The Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin (BCAW) is pleased to announce its 2022 Awards of Excellence winners.
Proprietor David Bardon, Youth Bowling Directors John Breunig and Cher Breunig, and former BCAW Executive Director Yvonne Bennett have been selected as this year’s recipients based on their outstanding dedication to center promotion, youth bowling, coaching and raising awareness of the sport.
The BCAW Awards of Excellence annually recognize bowling center owners, proprietors, managers and others who have made significant contributions over time to bowling in Wisconsin. This year’s awards were given out in two categories: Over 12 Lanes (bowling center) and Special Awards.
Here’s a closer look at this year’s honorees:
David Bardon, longtime proprietor with Bardon Bowling Centers, is this year’s winner in the Over 12 Lanes category. Wearing several different hats, Bardon has maintained an active role in the bowling industry at all levels.
As a proprietor, Bardon and his wife, Janell, purchased Anchor Lanes (Elkhart Lake) in 1993 before going into bowling full time three years later. After acquiring Anchor Lanes, the Bardons purchased four other centers: JB’s on 41 (Milwaukee), Odyssey Fun Center (Sheboygan Falls), Super Bowl (Appleton) and Olympic Lanes (Milwaukee).
Bardon consistently provided his guests with a culture of fun and excitement and was instrumental in expanding the Bowler’s Ed program to numerous schools in Wisconsin, bringing more youth bowlers into the sport with school field trips and league registrations.
In addition to his proprietor role, Bardon displayed a commitment to bowling as a volunteer leader at the state and national levels. Bardon served on the BCAW Board of Directors for 22 years including terms as president and treasurer. Bardon also served the national Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America (BPAA) as a member of the Board of Directors, as well as the Government Affairs and League Development committees.
John Breunig and Cher Breunig – Special Award
The Breunigs, youth bowling directors at Prairie Lanes in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, have displayed supreme commitment and dedication to youth bowling and coaching in the state for the past three decades.
In 2004, the Breunigs began an almost 20-year contribution to coaching in the BCAW High School Bowling Program. Cher Breunig has coached the junior varsity, boys’ and girls’ varsity teams at Sun Prairie. Her Sun Prairie girls’ teams have won the District 4 varsity championship for all but four years she has been the coach. At the state level, Cher Breunig’s teams have finished in the top five for more than 10 years. In 2020, her team won the girls’ state championship.
As longtime head coach of the Sun Prairie boys/co-ed varsity team, John Breunig has led his clubs to more than 15 District 4 varsity team titles and four state titles. He has coached five Sun Prairie boys’ singles bowlers to individual state championships. The Breunigs have coached numerous bowlers to top 10 state finishes in singles.
Both are certified coaches with the USBC Coaching Program. John is certified at the Silver level and Cher at the Bronze level. John Breunig, owner of Coachz Pro Shop at Prairie Lanes, has more than 26 years of pro shop experience.
The Breunigs, who have coached All-Star Challenge teams in District 4, assisted in starting a Middle School bowling program in the Madison area which has been going strong for more than 10 years.
In addition, the Breunigs have actively promoted youth bowling in the Madison area by running a very successful junior program that features five skill levels on Thursdays and Saturdays. They have added a challenge league using different oil patterns that develop bowlers’ lane-reading skills. Last year the Breunigs had more than 100 youth bowlers in their program. The Breunigs’ ensure many of their youth bowlers participate in the Pepsi USBC Tournament. Since 1994, both have played an active role in the Badgerland Youth Bowlers Tour which features six events per season.
Yvonne Bennett – Special Award
Yvonne Bennett has been named recipient of a BCAW Special Award thanks to her outstanding service for the organization. As executive director of the BCAW from 2014 through 2021, Bennett’s keen decision-making skills and tireless work ethic immensely improved the organization from financial and membership standpoints.
Mostly through her state travel with the Bowlapalooza program, Bennett increased BCAW membership from about 170 bowling centers to more than 220. That impressive recruitment of new members earned accolades from the BPAA.
Through her social media efforts and program development including increased scholarships, Bennett also helped increase participation in Pepsi USBC Tournament, and the High School and Middle School programs. Bennett gained national recognition for Wisconsin through her programs such as the Vintage Alley Tour and general membership growth. Bennett’s work resulted in the BCAW receiving the BPAA Special Projects Award at Bowl Expo.
Bennett led a redesign of the BCAW website that increased communication to members and non-members alike.
In the area of finance, Bennett transformed the BCAW from a year-to-year operation to an association with enough reserves to waive an entire year of member dues. During a year with a projected loss of about $150,000, Bennett’s efforts to help secure PPP loans and forgiveness led to a balance sheet with revenue of more than $50,000. Coupled with operational restrictions, Bennett reduced the year-end loss by more than $100,000.
Beyond those financial and membership accomplishments, Bennett also led the organization to improve areas such as strategic planning, technology upgrades, governance revision including organization bylaws and transparency. Bennett also was instrumental in winding down the Grand Prix program and moving administration of scholarship tracking to the USBC SMART program.