Illinois team celebrates 25 years together at 2019 USBC Women's Championships

By Ryne Navarro
USBC Communications

- Sometimes, the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships is about more than just strikes and spares.

Camaraderie and friendships forged at the event often have kept players coming back to the world's largest participatory sporting event for women for years, with longevity being recognized and celebrated prior to the start of each team event.

The four members of Aches and Pains of Aurora, Illinois, each were recognized prior to the start of their team squad this week at Northrock Lanes for reaching 25 consecutive years at the USBC Women's Championships.

The team, which consists of Sharon Banfield, Virginia Jones, Constance Lederer and Sandy Reed, began bowling together at the 1995 event in Tucson, Arizona, and have returned to the event each year, visiting 15 cities and 14 states along the way.

The group have been lifelong friends on and off the lanes. Banfield and Reed are sisters, while Jones and Lederer are sister-in-laws.

Their start at the Women's Championships came from a recommendation from a friend, and they decided to make it a yearly trip.

"Our friend told us about the tournament," Jones said. "So, that year, we went to Arizona and thought it was a great way to have a mini vacation."

The team has enjoyed going to all of the different host cities and notes their trip to the 2010 event in El Paso, Texas, serves as their favorite destination.

"We really enjoyed going to El Paso," Reed said. "After we bowled, we drove over to San Antonio and rented a house for a few days, so that was a memorable trip."

The group had set a goal to reach 25 years together, and knew it would be a special moment to receive their 25-year plaques at the 100th edition of the tournament.

Bowlers are awarded with chevrons after reaching 20 years at the event, and they receive plaques starting at 25 appearances, with additional plaques awarded every five appearances.

"We all wanted to get recognized as a team, so we said our goal was to get to 25 years," Banfield said. "We also figured out it was going to be the 100th year of the tournament when we reached 25, so that makes it even more memorable."

The team hasn't set any immediate goals for the future as far as participation is concerned, but they do plan to continue their streak next year at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas.

"We haven't set any goals for the future," Lederer said. "Our team name is Aches and Pains for a reason, but we are planning to go to Las Vegas next year and are excited about going to Addison (Illinois) in 2021."

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