Remembering Ada Bowling Legend Dr. Max Skelton | Local sports

Oklahoma Bowling legend Dr Max Skelton of Ada has passed away at the age of 89. Over the years, Skelton has been recognized as both an excellent bowler and an excellent bowling administrator. He became only the third Oklahoman to serve as president of the more than 400,000 members of the American Bowling Congress (ABC) in 1990. Two years later he became the second president of the United States Tenpin Bowling Federation (USTBF) and led the organization’s efforts to promote bowling as an Olympic sport.

Skelton was superintendent of schools for the town of Ada from 1967 to 1980. He was then superintendent and then assistant superintendent at Little Ax. He was also involved in the oil trade and operated a cattle ranch south of Fittstown.

Skelton is from Blackwell. He holds a BA from Central State University and an MA and PhD from the University of Oklahoma. Full funeral arrangements and obituaries are expected to be announced soon.

Skelton was inducted into the ABC Hall of Fame in 2002 in the Meritorious Service category. At that time he was cited for “.. His extraordinary leadership as President of USA Bowling which led to the establishment of the United States Tenpin Bowling Federation (later USA Bowling) and to representing the best interests of the tenpins Americans in the arena of the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ).

The FIQ, now called the International Bowling Federation (IBF), has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee since 1979 as the world governing body for the sport of bowling.

Perhaps his greatest legacy is his role in promoting integration after the elimination of the CBA membership clause for Caucasians in 1950. The resolution of 1950 has been taken ”. . . on behalf of all Japanese and Chinese ethnic bowlers on the West Coast ”by a Seattle association. In a compromise pushed by a number of associations in the south, it was left to local associations to determine who would be eligible for membership in their associations. The compromise allowed associations to continue to discriminate against minorities.

During his tenure as president of the Oklahoma City Men’s Bowling Association, the first team of black bowlers was allowed to compete in the state bowling tournament. When other teams refused to play against them, Skelton offered his team to do so. This move allowed the team to participate in the tournament and played an important role in integrating the sport of bowling in Oklahoma.

For his bowling skills, Skelton was inducted as a founding member of the Oklahoma State Bowling Association Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma City Men’s Bowling Association in the Senior Skills category. He was also inducted into the Ada Bowling Association Hall of Fame in the skills category.

As a bowling director, Skelton served as president of the Oklahoma City Men’s Bowling Association (1958-60) and the Oklahoma State Bowling Association (1970). He served for over 20 years on the board of directors of ABC.

Longtime friend, bowling partner and fellow Oklahoma and Oklahoma City Bowling Hall of Fame fellow Wayne Hagar said that as good a bowler as Skelton was, he was an even better person.

“He was a friend to everyone and truly a person’s person,” Hagar said. “He didn’t care if you had a high average or a low average, if you were rich or poor.”

No matter how high he got in the bowling world, Hagar said he was always just “just Max”.

“There was never anything out of the ordinary about the way he bowled or the way he lived. He grew up on a farm, got a great education, had a great career, rose to the top of the bowling world, and then returned to the farm.

“He always knew who he was, where he was and why he was,” Hagar said. “He could hear himself and talk to anyone. “

While president of USTBF, Skelton attended meetings of the United States Olympic Committee advocating for bowling to be a medal-winning sport at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, as well as representing the ABC at the Pan-American Sports Convention in Argentina and at the International Bowling. Presidium of the Congress in Rome among other meetings and events.

Skelton’s stepson Kent Thompson said his parents traveled the world attending meetings and accompanying various American teams to competitions during his tenure as national bowling administrator. The stops included Australia, Japan, China and several countries in Europe and South America.

“Bowling was a demonstration sport at the 1988 Seoul Olympics,” said Thompson, “Dad participated in the ceremonies with the United States bowling team and the rest of the Olympians.”

Skelton worked with others to establish the USTBF to comply with the Constitution of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Amateur Athletic Act passed by Congress in 1978. In 2005, a number bowling organizations, including the ABC and USTBF, as well as organizations representing female and young bowlers, have come together to form the United States Bowling Congress (USBC). Today, the organization has more than 1.4 million members and represents the interests of US Bowling around the world, particularly with the various Olympic organizations and the FIQ.

The IBF claims that bowling is one of the largest and best organized sports in the world with more than 100 million participants, 10 million competitors and 250,000 bowling lanes. The IBF now has member federations in 134 countries. It is the main organization promoting bowling as an Olympic sport.

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Tommy Dodd

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