MOUNT VERNON — Two area gentlemen earned the highest honor bestowed by the Legend Valley USBC Bowling Association at a banquet recently. Mark Gilmore of Howard and Don Barrick of Fredericktown were elected in the Legend Valley Hall of Fame, and along with Clyde “Red” Smart, were honored on April 25.
“That was an honor; just to be mentioned in the same sentence as these other men was amazing,” said Gilmore. “I didn’t know, at first, who nominated me. My son Craig nominated me. One day, on my wife’s desk I saw a bunch of old newspaper clippings and that’s when she told me I had been nominated. I didn’t know it was him until right up to the end.”
Barrick was also caught off guard when he learned of his nomination and election, which he says ranks right up there.
“This is a great honor; Outside of being inducted into the Utica High School Hall of Fame, this matches that I would say,” said Barrick. “I have a lot of respect for these boys that are in there. They were exceptional bowlers, and won several tournaments. I’m honored to be considered with he ones that are in there.
“I was very surprised to find out I was nominated and selected for this honor,” Barrick added. “I think Bill Simmons of Utica had a lot to do with this. Bob Jones in Newark also had a lot to do with it.”
Gilmore, who knows the sport of bowling inside and out, worked at Charger Lanes in Mount Vernon before he purchased Sportsman Lanes in Loudonville in 1967. He joined the Professional Bowlers Association in 1970, and won five straight U.S. Open qualifiers, earning the honor right to represent Northern Ohio. Gilmore said once he found out about his nomination, it was a waiting game.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Gilmore. “I heard there was 18 nominated and then they cut the field to the top 10 or top 8.”
Barrick, who turned 80 in April, was a good bowler in his own right.
“I got into bowling in 1954. I started bowling at Sunset Lanes in Mount Vernon,” said Barrick, who averaged over 200 during his younger days. “I worked for the Miller Co. for 27 years, and when they shut down, I bought Trio Lanes in Fredericktown and had it for 20 years.
“I still bowl a couple of nights a week. I had my last 300 game in 1974, and I still average about 186 or 187.”
Gilmore is also still an active bowler.
“I bowl one night a week at Colonial City Lanes,” said Gilmore, who still averages over 200.
To have the opportunity to go into the hall of fame together is special for Gilmore and Barrick. The two men have known each other for several years.
“I’ve known Don a long time,” said Gilmore. “I got to know him quite well when I was the (Knox County Men’s) Association secretary.”
“We were in the same traveling league,” said Barrick. “We weren’t on the same team, but we played in the league and got to know each other that way.”
This year’s inductees, which mark the 14th annual class, join two other Knox County bowlers in the hall of fame. Terry Franz and Dave Dobson were elected in 2007. Having the opportunity to be a part of a select group won’t be something any of them soon forget.
“It was really nice,” Gilmore said of the banquet. “I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen for years.”