VLADIMIR A. "CHIEF" WAPENSKY became acquainted with the bowling game at the "other end" of the lanes by setting pins at the age of 10 in his hometown of Lansford, Pennsylvania. He joined his first league in 1937.Back to Hall of Fame
It was military duty that brought him to the Washington, D.C. area in the middle 1950s. He immediately became active in tenpin bowling circles, and it was here that he received his first notable public accolade. In 1958, he was presented with a citation from the Virginia State Bowling Association for his conduct of the State tournament that had set a record number of entries. It was also that same year that Wapensky received the Association's "Outstanding League Secretary of the Year" award, the first time the honor had been bestowed.
During his four years with the Army in Europe, Wapensky organized a city association and served as its secretary for a region that covered all the U.S. military installations in eastern France. For his promotion of bowling in that area, he was awarded the "Tommy Thompson Memorial" award, given to one person each year who, in the opinion of the bowlers, had given the most to bowling.
Reassigned to the Washington area in 1962, Wapensky immediately became active on the local scene. He began writing a column for the Washington Evening Star and Northern Virginia Sun.
In 1964, Wapensky was elected to the board of directors of the association and only three years later was elevated to a vice presidency. It was while serving as vice president that he devised the vice president/committee system of operations under which the association still functions.
Probably his most materialistic accomplishment in the 1960s was his founding of BOWL Magazine, It was through his direction and total dedication to the game that the first issue of the publication became a reality in January 1967.
Chief Wapensky was elected to the presidency of the association for the 1970-71 season. Almost simultaneously his administrative ability was recognized nationally, and he was selected to become the executive vice president of the National Bowling Council, the promotion and publicity arm of the bowling family.
It was under Wapensky's leadership and guidance that the Washington area gained national prominence by the collection and donation of more than $10,000 to the BVL Fund that year, tops in the nation.
When the annual elections for the 1971-72 season were held, Vladimir Wapensky was "drafted" for a second term, an honor that only a handful of men had received before him. He accepted the mandate but before he could begin serving his second term, he was selected for still a greater national honor: He was chosen to become the national executive director of the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America in Arlington, Texas, a position from which he retired in the early 1990s.
Chief Wapensky's endless good nature, his remarkable administrative ability, his love for bowling, and his continual promotion of the game both locally and nationally have combined to earn him a piece of immortality in the Nation's Capital Area Bowling Hall of Fame.