Mount Pleasant Bowlers Hall of Fame recognizes accomplished athletes
In Pat Wilmot’s dining room two Mount Pleasant Bowlers Hall of Fame plaques hang on the wall above her desk – one is hers and the other is her late husband’s.
Wilmot, an 83-year-old Shepherd resident, was inducted into the Mount Pleasant Bowlers Hall of Fame in 1988. Her husband, John Wilmot, was inducted a year later in 1989.
Each year, the Hall of Fame inducts up to four new members, living or dead, that have been part of the Mount Pleasant bowlers community.
Hall of Fame members are defined as "bowlers, proprietors and sponsors."
To be selected, candidates must be members of the Mount Pleasant United States Bowling Congress and show character, sportsmanship, personality, leadership, dedication and achievement, said President Jerry Fountain.
This year, four new members were inducted into the Hall of Fame, three of which were brothers.
The inductees were Sean, Scott and Jason Embrey and Karen Naganashe.
Wilmot said it was a “cute moment” when the brothers' mother and father ushered them to accept their plaques.
A left-handed bowler and former member of the Women’s Bowling Association, Wilmot used to bowl in mixed leagues on Sunday nights with her husband. The couple also practiced and competed against each other at Chippewa Lanes, which has since gone out of business.
“There was a time I could beat him, but as we bowled, he got better, I guess,” Wilmot said.
Wilmot served as secretary for Junior Bowlers, is a registered bowling coach, and served as the Bowlers Hall of Fame’s first president from 1984-2017.
“(At the first meeting), I opened my big mouth and got myself the job,” Wilmot said.
She and inductee Ivan Carroll had the original idea in the late 70s, but it was difficult to get the Hall of Fame going, Wilmot said.
“For a few years we would meet once throughout the year and nothing would ever be decided,” Wilmot said.
Finally, after three or four years, groups from both the Men and Women’s Bowling Associations got together and decided to officially become the Bowlers Hall of Fame.
After 33 years as president, Wilmot finally decided it was time to let Fountain, vice president at the time, take her position as president.
"(The Bowlers Hall of Fame) is trying to reward those bowlers who have given back to the community, which has declined over the years," Fountain said.
At one time, there were more than 1,500 bowlers who came to Mount Pleasant to compete in tournaments and leagues, Fountain said.
Due to back problems Wilmot is now unable to bowl and said she "can't stand" going into a bowling alley.
However, the Wilmot's pictures will always hang with 127 others in Riverwood Resort's bowling alley at 1313 E Broomfield Rd.
"The Bowlers Hall of Fame, just like in any other major sport ... it encompasses a whole, complete career's worth of achievements," said Jeremy Lawless, Riverwood Resort general manager. "Mount Pleasant Bowlers Hall of Fame's rich history is proudly displayed in (Riverwood's bowling alley)."
Wilmot said the Hall of Fame originally hung larger plaques, however, began to run out of space at Riverwood and switched to hanging small photos of the inductees. Inductees are then given the larger plaques to keep as a memento of their selection.