By Fred Eisenhammer
For The Signal
CASTLE ROCK, Colorado – Tim Tripp received some exciting news last month. The former Santa Clarita resident discovered that he had been inducted into the North Los Angeles County United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame.
Those who have witnessed Tripp shatter pins in robot-like fashion for more than three decades in L.A. County probably concluded that this honor was way, way overdue.
And, in fact, they couldn’t have been more right.
Tripp, a 6-foot-4 stylish left-hander who now lives in Castle Rock, Colorado, was actually named to the Hall of Fame by the North L.A. County USBC in mid-2017. But Tripp and the media weren’t notified about his selection until he received a recent message on Facebook about it.
Along with the notification, Tripp received Hall-of-Fame plaques along with his honors pins that hung over the lanes at Santa Clarita Lanes from 2010-2016.
Why the long delay?
Tripp provided part of the explanation when he announced his Hall-of-Fame selection on Facebook:
“Apparently, soon after leaving for [Colorado] in ’17, Ken Doolittle [of the North L.A. County USBC] started the nomination process and planned to present the awards during a return visit to [California]. That visit never happened as COVID shut things down there for a couple of years.
“Ken passed away this year and the awards were found in his home. RIP Ken! I will be forever grateful for this for everything you did for SoCal bowling!”
In 2021, the North L.A. County USBC and the Southern L.A. County USBC merged into a new group, called the Greater Los Angeles County USBC. A Greater L.A. County USBC representative said that Tripp’s relocation was “probably part of the craziness” of why he never got the award.
The spokesperson said the USBC typically notifies the honored bowlers once the board approves a Hall-of-Fame nomination.
The 52-year-old Tripp said he was more amused than anything about the long-delayed honor. “It was better late than never,” said Tripp lightheartedly.
For Tripp, that was the expected answer. Those who know Tripp best said his humility and classy nature are Tripp trademarks just as much as his smooth pocket shots.
“He’s sort of a quiet guy but a classy guy,” said ace bowler Russell Booth, who has known his friend since Tripp was bobbing around in Tripp’s dad’s pro shop as a kid.
“He grew up into a very fine man,” Booth said. “He really did. A real nice guy. No one has a bad thing to say about him. A very good bowler and a quality person.”
Booth said Tripp ranks with the likes of Johnnie Englehart and Charles Kenny as the valley elite when they all lived in the area. “It’s hard to separate who’s the best,” Booth said.
Rusty Bryant, another prolific bowler and a member of the NLAC USBC Hall of Fame for “meritorious service,” recalled that Tripp “always had a pretty good smile on his face and always tried to help.”
Tripp received his Hall-of-Fame notice in the “superior performance” category. Kenny also was named a Hall of Famer for “superior performance” by the North L.A. County USBC that same year, but word never got out about Tripp’s achievement – until now. Coincidentally, Kenny departed his Northridge home and moved to Las Vegas the following week.
Tripp joins such luminaries as Englehart, Barry Gurney, Hobo Boothe, Tish Johnson and Robin Romeo in the local USBC Hall of Fame.
As far as Tripp’s achievements, he already has notched 90 300s and 63 800s.
Tripp has a shot to make the fabled 100-100 club of 300s and 800s, a feat that is almost beyond comprehension, although Tripp says he has a long way to go in the 800 series department.
In 2013, Tripp posted an eye-popping average of 243 at both Santa Clarita Lanes and now-defunct Mission Hills Bowl. To illustrate how lofty that 243 figure is, that equates to an average series of 729.
When pressed, Tripp acknowledges that winning a PBA regional title in 2016 ranks at the top of his list of accomplishments. Tripp collected $2,000 after scoring a 245-175 victory over Justin Spurrier in the one-game championship match in Las Vegas.
Even with all his achievements, there’s no quit in Tripp, who recently finished his last league season in Colorado with a sparkling 239.7 average. Additionally, he was named player of the year in a Colorado 50-and-over scratch tournament group called the Rocky Mountain Senior Tour. And just last week, he finished fifth in a PBA50 regional tournament in Colorado.
“I’m a little bit older but I’m still plugging away. I feel pretty good,” he said.
Tripp is well-known for being a relentless practice bowler. So it’s no surprise that he believed his Hall-of- Fame plaque represented his work ethic in reaching that level.
He said earning the Hall-of-Fame honor is “just a testament to all the work I put in . . . those hours of practice and competitive bowling and sticktoitiveness.”
Most importantly, bowling remains a lot of fun for Tripp. “Absolutely,” he said.
Oh, and one more thing. Tripp said he moved to Castle Rock with wife Kimberly and daughters Brenna and Taryn to eventually retire there. He has not visited California since their move and has found similarities in Castle Rock to Santa Clarita, both suburban areas.
“It’s tremendous,” Tripp says of Castle Rock. “I couldn’t be happier.”