some, bowling is a hobby.
For Centralian Wade Johnson, it has been a
While back problems forced Johnson to retire
from the game in 2000, he undoubtedly left
his mark on the local bowling scene for
parts of 5 different decades.
Johnson began his bowling
career at the age of eight, at Centralia's
Club 300 (located where Wendy's is now
located on Centralia's west side). In
high school, Johnson had the opportunity to
be a member of the CHS track and field team,
but elected instead to bowl in men's
A 1973 graduate of CHS, Johnson
began bowling in as many as four leagues a
week in various houses around the area upon
graduation. He credits having to learn
different shots for each venue in his ascent
to becoming one of the area's best.
With all that Johnson
accomplished, his admitted single-greatest
highlight came as a teenager when he won the
opportunity to bowl with the legendary Dick
Weber at a pro-am event in St. Louis.
Weber, Johnson's favorite professional
bowler, teamed with him for the first games
of the pro-am. Wade took great
satisfaction in beating Weber on Weber's own
lanes during those games by a score of 227
Obviously accomplished as an
individual, Johnson's talents were on
display on teams that won numerous league
titles in Centralia, Salem, Carlyle, Breese
and Mt. Vernon. He was a member of the
Centralia Moose Lodge which won the Moose
State Tournament in Moline in 1998.
One of the teams Johnson bowled with in Mt.
Vernon claimed a state title in Peoria.
As great as Johnson was,
throwing a sanctioned 300 game eluded him
for much of his career. But that
changed in 1996 as Johnson found perfection
while bowling in a league at Nu-Bowl Lanes
in Mt. Vernon.
Two weeks later, Johnson did it
again, this time at Banks Bowl in
Centralia. The 300 was only part of
the most incredible night of his career, as
Johnson rolled a 3-game series of 824 that
included 32 strikes out of 36 games
thrown. In the 1996 season he finished
with a 219 average, the best in Banks Bowl
In all, Johnson rolled seven
300 games, three which came in American
Bowling Congress sanctioned league play.
In addition to his time spent
on the lanes, Johnson is an avid Centralia
Orphans basketball fan and season-ticket
holder. In addition, he ha been a
radio sponsor of Orphan broadcasts through
the Car Quest franchise he co-owns with with