It would be easy for the competitors in the Brunswick World Team Challenge tournament to get excited about bowling on television or winning a trip to the $150,000 Grand Championships in July in Reno, Nev.
But that is not what motivated yesterday's winners at Country Club Lanes.
For the Vise Grips team, which includes three sisters who grew up in Maryland, it was a dream come true to bowl together in the five-player team format, in which each team member had to bowl two frames to compile one team score.
"For us, it was a very special experience just to bowl as a family," Jeri Edwards said. "With such an age difference between us, we never got to compete with each other until this weekend."
Edwards, 32, knocked down the pins with her sisters Brenda Edwards, 20, who bowled on the 1995 University of Nebraska national championship team, and Kathy Zielke, 29, a pro bowler from Bel Air.
The Vise Grips overcame a 30-pin deficit in their win over Cavicchi's Corner Pro Shop from White Plains, N.Y. The Vise Grips picked up $1,625, plus bowling balls, shoes and free airfare and accommodations in Reno.
The men's championship went to Ebonite, which led the field from the opening matches on Saturday morning. Ebonite, which won $3,200, topped the Columbia Cudda C's from Katonah, N.Y., 369-360, in the two-game finals.
For team captain John Gaines, it was his seventh time bowling in the finals, but he will be making his first trip to the Grand Championships, July 16-19.
"I've bowled with several groups of people in this event before, but I finally found the right group of guys," said Gaines, who owns the pro shop at Country Club Lanes. "I believe I just might be able to get away from the shop for a day or two in July."
* Earl Shelton, a bowler from Spartansburg, S.C., who suffered an apparent heart attack during Saturday's qualifying, was in stable condition last night at Franklin Square Hospital Center. He has been moved from the coronary care unit and is "doing fine," said Holly Dietor, a hospital spokeswoman.
Open division winner: Ebonite, Hopkinsville, Ky. (Bob Goike, Detroit; Steve Kloempken, Wichita, Kan.; John Gaines, Baltimore; Chris Barnes, Wichita; Bill Rowe, Hamilton, Ontario)
Women's division winner: Vise Grips, Bel Air (Jen Larson, Lincoln, Neb.; Brenda Norman, Lincoln; Jeri Edwards, Akron, Ohio; Brenda Edwards, Lincoln; Kathy Zielke, Bel Air)