Cliff Konrad stands alone as only bowler in the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame
Cliff Konrad is a quiet, humble man with not much to say. One wouldn't guess just by looking at him that he's arguably the best bowler South Dakota has ever produced. He's the only bowler to be inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and the 83-year-old Kaylor resident is still going strong.
"It means a whole lot," Konrad said about being the only bowler inducted into the SDSHOF.
"There are definitely other bowlers out there who deserve to be inducted, too."
Konrad said he started to get into bowling around 1961, when he started managing the Parkston bowling alley. He was a farmer up until that point, but he ruptured a disc in his back, which prompted him to take on a different job. In 1968, he moved to Mitchell, where he managed the Village Bowl for 25 years.
He was inducted in to the South Dakota Bowling Hallf of Fame in 1986 and the SDSHOF in 2004.
Even though he's the only bowler in the SDSHOF, it's not hard to see why. According to the SDSHOF website, Konrad's average was more than 200 for 40 years, and his highest average was 228 in 1976. He was a 35-year member of the Professional Bowlers Association.
During that time, he won the Midwest Regional Tournament in 1973, and competed part-time on the PBA Senior Tour from 1982 to 2002. He was the regional representative for the PBA for 10 years and the first South Dakotan to hold that position. In 1977, he was part of a doubles tandem that had the highest series in the nation (1,557). In 1979 he was part of a four-man team that had the highest single-game score in the nation (2,976).
During his bowling career, Konrad has rolled 24 perfect games and won 26 state titles. According to him, however, winning isn't his favorite part about bowling.
"I really enjoy the camaraderie," Konrad said.
"That and it's a good competition."
Konrad said a lot of practice and some natural talent have enabled him to become such a successful bowler.
"I was blessed with the ability," Konrad said.
"And I've done a lot of bowling," he added with a chuckle.
At the South Dakota Open Championship tournament at the Village Bowl in Mitchell on Saturday, Konrad bowled a 568 series, with an average of about 190 per game.
Konrad still comes to Mitchell to compete in tournaments often and said bowling, like most things, takes a lot of practice if you want to be good. Despite his age, he doesn't have any plans to call it quits anytime soon.
"I'm just going to keep bowling until I can't," Konrad said with a smile.