Year Inducted: 2006
Bernard Menard was born on a farm on McCormick Road, approximately 5 miles (8kms) from Alexandria, on April 11th 1952. Bernie was the second of six children with brothers Rejean, Michel, Gilles, Alain and a sister Joanne. He grew up on the farm until 1962, at the age of 11 when his father decided to sell the farm and purchase a six lane bowling alley called JOHN'S BOWLING, which was located downstairs at the corner of Main and Kincardine St.
Bernie followed his father, Rene, into both the bowling and lumber business. With the explosion of bowling in the early 1960's, Rene built Alexandria Lanes, a ten lane centre that in its early days featured a variety of bowling games including five pin, ten pin, and duckpin. Today, the centre is operated by another prominent bowler and Bernie's sister, Joanne Nadeau, and features six five pin lanes and four ten pin lanes.
By 1963 the centre was fully operational and Bernie, like many other young bowlers, set pins and also began to raise his average at the same time. As the young pinboys challenged each other, the ones with the low score would set the pins for the next group of bowlers.
In the late sixties Alexandria had two men's teams competing against teams from Finch, Ingleside, Newington, Chesterville, and South Mountain every Saturday. As a teenager, Bernie was ready and wanted to bowl on these teams, which had players including his father Rene and older brother Reg, and also a group of locals such as Carman MacMillan, Hubert and Kaye Hay, Harold and Fraser McLeod, Rene Boisvenue, Royal Gareau, Claude Seguin and Elmer Richer. Finally, his turn came and he joined these bowlers on the Alexandria team.
In the early seventies, Bernie became manager of the centre and introduced the Youth Bowling Council program to the area, and he also became the first program director.
Bernie's personal bowling game was improving rapidly and he began to bowl in the major leagues in Cornwall as well as his local centre in Alexandria. Two of his career highs resulted as Bernie rolled a 440 single in Alexandria and an 1152 triple at Nativity Lanes in Cornwall.
Cornwall was a bowling hotbed and had strong connections to the tournaments and activities offered by organized bowling. Specifically, Reg Fournier introduced Bernie to the Master Bowlers Association and Bernie was hooked. Joining the teaching division in 1985, Bernie won the scratch section of the Mid-Winter Blues and, coincidently, his sister, Joanne, won the female side of the same tournament. Bernie joined the tournament division the next year and Bernie has added eight more MBA tournament wins to his credit. Only Hall of Famers, Nick Pagniello, Ian Cameron, and Fraser Hambly have won more events in over forty years of MBAO competition.
These nine wins have included three victories at the annual Rose Festival, an event that became the final event on the Master Bowlers Association calendar and a tune up for the Master Bowlers Association National Championships. In 1994, Bernie rolled a MBAO record score with a 3233 ten game score in Welland and returned to bowl 350 in the final game of the stepladder final.
One of his most cherished victories was the 2000 Mixed Triples, when Bernie combined with Ron Coombs and Linda Armstrong MacLean to win the championship despite an early loss in the double-knockout competition. Bernie's lifetime MBAO average is 259.84 for 839 games. He bowled his 900th game at this year's last event in 2006.
Bernie's provincial Masters excellence has led to four national appearances. The 1993 men's team took silver behind Alberta while bowling in Sudbury but Bernie redeemed himself with a gold medal victory the next year and a repeat gold in 2001 in Saskatoon. Bernie was the singles representative in 1998 in Calgary and, while not successful there, that achievement did earn him an athlete of the year award in Glengarry County.
Bernie's desire to bowl in all tournaments led him to the Provincial Open, which is conducted by the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers Association. Representing the Ottawa Valley zone, Bernie first qualified in 1989 and has eleven appearances, with seven in the singles, three on the men's team and just one on the mixed team. The Ottawa Valley men won the provincial title in 2000 in Hamilton and returned to the Steel City for the Nationals and added a bronze medal to his collection. Moreover, the Ottawa Valley Zone recognized Bernie's contributions and, in 1994 and again in 2002, successfully nominated the stylish lefthander for an ACT Sports Award presented annually to the top performer in all sports throughout the Ottawa Valley.
Bernie has always enjoyed the tournament activity and, for more than thirty years, has traveled the country to test the best competition. An early trip to the O'Connor Open brought a tip from Sudbury bowler, Bill French and, here in Ontario, Bernie looked to Hall of Famer Ian Cameron to understand both tempo and composure. Bernie has also been to Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Timmins, Gatineau and, of course, Cornwall for their annual open.
While Bernie followed his father into the bowling business, he also joined the elder Rene and brother Gilles in the lumber business and a successful Menard Lumber Company did business in Alexandria for many years.
Bernie is also the father of two children, France and Patrick. Not only did France bowl in the 1993 Ontario Winter Games in Cornwall, but also attended the annual bowling school conducted by the Ontario 5 Pin Bowlers Association.
Today, Bernie works with Ideal Roofing, a manufacturer in Ottawa, and the Monday to Friday work routine allows Bernie plenty of time to pursue his passion for 5 pin bowling.