The Montana Bowling Proprietors Associationn was formed in the 1960's by a group of legendary bowling center owners, who had both a love for the game of bowling and a vision for the future of the industry. The MBPA immediately became a subsidiary of the Bowling Proprietors Association of America (BPAA). Over the years some MBPA members became recognized for both their achievements and their tenure in the association. They were classified as Lifetime Members. Six (6) were recognized as such prior to 2000 with the last one being Audrey Ryan in 1999. They are: George Schneider (Helena), Stan Olson (Great Falls), Ned Newton (Dillon), Bill Morrison (Missoula), Chet Moran (Columbus) and Audrey Ryan (Butte). All were bowling center owners except for Audrey Ryan, who was the executive secretary of the MBPA for years and the wife of Star Lanes manager, Steve Ryan. They are all now deceased. Two more were recognized as such in 2021. They are Dan Fix and Robyn Barker, both from Missoula. Two more are being inducted post humously in 2023 - Gary Gerhardt from Bozeman and Jack Harrington from Billings.
Back then there were no real standards for Lifetime Membership and no real rewards either. It was just an honor reserved for the most elite proprietors. It has come to our attention that the Lifetime Membership Club should be restored to the status that it once was because there is a new group of proprietors and proprietor types that deserve the ultimate recognition that only six in the past have achieved. The MBPA Lifetime Membership Club should be regarded as a Hall of Fame for bowling proprietors.
To do so, a set of very high standards has been established. Four categories have also been established, for not all candidates should have to be owners to be included in this Club. The main requirement is that involvement in the MBPA and BPAA be a lifetime commitment.
The four categories for the MBPA Lifetime Membership Club are:
1. Bowling center owner aka Proprietor
2. Bowling center manager
3. Others. This category could be called many things, such as, Friends of the MBPA, Ambassadors of the MBPA, Affiliates of the MBPA, or simply Miscellaneous Partners. The main requirement is that people in this category have put in the time and commitment for the betterment of the MBPA.
4. Deceased, permanently injured and medically unable to perform candidates, who deserve to be considered in the Lifetime Membership Club, but whose career falls short of the numbers needed.
Depending on the category that a Lifetime Membership Club applicant falls in to, the criteria standards will vary.
The Proprietor & Manager categories focus mainly on longevity in the bowling industry and being an active member of the MBPA. They include:
1. Number of years as an owner or manager
2. Number of years as an MBPA member
3. Number of MBPA meetings attended
4. Number of BPAA national events attended (i.e. Bowl Expo, Mid-Winter meetings)
5. Number of BPAA national sub-events participated in (i.e. workshops, seminars, management courses)
6. Number of years as an MBPA board member
7. Number of BPAA and/or MBPA tournaments hosted by proprietor or manager's center at either the local level or state level
The Other category is based totally on a person's service to the MBPA. Types of people this category would include are bowling center employee (not a manager), a member of the media, a member of a local or state bowling association who has extreme allegiance to the MBPA, a spouse of a proprietor or manager who has donated years of time promoting and serving the MBPA, an executive director of the MBPA.
1. Points will be given for every year of service provided to helping the MBPA. Help could be in the form of promoting MBPA tournaments, instructing bowlers in MBPA centers, coaching youth bowlers in MBPA centers, helping youths prepare scholarship applications, selection of scholarship recipients, and organizing MBPA events.
2. Points earned for every year working as an MBPA executive director.
Points earned in the Proprietor and Manager category can be applied to the Other category to help reach the total required for Lifetime membership Club status.
The Deceased, Permanently Injured and Medically Unable to Perform category:
1. In most cases this category is entirely subjective and is based on non-existent information.
2. A person would have to be nominated by an MBPA member and discussed and voted on by all MBPA members that are present at the annual meeting. Approval required by two-thirds (2/3) of the member-centers present.
Lifetime Membership Club awards:
1. Name-plate on large plaque that will be displayed at annual MBPA meeting and also at Montana USBC Hall of Fame banquet.
2. Smaller individual plaque for honoree.
3. Free banquet ticket for inductee and spouse at the Montana USBC HOF banquet in which being honored.
4. Free registration to all MBPA meetings and events.
5. Voting privileges at all MBPA meetings.
Attached is a downloadable form to apply to the Montana Bowling Proprietors Association Lifetime Membership Club. Page one (1) is primarily for bowling center owners and/or managers. Page two (2) is primarily for people applying for the Other category or for someone needing more than one category to attain approval status. Notice that there is a March 1 application deadline for consideration in the current bowling season.