Florida; the Lilac Lanes Classic in Minneapolis in 1961 or '62; and the Sacramento (California) Open, where he bowled 24 consecutive strikes.
One interesting fact about Kenny's bowling career is that when it was over, it was over. After bowling practically non-stop for twenty years, he "hung it up" for good in 1975 , and he hasn't even bowled recreationally since then. He says the last year he bowled he "hurt all the time" (especially his knees) and he felt most tournaments were "just too far to drive."
Instead, he has very actively followed all of Cherokee Washington's sporting events as well as other area schools and has made many lasting friendships along the way.
Kenny, 88, says he's "dang proud" of the Hall of Fame honor, adding that he "put a lifetime into 20 years" when he was active on the lanes.
Kenny was a guest of honor at a supper Friday night at the Ramada Inn in Des Moines - home of the Hall of Fame - and he was inducted into the Hall at 12 noon on Saturday.
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