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Mencel, Johnson newest members of Superior Area Bowling Hall of Fame

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Superior Telegram

The Superior Area Bowling Association Hall of Fame will grow by two members with the induction of Carl Mencel and Wayne Johnson on May 10 at the Superior Elk’s Lodge.

The banquet costs $15 to attend and is open to the public.

To purchase tickets call Tim Stroozas, 218-428-4994; Dennis McDonald, 218-591-6769; or Dawn Nelson, 715-392-6646.

Cocktails will be served at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Carl Mencel

Carl Mencel started working, and bowling, at Waletzko’s Lanes in Allouez at the age of 16. He was coached by hall of famer Butch Waletzko and was also trained in the operation of bowling machines and lane maintenance. In today’s technology you will see a machine that cleans and oils the lanes, back then it was a spray can that you pumped up and sprayed onto the lanes for oil.

Bowling has come a long way since then and so has Mencel, who was 22 when he got married to his wife of 36 years, Dianne Vendela/Mencel. They have three children, Shannon, Carl Jr. (Spike), and Danielle, and eight grandchildren.

Mencel worked at the bowling alley until he was married, then he started a career at Moleen’s Foundry in West Duluth. He still worked at Waletzko’s on an as-need basis even when it was sold and changed to Allouez Bowl.

He had the chance to get into the bowling business himself when the bowling lanes on Broadway Street went up for sale. He jumped at the chance and has been the owner/operator of Landmark Lanes for the past 18 years.

Mencel has been bowling for 42 years, has been a 200 average or higher bowler for the past 30 years, has 12 300 games (including two this year), and bowled six 800 series games with his highest being an 835 in 1996 and his latest in the 2012-13 season.

Mencel won the Super bowl in Superior once with a score of 1,429, has been bowler of the year twice in 1988-89 and 1992-93, and he won the Bowling Challenge on TV in 1989, which is now the Subway Challenge.

In addition, Mencel was the Superior High School bowling coach from 1999-2012 and is one of the founding members of the Minnesota State High School League. During those 13 years Superior has won a record three state titles.

He is a sponsor for toys for tots, a northern food bank fundraiser and Bowling for Boobies, a fundraiser for breast cancer for several years. He organized many trips to different tournaments all over Wisconsin and continues to bowl four nights a week during regular bowling season and one league during the summer at Landmark Lanes.

Wayne Johnson

The familiar bread truck in the lot was barely in park before Wayne Johnson was out of the driver seat, into his favorite pair of shoes and onto one of a handful of bowling alleys in Superior.

Johnson wasted no time loafing around when it came to the sport and recreation he participated in for over seven decades. Coming direct from work and often right on time, there was no time for Johnson to practice before play began, let alone chit chat, catch up or get a cold one. Heck, he barely took time to tie his shoes tight before the first “three bagger” he was known for was on paper.

Johnson was the delivery man in motion, mastering the game and the turkey with a rubber ball en route to gobbling up a lifetime of great times, laurels, kudos and bowling championships, titles and top spots.

Johnson started bowling at the age of 14 in 1941 and kept right on playing until he turned 80 in 2007.

He bowled at Waletzko’s, Village, Center, Landmark, Elk’s, Eagles, Hennessey’s 3 Star in Superior and Incline and Skyline in Duluth.

His high average was a 190 and that was something when you consider he was bowling with an early 20th century rubber bowling ball.

Johnson was part of the Miller High Life first-place team of 1950 with Tom and Bob Stroozas, Guuvy and Ben Hoffman, Ed Lonnstrom and Pops Tollers.

The “Bowler of the Year” in 1968 had a 1,962 all-events score (scratch 1,838), averaging 204 with a handicap of 2,018. He had singles scores of 692 (752 with handicap) for first place in the city tournament. He also won double title with Herb Carlson in 1961 and again in 1968 with 1,363 and 1,313, respectively, but not before the pair took the Granite Bowl with a 1,452 in St Cloud. In 1967 Johnson teamed up with Lloyd Westerback for a 1,334 and another first place citywide.

Johnson’s best game was a 299 in 1967 and his high series would come 36 years later with a 715 in 2003 following another team win in 1992 with Lurye Furniture and teammates Bill Peterson, Bud Solin, Darrell Kaufmann, Doug Sorenson and Chuck Filteau.

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