20 YEARS AND COUNTING | STORM STAFF FEATURE

BY LEANNE HULSENBERG

At Storm Products Inc. we believe in our people. Those who become Staff Members on Team Storm share our vision and values. They share our love for the sport of bowling on and off the lanes, continue to inspire existing bowlers, and help to develop new bowlers. We’re honored to recognize seven of our Team Storm members who have been loyal to our brand for 20 years or more.

BRIAN HIMMLER – One of the first Storm PBA staffers is PBA Champion, Brian Himmler.  Brian, nicknamed Chief, joined the Storm staff in 1996 and went on to win 4 PBA National titles as well as 7 PBA Regional titles in his 24-year career.  He resides in Cincinnati, Ohio and owns and operates Brian Himmler’s Pro Shop inside Cherry Grove Lanes. Brian is a Silver Level USBC Certified Coach.

“It is truly a privilege to be a Storm staffer for 25 years, Brian said. The growth of Storm in the world’s bowling marketplace is unbelievable. The best part about our company is the people. It is definitely ‘The Bowler’s Company.’ Thanks to Bill and Barbara for keeping it that way.“

Brian’s Favorite Storm Ball – !Q Tour

JEFF RICHGELS – The Storm staff covers all levels of bowlers and one of the most accomplished PBA Regional players is Jeff Richgels from Oregon, Wisconsin. Jeff has been a member of the Storm staff since 1996 and has won titles in numerous bowling events all over the world.  He has 30 PBA Regional titles, 5 USBC Eagles, 2 Gold Medals for Team USA, and more than 100 titles in state and local tournaments. Jeff is a member of the USBC Hall of Fame (2011), the Wisconsin State Hall of Fame (2013) and the Madison Bowling Association Hall of Fame (2008).

When asked how he feels about Storm, Jeff replied, “When I think of my quarter century with Storm, the word that comes to mind is family. It has never felt like a business relationship to me. The Storm people are almost all bowlers, and I knew many of them from competing alongside them prior to my joining Storm, and in some cases prior to Storm even existing. I’ve always felt totally at ease communicating with the folks at Storm because of those relationships and because I know they knew what it was like to be a competitor. And I always felt like Storm was as interested in my success as I was, and knew I was interested in doing whatever I could to help the company grow and succeed. That extends to how Storm has understood that I am not just a bowler and have a non-bowling job that keeps me from having the freedom to do some things for Storm that I wish I could. I’m looking forward to being able to do more of those things in retirement in a few years!”

Jeff’s Favorite Storm Balls – Sentimental 1st win ball, Firestorm.  All-time Favorite – !Q Tour Pearl

CAROL NORMAN – Storm has always been a big supporter of ladies professional bowling and the longest female Storm member is Carol “Stormin” Norman. Carol, who is originally from Ardmore, Oklahoma but now resides in Houston, Texas has been a member of Team Storm for 24 years. Carol competed on the ladies’ professional tour for 20 years from 1982 to 2002 and captured 6 PWBA titles including the 1987 Women’s US Open. She is a member of the Oklahoma State Hall of Fame and the USBC Hall of Fame.

After Carol stopped competing professionally, she started working for Storm as a ball driller at the National Bowling Stadium during the USBC Open Championships and is now certified as an IBPSIA Certified Advanced ball driller.

“Did you say 20 years? Wow!”, Carol said when brought to her attention about her long tenure with Storm.  “I did the math, approximately 276 balls have been made by Storm since I joined in 1997. Not to mention, Roto Grip, 900 Global and all the international balls. At that time, Bill and Barbara were the ball reps for Storm. Not kidding. It’s been an awesome ride watching the company grow while being a part of it has been such a huge part of my life. They have supported women’s bowling from the start and helped bowlers like me to spend their lives working in the sport.”

Carol’s Favorite Storm Ball – My favorite Storm ball? That’s a tough one. There were so many. The X-Factor was probably my favorite but the IQ Gold was right there with it. I must give honorable mention on a ball I used my 1st year with the company called the Forest Fire. Loved that ball!”

CRAIG HARRINGTON – Very few people can say they were there when it all started, and Storm staffer Craig Harrington is one of them.  Craig is from Eagle Mountain, Utah and was one of the first bowlers to throw the very first Storm reactive bowling ball, the Teal Storm HSP.  Craig officially joined Team Storm in 2000 and has compiled numerous city and state titles including 2011 Peterson Classic, 1998 Mini Eliminator and is a member of the Utah State Hall of Fame.

When asked how he feels about Storm, he echoes a sentiment that we hear from many staffers.

