101-year-old Emma Hendrickson competes at 2010 USBC Women's Championships

    04/20/10

    United States

    2010USBCWCEricPiersonEmmaHendrickson.jpgEmma Hendrickson, the 101-year-old bowling sensation from Morris Plains, N.J., hit the tournament lanes at the El Paso Convention and Performing Arts Center and added on to her record as the oldest participant in United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships history Sunday.

    She was escorted down Center Aisle by USBC Women's Championships Tournament Manager, Eric Pierson (pictured left), and received several gifts on behalf of the city of El Paso to commemorate her accomplishment and welcome her to Sun City for her 51st consecutive tournament appearance.

    Hendrickson rolled games of 78, 76 and 91 for a 245 scratch total in her team event, and her efforts helped Five Bowling Bags of East Hanover, N.J., to a 2,341 handicap total in the Ruby Division. Teams in the Ruby Division have combined averages from 750-899, with handicap based on 100 percent of 900.

    "Well, it's not too bad considering my age and a couple of other factors," said Hendrickson, who entered with a 103 average and chose not to compete in doubles and singles this year. "I have a physical impairment, and the ball always goes to the left. Sometimes it's OK. I had a slight stroke, but as long as I can still bowl, it's OK."

    The energetic right-hander made her 50th Women's Championships appearance at the 2009 event in Reno, Nev., and became the oldest bowler in tournament history, breaking her tie with Ethel Brunnick of Santa Monica, Calif., who competed at the age of 99 in 1987.

    That performance helped Hendrickson reach celebrity status as the story of her accomplishment quickly made its way around the country and world. It not only landed her appearances on ESPN's Top 10 Plays, but also an exhibition match with TV-personality Regis Philbin, with the results being shown on Live! With Regis and Kelly.

    "Regis is quite a man," Hendrickson said. "He's affable. Not just because he was like that around me the few days I spent with him, but you can see it on his show, too. He doesn't like to hog the limelight."

    The fame continued in El Paso as Hendrickson was introduced as a special guest at the Intercollegiate Team Championships televised finals and received a standing ovation from those in attendance. Hendrickson also received many media, autograph and photo requests during her stay.

    Throughout her many years of involvement with the sport of bowling, Hendrickson has found her involvement with youth bowling to be her greatest success. She helped organize the youth program in Morris County, N.J.

    "My goal was to get the kids out into the community so that they could earn money to bowl," Hendrickson said. "The youth division is my glory because I started it in Morris County, and we have a beautiful program for them. I still have my hand in it. I just love it."

    Many have found Hendrickson's drive and love of the sport to be inspirational.

    "Emma inspires all of us," said USBC Managing Director of Tournaments Brian Lewis. "Her dedication to this sport and tournament is amazing. She is an ambassador for the sport of bowling, proving it has no bounds as long as you have love for the game."

    Hendrickson certainly doesn't look to stop at 101. She has signed up for the 2011 Women's Championships, which will be held in Syracuse, N.Y.

    "I've already paid my $35 for next year," she said. "It's about a seven hour drive from Morris Plains. I hope I can make it, I really do."

    2010USBCWCLogo.jpg Presenting sponsors for the 2010 USBC Women's Championships are Nationwide Insurance; Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; US Steltronic, official scoring system; Brunswick; Storm Bowling Products Inc.; and the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau.

     


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