RENO, Nev. - After two days of competition at the 2010 USBC Senior Championships, 10 bowlers now can call themselves national champions.
Leading that group is Diane Norblade of Axtell, Neb., a 62-year-old right-hander who competed at the Senior Championships for the first time and was focused on having a good time and making a good showing for her home state.
"My goal was to come out and just enjoy myself," said Norblade, who claimed the Women's Division- Class C title with an eight-game total of 1,848, the highest in the Women's Division. "I wanted to represent the state of Nebraska to the best of my ability. I also bowled with some very nice ladies, and to win is very exciting."
Norblade's husband, Clark, took some time off work to accompany her to the National Bowling Stadium this week, and it meant a lot for him to be there for her victory Wednesday.
"He typically doesn't get to come with me because he is a farmer, and this is his busy season," said Norblade, who is an office manager for Scandinavian Mutual Insurance Co. and bowls league at Hasty Lanes in Holdrege, Neb. "He was able to take the time away, and I am happy he was here to share this with me. It was great for him as well because he has never seen the National Bowling Stadium, which is a great venue to bowl in."
Nearly 350 bowlers representing 47 states and three Canadian provinces made the trip to Reno with their sights set on one of the 10 titles up for grabs.
The Senior Championships is a handicap singles tournament consisting of two divisions- Open (men and women) and Women's. Each division includes five age classifications (Super Seniors: 75 and older; Class A: 70-74; Class B: 65-69; Class C: 60-64 and Class D: 55-59). Handicap is based on 90 percent of 210.
After two four-game blocks over two days, champions were crowned in each classification based on their eight-game pinfall.
Roger Ehlers of Cary, Ill., another first-time participant, earned the Open Division Class A title with a 1,775 total and was shocked to hear his name called as a winner.
"This is very exciting and quite surprising," said Ehlers, who bowls league at Kingpin Lanes in Fox River Grove, Ill. "This is the first time I entered this tournament, and I was fortunate enough to win my state competition and now the national competition."
Ehlers, 74, always has been a supporter of the game and is happy to still be able to compete at his age.
"I love the sport, and I love to bowl," Ehlers said. "It's always nice to bowl. To be able to still compete at a decent level is always nice for me."
The other winners in the Open Division include: Super Senior- John Weicker, Victoria, British Columbia, 1,808; Class B- Stoney Hotard, New Iberia, La., 1,769; Class C- Jerry Kowaluk, Vernon, Conn., 1,865 and Class D- Rick Micek, South St. Paul, Minn., 1,795.
The other winners in the Women's Division include: Super Senior- Jean Jones, Fordyce, Ark., 1,801; Class A- Joy Lyman, Helena, Mont., 1,756; Class B- Lena Donahoe, Chatham, Ontario, 1,778 and Class D- Jennie Nubie, Daly City, Calif., 1,824.
All champions received $1,000 and a crystal bowling pin. Each runner-up received a commemorative clock, while third place finishers received plaques. All bowlers in the top 10 received prize checks.
2010 USBC SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS
At National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev.
Super Senior (ages 75+)
Class A (ages 70-74)
Class B (ages 65-69)
Class C (ages 60-64)
Class D (ages 55-59)