TriCounty When Gary Strait of Peoria finished last year's league bowling season in the early spring of 1998, he had carved out a special spot for himself in the Greater Peoria Bowling Association.
The 28-year-old lefthander had ended the season with a 231 average for 84 games, the highest average in the long history of the GPBA.
And for his historical achievement, Strait is the Co-Tri-County Male Athlete of the Year for 1998.
Bowling in the Checkmate League at Mt. Hawley Bowl, the 6-foot-3, 225 pound Richwoods High School graduate actually was on target to flirt with a 240 average before a late-season slump.
He had his average up to 238 with two-thirds of the season over but then hit an eight-week slum. "I kept wondering when I was going to have a bad night," he said. "It never came until those last eight weeks."
After a 539 series, his low mark of the season, he went with a new ball, produced a 791 series the first time out and got his average back over 230.
Beginning his league career when he was 17, he has had four 300 games and four 800 series. He is the only bowler in Peoria to ever author back-to-back 800 series.
He has received two awards of merit in the last three years for high average in the GPBA, a 228 and then his recordsetting 231. He also received an award of merit for the highest series in the city, an 837.
When Gary Strait of Peoria finished last year's league bowling season in the early spring of 1998, he had carved out a special spot for himself in the Greater Peoria Bowling Association.
A 1974 Bradley University graduate and longtime financial consultant for MassMutual Financial Group, Paul Herzog has served as the public address "Voice of the Braves" for nearly 600 Bradley men's basketball games for the past 39 seasons, including every game the Braves have played at Carver Arena and Renaissance Coliseum. In addition to his volunteer service for Bradley, Herzog has served as the volunteer public address announcer for every game the Peoria Civic Center has hosted in the IHSA Boys Basketball State Tournament during its 20-year run in the River City.
While "PA" Paul is well-known for his role with Bradley Basketball and the IHSA, his community service extends far beyond Carver Arena. A Braves Club Board of Directors member for 20 years and a past president (1992-94) of the organization, Herzog also served as president of the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter (1983-85) and the Bradley University National Alumni Association (1990-91). He also has began emceeing the IHSA State Cross Country Championships awards ceremony in 1996.
Closer to his home in Germantown Hills, Herzog has coached in youth baseball and basketball house leagues and from 2006-13 he was a member of the Germantown Hills Athletic Association Board of Directors. He served as a committe co-chair in the effort to acquire land for the expansion of youth sports in Germantown Hills, which led to the addition of 20 acres to school district property. Herzog also brought a little of the Bradley Basketball experience to the Germantown Hills Grade School Boys Basketball program by serving as the public address announcer from 2008-12.
Herzog is the recipient of numerous service awards, including the Bradley Varsity Club Billy Stone Service Award, the Bradley University Lydia Moss Bradley Award, the IHSA March Madness Volunteer of the Year and the IHSA Distinguished Service Award. He was inducted into the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.