Hulsey honored in inaugural SBWA 'Just Desserts' Roast

    06/30/06

    Column

    By Jim Goodwin

    ColumnistJimGoodwin.jpg Legendary bowling center owner and promoter Jeanie Hulsey was roasted and toasted at the Las Vegas Hilton hotel Sunday evening June 25. The gala affair was hosted by the Southern Bowling Writers Association and sponsored by the Bowling Proprietors Association of America.

    Hulsey made a name for herself as the owner of two of the busiest bowling centers in Texas, 48-lane Golden Triangle Bowl in Irving, and 60-lane Forum Bowl in Grand Prairie. From the early 1970s, until she turned over the keys to her children Debbie, Brenda and Randy, the Hulsey family hosted some of the biggest bowling tournaments in the world.

    In 1974, her Golden Triangle Bowl hosted the BPAA Women's U.S. Open. In 1976, the BPAA Men's U.S. Open was held at Forum Bowl. And starting in 1977, Forum became the home of the Professional Bowlers Association Quaker State Open Tournament; a partnership that lasted 20 years.

    The Quaker State started as a $90,000 event and the 20th was a $250,000 event with an arena finals. All were televised on ABC Sports with Hall of Fame announcers Chris Schenkel and Nelson 'Bo' Burton, Jr.

    In addition, Hulsey made room for many more great tournaments and special events in her centers, including the All-American Youth Championships and the 1979 Great and Greatest Tournament televised on NBC Sports, featuring the top bowling stars from two generations.

    The list of roasters who came to Las Vegas to honor Hulsey was also very impressive. The emcee was the legendary Chuck Pezzano, PBA Hall of Famer and the dean of bowling writers. His cast of roasters included Hall of Fame bowling proprietor Jamie Brooks, international coach John Jowdy, Professional Women's Hall of Famer Pat Costello (winner of the '74 U.S. Open in Hulsey's center), PBA Hall of Famer Johnny Petraglia, and the PBA's first lane maintenance director Len Nicholson, who is now the host of the famous internet bowling show 'Phantom Radio'.

    After taking all the jabs and flowers from her admirers, Hulsey gave it right back – she started by saying "I knew I was going to get fried, so I dressed for the occasion." She wore a beautiful royal blue sequined and beaded evening dress.

    Accompanying Hulsey to the event was her daughter and granddaughter Debbie and Ashley Meadows. In thanking the more than 100 who attended, Hulsey said, "Bowling has always been good for me. I've enjoyed a comfortable life, and I hope I've been good for bowling.

    "The greatest joy it's given me is all the great friends I've made along the way. God bless every one of you. I love you all." In closing Hulsey took one last little shot at the younger generation by giving them some good advice. "Laugh a lot when you're young," she said, "because if you do, when you get old all your wrinkles will be in the right place."

    The Southern Bowling Writers Association is "focused on the future", and is now in its 28th year of promoting the sport in 17 Southern States.