By Adam Eisenbarth
A local bowler teamed with four other Alberta participants to strike down the competition at this year’s Master Nationals.
Kelly Budd has been bowling competitively for 13 years and reached an exciting highlight when she qualified to participate in the tournament with Team Alberta in the Teaching Ladies Division.
While it is a team event, the bowlers are matched player to player in competition. The player with the most points over their average, or closest to their average, earns a point for their team. Team total points over average are worth three points, making eight points available each game.
The tournament involved players with level 1 or 2 coaching certification. It was in 1997 when Budd was urged to coach in her oldest son’s league.
She was successful throughout the tournament, scoring an average of 220.1. Budd was part of an Alberta team that could not be caught, posting 111 points to take gold. Ontario scored 100.5 to take silver, while Saskatchewan took bronze with 93.5 points.
It wasn’t an easy feat for the team however. Heading into the final day of competition, Alberta lead by just four points with three games left.
“If (Ontario) claimed all the points we would have had second, maybe third but we ended up pulling it off to get 11 points ahead, but it was quite stressful that day.”
With a crowd on hand and the gold on the line, it was a challenge to stay focused.
“From being in a small town, we don’t get all the cheering when we take our kids to a tournament.”
The crowd wasn’t the only possible distraction for Budd, who is used to having a family member along with her. She was all on her own for this trip however, but remained focused on helping the team.
“I was on the phone with my husband as soon as that last ball was thrown.”
While the final day was certainly the most intense, it was an earlier round that really opened some eyes. The team scored a combined total of 1,425. No player scored lower than 260 and the team clearly fed off of one another’s success.
“Everybody just seemed to click and work together, it was very exciting,” Budd said. “It’s unbelievable when a group gets going like that and on a roll.”
It was a big win for Budd and her teammates, but she is already looking forward to qualifying for next year’s competition.
“Next year, it’s in Gatineau, Que. I’d like to check that place out.”
The event also involved Ponoka’s Eric Anderson, who was a coach for the Alberta seniors team that won bronze.