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April 19, 2014

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Local bowler heading to hall of fame

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Richard Brian

Linda Sterner pauses for a photo while bowling at Texas Station.

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Linda Sterner high fives with her husband Wes while bowling at Texas Station.

Linda Sterner is gearing up for another tour of Las Vegas's bowling alleys.

For the past 25 years, the Northwest Las Vegas resident has spent March and April volunteering for the United States Bowling Congress' lane certification program.

Every lane in Las Vegas must be certified by the bowling congress annually to be in proper condition for leagues and tournaments.

Sterner, equipped with a pen and paper, has recorded the pit measurements of nearly every lane in Southern Nevada.

"My children used to ask me why I volunteer for lane certification every year," Sterner, 61, said. "The way I look at it is, if I don't do it, who will?"

Generally, Sterner's only recognition for her deeds is a free breakfast from the alley.

Last September, however, she received more recognition. She was inducted to the Southern Nevada Bowling Association's hall of fame for meritorious service.

In addition to the her lane certification duties, the honor paid respect for Sterner's more than 30 years of being a board member, coach and secretary in local leagues.

"It makes me feel that somebody noticed," Sterner said. "We're not doing this because we want recognition, but it made me feel very good."

Sterner was introduced to bowling while living in the Philippines with her husband, retired Air Force Master Staff Sgt. Wesley Sterner, in the 1970s.

After moving to Las Vegas in 1975, the pair developed their games in leagues at Nellis Air Force Base.

Linda Sterner prefers to play in recreational leagues and has maintained a respectable 167 game average.

"Bowling is just something fun we like do," she said. "I never thought I would be inducted into the hall of fame."

The Sterners have made a good team certifying lanes together.

Wesley Sterner gets down in alley pits to make about 20 measurements, including the length of the beds and the gutter depths, while Linda Sterner records everything.

After a year of bowling, a lane can take a lot of damage.

With about 15 volunteers, the Sterners can accurately record measurements for 60 lanes in about an hour.

"I think everybody should have a fair shot when they bowl," Wesley Sterner said. "There shouldn't be any gimme shots. Bowling should be something you have to work for to get a good score."

Wesley Sterner, 60, was inducted to the association's hall of fame in 2004.

"Bowling is a big part of their lives," said Patty McCune, bowling association manager. "Like a lot of people when they got into it, they lived and breathed bowling."

Linda Sterner is also a certified youth coach and a former vice president of the Southern Nevada Bowling Association Young American Bowling Congress.

She continues to be the secretary for the Enlisted Mixed Doubles League, a position she has held for more than 20 years.

Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].

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