As hard as it was to say good-bye to someone the local bowling community knew so well, it was also a wonderful time to reflect on how he has influenced so many of us. At his Celebration of Life held last Wednesday at the First Presbyterian Church downtown, it was so touching to see so many bowlers and golfers attend wearing their favorite shirt in honor of Bud. He was involved here with bowling for nearly 60 years. Sandy Gray recalled “Bud managed the Delano Lanes with Jim Henson when I bowled there!”
Not only did Bud manage centers and own pro shops, he was a heck of a bowler as well and is the first person in Bakersfield to roll a sanctioned 300 game which he accomplished in 1959. In 1995 he was inducted into the BBA (Bakersfield Bowling Association) Hall of Fame for Superior Performance. If you bowled in Bakersfield as a league bowler over the last thirty years, you probably have had a new ball drilled by Bud. He was the “go to” guy that bowlers flocked to for that perfect fit and to help enhance their game.
Fellow Hall of Famer Jim Zimmerman, submitted this:
“It wasn’t always laughs and fun times with Bud. He, like a lot of us, had his demons and he would face them daily. I was not only his friend but his accountant, business partner, tax man and confident. I can’t remember Bud ever saying a bad thing about anyone. I know people who took advantage of him, stole from him and he would always say, “They probably need it more than I do.”
I bowled at Southwest Lanes almost daily during the time Bud had the pro shop. Many times I would be practicing and someone would come down on the lanes where I was and watch me. I would say “hi” and they would say, “The guy in the pro shop told me if I wanted to be a good bowler, go down and watch the guy practicing.” Bud always said “Jim Z. is the best pocket shooter I have ever seen!” A great compliment from a great person!
When Bud lost the pro shop, we talked for a long time about what went wrong and what he could have done differently. He went home that night and told Margaret that AMF was not going to renew his rental. The next day I came into the pro shop and asked him how it went with Margaret. He told me she did not talk to him the next morning. He said she did not kiss him goodbye or say she loved him. He said, “That is the first time in 50 years she didn’t tell me she loved me when I left for work.” He sat down and cried and I tried to comfort him but all I could do was cry with him.
I think of this time often as I travel a similar road. It reminds me of a song by Kenny Rogers….
“She believes in me, I’ll never know just what she sees in me
I told her someday if she was my girl, I could change the world
With my little songs, I was wrong
But she has faith in me, and so I go on trying faithfully
And who knows maybe on some special night, if my song is right
I will find a way.”
Bud’s world was his friends, bowling, golf and family, but Margaret was the center of his world.”
And, submitted by Mike Hefley:
As I look through the memories in my mind, nothing but smiles come about when I think of Bud Hannaman. Not many people have had the pleasure of working for a person as a youngster and then having that person work for them later in life.
In the early 1980’s, myself, Paul Howell, Erik Knudson, David McMahan and others had the fun of helping plug, sand, polish, and, yes, even drill balls while Bud looked on! We put a big smile on Bud’s face in the mid-80’s when myself, Paul and Erik had a two-piece mold made and poured our very own yellow plastic 14-pound bowling ball, and, of course, we had to use Bud’s ball spinner to true it up and make it round.
We took the ball up to Skyline Lanes (formerly Freddie’s Top of the Hill). Knudson shot 680 with it, and then later that same week, I shot 640 with the same ball at Westchester Bowl. Bud grabbed a couple buddies—Len Bulmer, Ray Hetzel, Jim Trino, and many others—as he put together some sponsor money for me to bowl the Grand Shot Maker tournament during the mid-80’s in Reno, Nevada. I was so happy just to win my first two matches and at least get their money back! What a thrill as a 20-year old bowling his first scratch single elimination Big Buck’s tournament!! Bud also put sponsorship monies together for Randy Page, Lee Patterson, EZ Sandstrom and many others as they took a swing at the PBA Tour and PBA Regionals in the 80’s.
As Bud got up in the years and eventually closed his shop (The Pro Shop), what a pleasure it was to ask him to work at our shop for almost eight years.
I remember the call like it was yesterday even though it was a couple of years ago, Bud’s wife, Margaret, called and said Bud wasn’t going to be able to work anymore because of health issues. That first whole year was really tough. It took a long time as bowlers would come in and ask, “How’s Bud”, “Where’s Bud”, “Is Bud ever coming back?”.
When you think of the Ambassador of Scratch Bowlers, the name Bud Hannaman will live for many generations to come!! We may have lost Bud physically, but we have another Angel hanging around the local bowling centers.”