New Jersey bowler makes 50th trip to USBC Women's Championships

By Scott Simon and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

- An exciting year of milestone appearances at the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships was capped off this week as Lillie Mae Holman of Bloomfield, New Jersey, became the ninth and final bowler to join the 50-Year Club at the Raising Cane's River Center.

The 83-year-old bowled in her first USBC Women's Championships at the 1967 event in Rochester, New York, and it still ranks as one of Holman's top tournament memories.

"After my team and I bowled our Friday night league, we got into our car and drove to Rochester to bowl in our first tournament," said Holman, who was awarded a plaque, chevron and necklace to commemorate her longevity at the event. "We arrived just in time to check into our room, get on the bus and bowl our first event."

Although Holman missed the following year in San Antonio, she's made an annual visit to the world's largest participatory sporting event for women every year since 1969.

She's enjoyed the opportunity to see the country while competing, and her trip to San Diego for the 1969 tournament served as a favorite destination. In all, Holman has visited 34 cities and 24 states during her career on the championship lanes.

"San Diego was my favorite city because there was no fog or smog," Holman said. "It was a clear view seemingly to all of California."

Holman's dedication to the sport earned her a spot in the Essex County USBC Women's Bowling Association Hall of Fame, and she credits her friend, Mary Ross, for helping push her to this week's milestone.

"When I started bowling in 1952, I finished with an average of 100 and decided to stop bowling," Holman said. "I stopped for five years, and Mary pushed me to do it again. I never would have made 50 years without her encouragement. She bowled every tournament with me until she passed away, and I'm sure she's looking down today and saying, 'See, Lil, you made it.'"

Holman only competed in the team event at the River Center for her 50th appearance, knocking over 328 pins in her three games.

The list of bowlers joining Holman in entering the 50-Year Club at the 2017 Women's Championships included Marilyn Davidson of Sunset Beach, North Carolina; Jo Anne Elischer of Portage, Indiana; Greta Kozar of Chamblee, Georgia; Lorie Perry of Tucson, Arizona; Christina Polinski of Carter Lake, Iowa; Elaine Rebatzke of Milwaukee; Marion Saunders of Waynesville, Missouri; and Hope Williams of Tucson, Arizona.

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