Kenny Bern has been selected as the 2009 Honorary Referee for the 65th Tomahawk Relays. Bern, a 1944 Larrabee High School graduate was born and raised in Cherokee County and remained a lifelong resident. He was a three-sport athlete in high school, competing in baseball, basketball and track. Delbert "June Bug" Perrin, a 1942 Cherokee graduate was his idol. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the United States Navy and served on the destroyer U.S.S. Swanson during the World War II era. Following his time in the Navy, he went to work for Hygrade Meat Packing Company in Storm Lake, where he worked for 34 years.
Kenny coached American Legion baseball in Cherokee. For more than 20 years, he competed in amateur bowling tournaments across the nation. In 1967 competing in Miami, Fla., Bern finished as the national open division Bowler's Journal singles runner-up. The following year (1968) in Cincinnati, Oh., Bern captured the very title that elude him a year earlier. His scratch score of 1194 stood as a national record for four years. During his bowling career he has rolled seven perfect '300' games. In 1985, Bern was elected to the Sioux City Bowling Association Hall of Fame.
This legendary sports fan has attended numerous sporting events, including having attended the Iowa High School Boy's State Basketball Tournament for 63 consecutive years. During one winter sports season in the 70s, Bern attended 158 basketball games.
Bern has attended high school sporting events at Cherokee for more than six decades. The four consecutive state baseball tournaments in which Cherokee has competed is one of Berns' fondest memories, as is being selected the 2008 Cherokee Braves Wrestling Fan of the Year. Aside from the Tomahawk Relays, Bern has regularly attended the Holstein Relays, Sioux City Relays and Drake Relays. The front porch of his home captures many of those memories with photos of more than 200 athletes and numerous sports memorabilia.
Bern married the love of his life Olga (Benson) Bern in 1949 in Sioux City. He and Olga were married 59 years until the time of her passing on October 24, 2008. He's extremely proud to have seen numerous nieces and nephews graduate from Washington High School and several of them have played sports for the Braves.
"I'm in pretty good company and probably a little in over my head with the group of honorary referees before me," said Bern. "This is quite an honor."
The athletes and fans of Cherokee appreciate the support of Kenny and Olga over the years. He has been a tremendous fan of all of our programs. The Tomahawk Relays are thrilled to have Kenny serve as our Honorary Referee in 2009.