At a May 2 banquet attended by 70, the Batesville Bowling Association introduced two new members to the BBA Hall of Fame, Willie Hoegeman and John Jones, reported association manager Harry Kolter. Their names will be added to a permanent plaque displayed at East Bowl, Batesville.
The Hall of Fame's purpose is to recognize former and current BBA members who have distinguished themselves by accomplishments and/or their contributions to the game of bowling. In all, 15 have been inducted into Batesville's Hall of Fame, the manager said.
Willie Hoegeman’s parents, Callie and the late Albert, and his grandfather, the late Tony, taught him to bowl and were also very good bowlers. Hoegeman's siblings bowled as well, according to Kolter.
The Hall of Fame recipient began bowling in the East Bowl Youth League. He fondly remembers his mom bringing him and his siblings on Saturday to the Batesville facility. Willie bowled on a team named Country Cousins, and also on another with his grandfather, dad and siblings when he was a sophomore in high school.
Hoegeman has competed in several events, including the United States Bowling Association national tournaments at Reno, Nevada, and Texas; several Cincinnati competitions; and tournaments at East Bowl.
He has three 300 scores and four 800s. The bowler also has six that are 290 or better. In 2013, Hoegeman won the Indiana State Tournament in scratch singles with a score of 299, and a scratch for all events with a score of 800.
The athlete worked at East Bowl for seven years and considers that time as his most fun job. He occasionally helps owner Dan Franks with the machines there and has helped youth league members improve their bowling skills.
Hoegeman’s advice to other bowlers is "to have a beer and have fun. Enjoy the sport."