My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
The Ladies Professional Bowling Tour thrived in the 20th century. There were a number of tournaments around the country. Finals were televised on ESPN, albeit most were taped and shown around midnight. Later the brand was changed to the Women’s Professional Bowlers Association and unfortunately there was not enough cash generated to continue operations. I was a fan of the LPBT, even traveling to Rockford, IL one year to watch a tournament and compete in the Pro Am. One of my favorite bowlers was Stacy Rider. Although she was not a big name, she did well enough to make a few shows. I didn’t care about that so much, I liked her because she was a baseball card collector. She left the tour in the mid nineties due to injury.
The US Women’s Open golf tournament was recently held at Interlachen in Edina, and gave me pause to remember 1995, when the US Women’s Open Bowling tournament came to Minnesota. I took a week off from my day job to venture to Southtown Lanes to watch the competition. A field of 174 players, including local favorite, Dawn Thorkildson, began on a Monday in a difficult format. There was 24 games of qualifying before the field was cut to 60 cashers. It took a 207+ average to make this plateau Then 8 more games to get to the top 24. One of the highlights was Aleta Sill converting the Greek Church late in the eighth game to make that cut. Then another 24 games of round robin match play to determine the five finalists.
The finals were held at the National Sports Center in Blaine. A crowd of about 1000 filled the bleachers, and waited a couple of hours due to delays in assembling the lanes for the arena setting. The delay didn’t affect ESPN, as they were taping for a later viewing.
The fifth spot was owned by Sandra Jo Shiery. She gave new meaning to the term “Big Hair”. I believe she had it done at Lady Godiva’s Salon in Clearwater, Florida. Manny Ramirez would be so proud to have hair like that. Diana Teeters was in the fourth position and survived a missed ten pin to win the opening match. Diana went on to bowl Wendy McPherson Papanos, and despite missing a nine pin and another missed ten, she defeated Wendy. Next up was Cheryl Daniels, and the spare shooting caught up with Diana. Needing a nine spare in the eleventh frame to win, Teeters left the 3-6 combination and chopped it to lose by one pin It turned out to be a costly open as Cheryl went on to the championship game against Tish Johnson. Tish had dominated the field all week at Southtown, leading pretty much from game 1 to 56. In the process she set a new woman’s record for a 24 game block with 5650. But she couldn’t get comfortable in the Blaine Sports Arena and was easily defeated by Daniels.
So Cheryl took the Eagle trophy home to Detroit. Press coverage was limited, but there was a daily update in the Strib and Pioneer Press. The finals were shown late night on ESPN, and it was a great week of bowling for the Twin Cities area in October of 1995.