100-year-old bowler Emma Hendrickson takes on TV star Regis Philbin

    05/23/09

    United States

    2009USBCWCPhilbinHendricksonRipa.jpgLast month, 100-year-old Emma Hendrickson (center) of Morris Plains, N.J., became the oldest participant in the history of the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships. Recently, she put her bowling skills to the test against television personality Regis Philbin (left).

    Philbin challenged Hendrickson to a bowling competition after her milestone appearance at the National Bowling Stadium on April 18 became national news and landed her on ESPN's Top 10 Plays and ESPNEWS.

    The Philbin-Hendrickson match was taped in New York on May 14 and will air on "Live! With Regis and Kelly" this Friday morning..

    Although the results are being kept a secret until the show airs, the contest has been the subject of numerous ongoing jokes and comments by Philbin and his co-host, Kelly Ripa (right).

    "I had a lot of fun doing the show," said Hendrickson, who competed in the USBC Women's Championships for the 50th consecutive year. "I have been on TV before for interviews, but not as part of this type of activity. Regis seemed very concerned about my health, and kept asking me if I was OK. I guess he didn't want me to throw the ball and go down with it."

    Hendrickson said Philbin spent time clowning around and faking pulled muscles, claiming it had been many years since he had bowled - all as an excuse for his lack of bowling prowess.

    The media frenzy surrounding Hendrickson's accomplishment started in Reno when local news crews were on hand to see her break the record she shared with Ethel Brunnick of Santa Monica, Calif. Brunnick was 99 years old when she competed in the Women's Championships in 1987.

    The excitement hasn't died down, and Hendrickson currently is working on a photo shoot with British and Australian newspapers for upcoming features. She also has been invited to serve as the bowling spokesperson at the New Jersey Senior Olympics being held in Woodbridge, N.J., in September. There also have been offers to appear on "Ellen," "Good Morning America" and "The Tonight Show," according to Hendrickson's family.

    "I don't really feel any different, but I do get a kick out of it," said Hendrickson, who already is signed up for the 2010 Women's Championships in El Paso, Texas. "It seems like everybody is talking about it here, and I am even hearing from people who are asking for my autograph."