“I cannot begin to express enough gratitude and love that I have for the staff, equipment, and experience that Storm has provided for me for the last 25 years,” Craig said.  “I have felt like one of the most blessed bowlers in the world! I truly believe that if it were not for Bill and Barbara Chrisman, as well as the Storm Staff, I would not have the titles and accolades that I have in bowling today. I consider it an extreme honor and privilege to represent Storm not only when I step foot into a bowling center, but in my everyday life as well. The experiences I have had with Team Storm have made a huge impact in my life; Storm is not just a company to me, it’s family.”

Craig’s Favorite Storm Ball – The Teal Storm HSP. “This was the first line of reactive Storm balls Bill made. I had the privilege to be the first Utah bowler to throw this ball in the Utah State Bowling Tournament. Bill Chrisman was there to watch his masterpiece and future of new bowling balls. We had most of the house stopping to come watch this new ball hook beyond your wildest dreams. It was a joy to look back at the crowd around Bill who was smiling ear to ear.”

BRUCE HIMBERT – Another Hall of Famer with longevity on Team Storm is 26-year staffer, Bruce Himbert. Bruce lives in Metairie, Louisiana and was inducted into the Louisiana State Hall of Fame in 1992. He was a PBA member from 1985 to 2005 and was chosen to be on Team Storm by being ranked in the top 3 players in his region.  Bruce has numerous titles, 45 perfect games as well as 15 800 series with a high of 858.

One of the things that Bruce is most proud of is coaching the Brother Martin High School Bowling.  The team has made the final four 9 times with 4 championships (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019).

“Storm is the best Bowling Ball company on the market”, Bruce stated. “Calling it the Bowlers company is so true but one thing I must say is that everyone from Bill and Barbara at Storm, I consider not only friends but family. I feel like I was with them when Storm actually began and am honored to still be a part of this great company.”

Bruce’s Favorite Storm Ball – “This is a tough question! I haven’t thrown a Storm ball from the original Teal HSP to the last ball I’ve drilled before the pandemic, the Phaze III. If I have to answer one ball, it would be the X-Factor original that I shot 279-300-279 for 858. With 2 9 pins, that cost me possibly being perfect.”

PHIL PRIETO – When you think of nice guys in the sport of bowling, Phil Prieto is on the top of the list.  Phil hails from El Paso, Texas and has been with Team Storm for 24 years.  He has 7 PBA Regional titles and was chosen to be on staff from being the best in his region. In 1985, Phil was recognized by the ABC for high series in the nation with an 876 series (299, 288, 289). Compiling numerous titles and many achievements, he was inducted into the Texas State hall of Fame in 1996. His longevity in the sport continued with Phil being a member of Senior Team USA where he was a member of the Gold medal Team in 2009.

“I feel very privileged and honored to be a Storm staffer”, Phil said.  “They have fabulous products, supportive staff and great ownership.  I appreciate the staff and reps always willing to help.”

Phil’s Favorite Storm Ball – Virtual Gravity

KEVIN TABER – If there’s on characteristic that Storm looks for in bowlers, it’s loyalty and dedication to the sport. A true example of this is Kevin Taber from Toledo, Ohio.  Kevin has been on Team Storm for 27 years. In his most competitive years, Kevin was a star on the PBA Regional Tour winning 10 times including the National Resident Pro Championships in Hawaii in 1998. His team won the 1991 USBC Team All- Events titles at the Open Championships.

Kevin has numerous Toledo City titles (team, doubles, singles) and more than 50 other singles titles around the country. He owns 80 300 games (2 in the USBC Championships), 20 800 series and 9 PBA 300 games.

Kevin is the youngest person to be inducted into the Greater Toledo Bowling Hall of Fame and is also a member of the Toledo YABA and the Ohio State Bowling Hall of Fame.

Currently, Kevin is the Head Coach of the Bowling Green University Bowling team. He started the program 8 years ago with no funding.  The Club has won more than 30 tournaments on both the men’s and women’s teams with trips to the ITC’s in 2015.  In 2018, they won the Club National Women’s Championships in Smyrna, TN. The women’s team has been ranked as high as 14th and he brought the men’s team their 1st top 20 ranking last season.

“To be able to share my experiences with these kids through bowling and to teach them the sport that I loved the most and also to see them succeed not only in bowling but life in general, “ Kevin said when asked about his coaching experience.

“What a decision I made back in 1994-95 to sign with Storm”, said Kevin. “Storm was up and coming back then and look where we are now! The best bowling company in the world! What an honor to represent Storm. I cannot say and give enough thanks to Bill and Barb Chrisman for that they have done to create the best ball company in the world! Also, to all the employees who make this all happen and what they have done for me over all these years to make my job in representing a great company such as Storm so easy to do! Thank you to everyone!”

Kevin’s Favorite Storm Ball – Thunder Road Pearl

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