STERLING - On Saturday, January
22, 2005, Tony Paone will be
inducted into the Sterling-Rock Falls
Men’s Bowling Association Hall
of Fame. The Meritorious Service
recognition being bestowed upon
Paone on that date is the highest
award that can be given to a
member of the local association.
Paone joins 31 previously inducted
individuals into the hall of fame that
originated in 1976,
Paone admitted that his forthcoming
induction came as a complete shock.
"It was something I didn't even
expect," said Paone, the owner of
Paone's Blackhawk Lanes in
Sterling. “I was caught totally by
Paone's nomination to the local
hall of fame was sponsored by his
son, T.J. Paone, Loren Wolf (operator
of the Blackhawk pro shop) and
Tony Murray (local bowler and
employee of the lanes).
According to Jim Hammer, the
chairman of the hall of fame
committee, a person can be
nominated on individual ability or
for meritorious service contributed to
“Ability is measured through individual
performance and sanctioned
league records,” said Hammer.
“Meritorious service criteria is very
Paone's induction revolved around
several areas to which he
contributed in making bowling the
success it is on the local level. As a
proprietor he has sponsored teams
in various leagues throughout the
years. He currently sponsors five
teams that bowl locally. He also
actively participates in city, state
national men's association bowling
tournaments on a regular basis.
Another area that was given weight
in his nomination was his
involvement with the junior and
senior citizen leagues. Finally, his
overall dedication to the developing
and improving of Blackhawk
Lanes as a whole was of key
Paone has been involved with the
junior leagues as a coach and
serves on the board of directors.
He also serves as the auditor of
the junior league's total financial
picture. In addition to these
duties he is the record keeper for
both the junior and senior citizen
Paone's dedication to the developing
and improvement of his bowling
center is reflected in the state-of the-art facility he has turned
Blackhawk into. Bowlers are
greeted by resurfaced lanes. Clean and attractive
furnishings adorn the center's
bowler and spectators areas.
Along with the clean environmental
surroundings, Paone has strived to
keep up with new bowling
technology as it comes out. Equally
important is the good mechanical
condition of the center's equipment.
It is of vital importance that the
pin-setters, ball returns,
computerized scorekeepers and lane
surfaces are in perfect condition
when the leagues come to bowl.
“Equipment is of utmost importance,”
says Paone. “It has to be
well maintained and kept in good
working order to keep the operation
When the lanes are running at maximum
efficiency the bowlers are
happy, and that makes Tony happy.
After all, his main endeavors in running
the center are to have a profitable
business for himself and his family,
and, at the same time it is
equally important that he makes
the lanes a clean, attractive and
economical recreational facility for
persons of all ages to enjoy. The
facility's existence is based on the
steady return of its patrons.
Paone, 56, has been actively
involved in bowling since the age
of nine. He graduated from Newman Central Catholic High School and
Saint Ambrose College. At Saint
Ambrose he graduated with a major
in business. He is married to
Cathy and they have four children
and nine grandchildren.
Paone became interested in operating
a bowling center while working
in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“We were good friends of the proprietors
of the bowling center in
Cedar Rapids," said Paone. "We did
a lot of things together. I worked
for them part-time.”
While visiting his family in 1981,
Tony found out that Blackhawk Lanes
was for sale. That was 23 years
ago. Since then he has made it his
goal to provide a state-of-the-art
center that offers a clean and
healthy environment, and a pro shop
that is second to none. Blackhawk
Lanes is truly a place where all
can enjoy bowling, have a good
time and just plain relax.
Paone's induction ceremony will be
held at the Holiday inn south of
Rock Falls. The ceremony will
include a dinner and dance. The
dance, which will feature local DJ
Paul O'Neal, is being sponsored by
the Sterling-Rock Falls Men's
Bowling Association. A cocktail
hour from 6 until 7 p.m. will get the
festivities under way. Dinner will be served from 7
until 8 p.m.
The induction ceremony will start at
8 p.m. The dance starts at 9 p.m.
and lasts until midnight.
Hammer says that tickets will go
on sale right after Christmas. All
persons wishing to attend this
event are asked to purchase their
tickets at least 10 days prior to the
“We need to get our reservations
into the Holiday Inn within that
10 day window,” says Hammer.
“Tickets, for the dinner, may be
purchased from Hall of Fame
committee members and bowling
association board members.
Tickets may also be purchased at
Paone's Blackhawk Lanes in
For additional ticket information
please call Jim Hammer at 815-
Article reprinted from The Daily
BY DICK NOBIS
SVN SPORTS STAFF