A Transcona-area bowler shot some pins in Reno, but not just to watch them fall.
Eleanore Demke finished second in the women’s 65-69 division at the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Senior Championships at the National Bowling Stadium from July 1 to 3.
Demke, who bowls out of Chateau Lanes on Nairn Avenue, shot a three-round score of 1587, which was boosted to a total pins plus handicap score of 2091. Winner Janice Eisenhut of Washington state scored a 2133 with the handicap applied after recording a total pins score of 1953.
Demke’s score was helped by the fact she was shooting well above her average. She entered with a 157, but shot 166 in the first round and 181 in the second and medal rounds for a tournament average of 176.
She acknowledged having some nerves getting set to roll in the first round at the 80-lane centre against other provincial and state champions.
"Halfway through the second series, the second day, everything fell into place," Demke said. "It didn’t bother me then. I was just doing what I had to do."
Demke made her name as a five-pin bowler, attending over 10 national championships in various categorizations after beginning to play in 1975. But after struggling when returning from a hip replacement, she found the 10-pin approach worked for her, and she’s been getting better ever since.
Demke said coach Richard Nose was a big help, guiding her through her first five months of 10-pin bowling.
"I decided I was going to get my own ball, and learn how to hook the ball, and that’s where Richard came in," she said.
Given her strong bowling background, current coach Dan Tereck was a little surprised to see Demke take some time to adjust, but admitted playing in a centre with stadium seating would give most bowlers some pause.
"We all figured she’s going to be used to the pressure and the pomp," said Tereck, an East. St. Paul resident who coached Demke for the 10 weeks leading up to the tournament. "It’s a huge complex, and none of us in Winnipeg have ever seen anything like that before."
Tereck knows all about the pressure, as he competed in the 60-64 open division, finishing 31st.
He said Demke was "very coachable" being relatively new to the sport. He added 10-pin is more technical than five-pin, as 10-pin lanes are oiled, and she picked up on the differences very quickly.
"You have to figure out where that conditioner is, so then you can play the most advantageous part," he said. "She retained it and could do it in a tournament on her own."
The top six bowlers in the opening two rounds qualify for the medal rounds. Of the 12 Winnipeggers at the tournament, the only other local to make the medal round was Rick Aldous, who shot 2108 to finish fourth in the 70-74 open division.