Florida bowler reaches milestone at USBC Women's Championships

By Tony Contini and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev.
- Eva Lou Rhoads of Englewood, Florida, celebrated 50 years of competition and dedication this week at the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships.

The 82-year-old right-hander began her tournament career at the 1965 event in Portland, Oregon, and her journey has taken her to 35 cities and 23 states along the way.

To commemorate her milestone appearance Monday at the National Bowling Stadium, Rhoads received a plaque, chevron and necklace.

When Rhoads celebrated her 25th USBC Women's Championships appearance in Lansing, Michigan, in 1992, she proclaimed that she was going to be back for her 50th trip.

Although the last five years have taken a toll on Rhoads medically, she was happy to prove her doctors wrong after they questioned her ability to keep bowling.

"It hasn't been easy," Rhoads said. "I've broke my hip, leg, both ankles, both shoulders had to be replaced and my back had to be worked on. It was one thing after another, but in my head, I am determined."

Rhoads' determination is easy to see, but she's also relied on her friends and teammates over the years. The group helped her through a trying time last year at the Raising Cane's River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"I couldn't even walk," Rhoads said. "I had vertigo, but they helped me through the games. My scores made me feel weak, but my friends made me feel great. That's what helps."

She looks to continue her run next year at the 2019 Women's Championships in Wichita, Kansas, where she'll be able to welcome her teammate, Marie Neugebauer of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, into the 50-Year Club.

"This has been my goal," Rhoads said. "I've had a lot of surgeries, but I keep coming. Even when I got to my 45th tournament, I thought it was unbelievable. I just kept bowling and kept coming back."

At the NBS this week, Rhoads posted scores of 378 in team, 361 in singles and 357 in doubles for a 1,096 all-events total.

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