Eight bowlers from Fair Lanes Southwest have qualified for the Coors Light $25,000 Duckpin Classic Silver Bullet Tournament finals May 18and 19 at Turner's Long Meadow Bowl in Hagerstown.
The county competitors are Russell Scott, with an 889 series for the five-game qualifier, Henry Humm, 888; Terry Edmondson, 884; Michael Fritzwith, 856; Lola Taylor, 827 set; Blanche Bilello, 826; Kathy Evans, 820; and Jessie Shears, 816.
The tournament features a $3,000 first-place prize for men and women. Bowlers sanctioned by the National Duckpin Bowling Congress witha minimum 30-game league average as of Dec. 31 were eligible.
I know what you're thinking -- these are super bowlers, right? Wrong. These bowlers are the same folks you bowl with every week in your local league. They're your neighbors, your friends. Just as in your league, some have a low average, some a higher average and most bowl only one or two nights a week.
Blanche Bilello bowls in the Devil Bird Monday night league and carries a 115 average. She's been bowling for about 18 years and has a high game of 172 with a high series of 400-plus. Nice scores but nothing unusual.
Bilello lives in Ferndale with her daughter, Elena, 11, and her son, Slanz, 20, and her husband, Ron Nacci. For everyone who knows Blanche as Bilello, she was married Saturday to Nacci.
"Bowling is a great way to meet people," she said. "It's the way I met Ron."
Kathy Evans, who bowls in the Thursday Mixed/Match Fours at Southwest, did what a lot of bowlers have wanted to do -- throw the bowling balls in the closet and forget aboutthem.
Evans has been bowling off and on since she was 9 years old, and when her average dipped into the 90s she just tossed her bowling balls into the closet and picked up the house balls. She took her average up to 102 and into the Coors Light finals.
Evans lives in Glen Burnie with her husband, Stephen, and is an administrative assistant with E. A. Mueller, an engineering consulting firm. She's had a high game of 175, with a high series of 400, and loves the duckpin game.
"I would like to see people take the game less seriously," Evans said. "I hate it when some folks feel that they have to kick the ball return just because of a bad break."
This will be her first tournament since she was a youth bowler, and she said, "I was lucky toqualify and I'm going to Hagerstown and just have a good time."
Terry Edmondson likes everything about duckpins, too, except the lack of prize money. He bowls in the Monday Majors and the Sunday Morning Titans leagues at Southwest and lives in Glen Burnie with his wife, Vicky, where he works as a drywall installer with Centerline Construction.
Edmondson hadn't bowled on a regular basis for quite a while until deciding to return to league play about three years ago. Apparently the layoff didn't hurt his bowling.
Henry Humm of Glen Burnie is another bowler who started bowling as a youth, quit for eight years and returned to the sport this year.
Humm carries a 114 average in the Devil Birds League at Southwest and is married to Angela, who bowls in the same league on Monday nights and carries a 95 average in her first year of competitive bowling.
Humm is employed by Montgomery Ward. He has thrown a high game of 178 and a high set of 440.
"Duckpins is a fun sport," he said. "As for the qualifier, well, Iguess that I bowl better on my own than when I bowl on team. Of course, since I was off work for a week before the qualifier I was able to practice a lot. I know that helped."
Practice does help. That's a good thing for all bowlers to keep in mind. Practice. Now.
One woman who doesn't practice much is Ruby McEnaney of Sevrena Park, who has bowled in the Carrollton Manor League at Severna Park Lanes sinceit was formed more than 30 years ago. She still carries a 104 average, has a high game of 182 and last week threw a nice 392 series.
McEnaney, who has lived all of her life in Anne Arundel County said, "I just love to bowl."
When you've been bowling for more than 60 years, as she has, you would have to love it.
Kendra Cameron and her brother, Edwin, love to bowl, too, down at Crofton Bowling Centre.
Kendra is a high school senior, and last Saturday in the morning youth league she had games of 276, 199 and 192 for a powerful 667 series.
Edwin, 14, had games of 236, 221 and 214, for a 671 series.
How would you like to around when brother and sister start discussing exactly who is the best bowler?