Illinois bowler goes above and beyond at USBC Women's, Mixed

By Kesha Dirkson and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

Dedicated United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships team captain Bettie Vines-Mathis of Park Forest, Illinois, enjoys the opportunity to bring people together through the sport of bowling.

For several years, she's been bringing a large contingent of competitors to the world's largest participatory sporting event for women, and with the addition of the USBC Mixed alongside the Women's Championships starting in 2015, Vines-Mathis now is sharing the events with even more bowlers.

This year at the South Point Bowling Plaza, Vines-Mathis organized 30 teams for The Mixed and 28 teams for the Women's Championships, and she has plans to expand the group even more in 2017.

Bettie Vines-Mathis_250"You have to like what you do," said Vines-Mathis, who has been helping bring teams to the Women's Championships for more than 15 years. "I like to bring people together, and that's the easy part. I'm the person who likes to talk, so I'll just go up and start talking to you. Getting the teams together is a piece of cake."

Vines-Mathis admits the biggest challenge with a group this size is communication, however, she does her part by planning group meetings leading up to the event, so bowlers not only can begin preparing, but also can start getting familiar with other team members.

"I start with the first meeting in September and follow with meetings in January, March and April," Vines-Mathis said. "And then, we're here. I'll tell them to look around and see who's sitting by them. I tell them to get familiar with that face because they're going to become pals for life."

The group also meets one more time before hitting the lanes for competition as another opportunity to relax, mingle and have fun.

Vines-Mathis' biggest reward is getting to know people and learning about their personalities. With this goal in mind, she has started Pals For Life, a way for bowlers to help others in need.

"This whole group is like a family," Vines-Mathis said. "It's a reward just getting to know people and find out about their personality. With Pals For Life, we collect $10 a year from each of our bowlers, and if someone's in need, we will support them however we can."

With no intentions of slowing down, Vines-Mathis also is looking to build a future for the sport by introducing children to bowling, and getting them involved in a sport that has given her so much.

She also knows that whether the scores are good or bad at the end of the year, her and her teammates are going to have a good time.

"My motto is simple," said Vines-Mathis, who rolled sets of 528 in doubles, 502 in singles and 492 in team for a 1,522 all-events total in 2016. "We came to bowl, and if you can win some money, win it. And, just know you looked good and had some fun. Overall, I really like the competition and just enjoy bowling."

Being the captain of so many teams also earned Vines-Mathis special recognition beyond just the appreciation of the members of the group.

For having more than six teams at the Women's Championships and USBC Mixed, she earns recognition as a member of the Captain's Club, introduced to recognize and reward the hard work and dedication it takes to keep such a large group organized.

The benefits in 2016 include a Captain's Club pullover, journal and pen set, travel pillow, photo package, special locker access, restaurant voucher, Bowling Ball Express discount and more.

For more information on the Captain's Club, visit

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