The PBA inducted 13-time PBA Tour titlist Randy Pedersen, Senior Tour standout Dale Eagle and former PBA Tour lane maintenance director Len Nicholson into the PBA Hall of Fame during post-Tournament of Champions ceremonies Saturday evening at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa.
Pedersen, 48, is currently the color analyst for Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour telecasts on ESPN but he earned entry into the Hall based on his accomplishments on the lanes. The Clermont, Fla., resident had a break out year in 1987, winning the PBA National Championship and then winning the Fair Lanes Open the next week.
Called one of bowling’s great clutch players by Hall of Fame emcee Nelson Burton Jr., Pedersen had 34 top-five finishes in 561 Tour tournaments during his career, finishing in the top 20 in earnings six times and the top 20 in average eight times. His accomplishments contributed to his ranking of 35th on the PBA’s list of 50 greatest bowlers as part of the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2009.
“It’s been a long time coming, but when you think about it, who would have thought a beach bum from southern California would end up here?” Pedersen said. “As a kid I spent a lot of time on the beach and played basketball, but bowling was always my first passion.
“I owe everything to the sport of bowling and to PBA. The friendships I made, my bowling accomplishments and announcing bowling on television are all thanks to the PBA and you can’t put a price on that.”
Eagle was the second player elected into the Senior section of the PBA Hall of Fame, following John Handegard, who was inducted in 2009. The Frisco, Texas, resident has 11 career Senior Tour titles which ranks tied for third all-time. Among his titles are four Senior majors – Reno PBA Senior World Invitational (1997); The Villages Senior World Championship (1999); PBA Senior National Championship (2001), and USBC Senior Masters (2003).
Eagle was the PBA Senior Rookie of the Year in 1996 and Senior Player of the Year in 1999. In 171 PBA Senior Tour tournaments he has finished in the top five 40 times. He also won 10 Senior Regional titles and three PBA Tour titles.
“I’d just like to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart. It’s been quite a ride,” said the 64-year-old Eagle. “Bowling and the PBA have been my life and to be recognized as a great player has made my dream a reality.”
Inducted into the meritorious service category, Nicholson’s career was devoted to the science of bowling lane maintenance and for more than 20 years the Tucson, Ariz., resident was the PBA Tour’s lane maintenance director. Nicholson, 70, gained worldwide industry recognition as one of the foremost experts on the subject of lane maintenance.
Nicholson was instrumental in developing the PBA Lane Maintenance Program in 1971 which is still referred to today. He was a founding member of the Bowling Foundation which was created to find solutions to scoring issues in bowling. An instructor, author of several bowling publications and host of the popular Phantom Internet radio bowling program, he also has served on the technical committee of the World Tenpin Bowling Association. He was a recipient of the bowling industry’s Flowers for the Living Award and the John Davis Award in recognition for his contributions to the sport.
“This is absolutely hard to believe and just awesome,” said Nicholson. “I made a lot of friends in this sport who had a tremendous influence on me and for that I’m grateful.
“You need friends, family and good co-workers because without their support I would not be here tonight. This is something I never expected but will cherish forever.”
Other awards presented during the ceremonies were the Bowlers Journal Person of the Year, Glenn Allison Hero Award and World Bowling Writers International Bowler of the Year awards to 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions winner Kelly Kulick. Norm Duke also was presented with his Glenn Allison Hero Award for winning a record three consecutive PBA major tournaments over the 2007-‘08 and ’08-‘09 seasons. Bowling writer Bill Vint was the recipient of the World Bowling Writers Golden Quill Award for excellence in bowling journalism.