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Friday, May 6, 2016

Citizen of the Year

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dale "Hammer" Davis receives honor

Dale "Hammer" Davis received the honor of being named Alta's "Citizen of the Year", a title he said he will forever treasure.

Hammer, 78, "put Alta on the map" when he reached his all-time goal of rolling a perfect bowling game at Century Lanes, city council members and Mayor Tom French said during a special presentation at Monday's City Council meeting. Hammer's perfect game drew attention from across the state and even nation. Hammer is legally blind, suffering from macular degeneration for the last 10 years. He is totally blind in one eye and has peripheral vision in the other eye.

Hammer was flabbergasted by the award.

"It was a great thing," he said of the 12 strikes that gave him his perfect game. "I never saw one of them but I did hear 'em."

Hammer, who was born and raised in Alta, told the council and mayor that he was more proud of the Citizen of the Year award then any other recognition then he has received.

He shared with the council that he is somewhat of a "come back kid." In 1955, as a young man, he had the "privilege of spending the night in the Alta Hilton" (in other words, jail, for a very minor incidence.) "What a come back. I think I can be an inspiration to others," he joked with the members of the city government.

The bowling alley is one of Davis' favorite places to be. When he was nearing his teen years in the early 1940s, he was a pin boy at Alta's three-lane bowling alley, located in the basement of the pool hall, actually the basement of the now Century Bowl.

He made two and one-half cents per line he said of the pin-setting done by hand. As he got older, he tried bowling a little and got pretty good.

At the age of 16, he joined the Navy; following his discharge remained in California for several years.

He returned to Alta and again found his way into the Storm Lake bowling alley, then located on the outskirts of town along Highway 7. He helped to maintain the lanes and bowled on a league every chance he got.

He moved west again where he remained for nearly 40 years where he continued to bowl, scoring some of his best games. He had the chance to compete in the California state bowling tournament and picked up a few prizes.

It was while in California that he began having sight problems. He returned to Alta in the late '90s. He makes the most of what sight he has left. Living only a few blocks from down town Alta, he steps out, with his white cane, to enjoy coffee with his friends on a regular basis.

He credits his sister Thelma Sherwood for getting him involved in bowling again and encouraging him to continue on even with a handicap. "She's the best," he said with a grin of his sister.

He is a member of an Alta bowling league and a Sioux Rapids bowling league.

"I thank the town of Alta for giving me this honor," he concluded.

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