For Joe Poelking, operating three bowling centers is about more than profit, it’s about a passion for the game.
“The traditional game of bowling has changed so much over the years and we, as proprietors, have to adjust to what’s going on in society,” Poelking said. “Staying relevant is what needs to happen.”
Poelking’s forward thinking has not gone unnoticed as the longtime Dayton-area business owner was recently named the United States Bowling Congress Proprietor of the Year. The annual award acknowledges a bowling center proprietor for his or her outstanding support of USBC local, state and national association programs. Poelking will be recognized at the 2019 USBC Convention and Annual Meeting in Las Vegas in late April.
“I am very honored to receive this award,” Poelking said. “I know this comes from those people that I work with and for, and I’m proud to serve those in the bowling industry and my community. In looking at the list of past recipients, I found I know many of them, and I feel humbled and truly honored to join this elite group of bowling proprietors.”
Poelking operates three local bowling centers – Poelking Lanes South, Poelking Woodman Lanes and Poelking Lanes. Those centers – with a combined 121 lanes, including the eight-lane state-of-the-art VIP Suite – are home to 33 adult leagues, 11 youth leagues and eight high school teams, supporting more than 1,800 USBC members.
Poelking was honored by the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America Proprietor of the Year for Ohio in 2013. He has served on the BPAA board, completed two terms as president of the BPA of Greater Dayton, and currently serves on the Strike Ten Entertainment board. He has also served as the state president and executive board chairman of the Bowling Centers Association of Ohio. The Springboro resident was inducted into the Ohio Bowling Council Hall of Fame for meritorious service in 2017 and received the BCAO Hall of Fame Meritorious Service Medal in 2012.
Poelking’s centers have hosted many local and state events over the years. Poelking South will host the 2019 Intercollegiate Team and Singles Championships in April, bringing together many of the best collegiate bowlers from across the country.
While his accomplishments have garnered local, state and national accolades over the years, Poelking is not one to be satisfied with the status quo. He is a local proponent of USA Bowling, a new youth bowling program with coaches, leagues, tournaments, and summer camp components. USA Bowling follows a format similar to traditional youth team sports, like Little League, by utilizing shorter seasons, a Baker style format, coaches and instructional opportunities for both bowlers and coaches.
“This youth program is really taking off and is a great opportunity for young bowlers,” Poelking said. “I would love to see it here.”
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