Princeton Women’s Masters Bowling Tournament marks 50th year

The Princeton Women's Masters Bowling Tournament marks its 50th tournament this year. A group of past masters ladies made it for the opening ceremony. They are (from left to right): Melinda Camp (2019 Champion), Shannon Allen (2-time champion), Chastidy Rotramel ( 3-time champion), Anna Flaig ( 5-time champion), Carol Towne ( 2-time champion), Pam Bardell (6-time champion).

Marge Richards won the first Princeton Women’s Masters bowling tournament in 1972.

Fifty years later, the event is still going strong as the women celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

There have been 23 different women to win the event in the first 49 years, including a mother-in-law (Joyce Allen) and daughter-in-law (Shannon Allen) duo 40 years apart.

Cari Hanson has the most titles with seven, winning her first in 1999 and her last in 2015.

The longest win streak is four by Pam Bardell, who reigned from 1990-93. She has six titles total, her first in 1988 and her last in 2005.

Anna Flaig is next with five titles from 1998-2013. She is still active, standing second through the halfway point of this year’s event.

Other past leaders are Mary Pottinger, who won four from 1974-82, and Cecilia Monier (1983-87) and the late Teri Baker (1995-01) with three each.

Flaig, 72, has been bowling in the masters for 25 years or so, and keeps coming back for more.

“The competition and the fun you have for the bowlers, for sure,” she said. “It’s always fun. If it’s not fun, you shouldn’t do it.”

She remembers bowling in the 25th annual masters, encouraged by the late Darlene Shepard, who she said was “one of the ladies big into bowling forever.” The Sportsmanship Award is named after Shepard.

“I remember she was in charge that year and asked if I wanted a shirt,” Flaig said.

Defending champion Josie Lindsey of Kewanee did not return this year to defend her title.

Leader in the house

Newcomer Katie Gerrard of Kewanee, who brought in the high average of 197 into this year’s tournament, has been the leader after each of the first two days, tallying 45.30 Peterson’s Points. She had the high series of 1,209 on the first day.

Flaig climbed all the way from the 10th position after Day 1 to second after Day 2 with 44.22 points thanks to the day’s high round of 1,210.

“Second day was fun. The first day was a little bit of struggle, but the first day was a lot better,” Flaig said. “If I have one day like that, I’m lucky. Some years have been better than others. The problem is, I’m getting older.

“We’ll see what next week brings. Doesn’t matter how old you are. Next week can always be a little bit different at bowling.”

Rounding out the top five are Sherry Allen (44.02), Melinda Camp (42.12) and Danielle Hoopes (42.05).

The pins will be flying again this weekend starting at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Pin Splitter Lanes.