Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Leanne Barrete-Hulsenberg Primed for Women's U.S. Open

Leanne Barrette-Hulsenberg is one of the finest female bowlers of all time. She won 26 PWBA titles over a seventeen year period and might well have won many more if not for the demise of the PWBA in 2003. Only three other women in history won over $1 million on tour. She was PWBA Rookie of the Year in 1987, PWBA Player of the Year and BWAA Bowler of the Year in 1991, is a member of the USBC Hall of Fame, and she's appeared over 100 times in televised bowling competition. And while the folding of the PWBA ended her full-time professional bowling career, she hasn't given up the sport by any means.

She and her husband, PBA member and former Ebonite district manager Gary Hulsenberg, own The Strike Shop, a bowling pro shop at Fireside Lanes in Citrus Heights, CA, and Leanne has continued to make her mark in recent national bowling competition, having completed a USBC women's Open "grand slam" and placed 14th in last years's U.S. Women's Open despite the fact that she doesn't bowl nearly as much as she used to.

Leanne also bowls in Fireside Lanes' Steve Cook Classic league and recently rolled her highest sanctioned series ever, an 855 on games of 289-298-268. That's just three pins shy of the house record held jointly by Steve Cook, P.J. Haggerty, and Dave Seiler.

And now Leanne is preparing for a trip to Texas to compete in this year's U.S. Women's Open. She's been working on some physical aspects of her game, trying out different bowling balls and layouts, and bowling tournaments to get herelf as sharp as possible. I'm sure her many fans, myself included, will be rooting for her to do well and make it to the televised finals to be held in the Dallas Cowboys stadium.

If you'd like to read more about Leanne, check out this article on the Ebonite "In The Spotlight" page, and you can view her 2006 match with Liz Johnson below.


  1. In your comment you reference the demise of the PWBA in 2003. Well let's just say that if Ebonite doesn't do a better job of running the U.S. Open tournament, this will demise as well. They had a record turn out this week with 296 bowlers, last year they had 100. If they didn't get the turn out they got this week, the tournament surely would've gone away. Well let me say this, "professional" bowlers that are bowling in this event for one, have a GREAT advantage when competing in these types of tournaments. When you enter the tournament you're limited to 8 ball, but the "professionals have Ball Reps, that are at their beck and call to drill up balls for them at anytime during the competition, when the up and coming bowlers are limited to the 8 balls they have because the Ball Reps who should, (I would think) be there for everyone as they are trying to sell balls for their company, but the truth is they are not there for or interest talking to any one if you're not a "Pro". These guys stand behind the pros during practice ignoring anyone else on the lanes with the "Pro", tell the where to stand and throw the ball they're using and if it's not working, they tell them that they will have another ball drilled up for them immediately. The up and coming person has the odds totally stacked against them when they're competing. To make this an even playing field, there should only be an allowance of 8 balls for a given day,(that are weighed and serial numbers check) as I'm sure you know this is not done. If your ball or balls are not working, you need to make adjustments without help from your Professional husband or Professional Bowler Ball Rep/Reps, with you being the "Pro" should know how to make your adjustments on your own with out other professional help, as this is what the up and coming bowlers have to do when they are competing. Sounds fair to me!!! But is this what happens ummm no!!! I bowled this week and I saw all of the "Pros" being told where to line up and what shot to shoot. With that said, I believe this is why the WPBA went away in 2003 and if they don't watch out, this will go away as well. It's obvious that the up and coming bowlers are set up to fail when this type of thing is going on, just look at who the bowlers are that continue to win these tournaments.
    Take a look at how the cards are stacked against the up and coming bowler compared to the "Pro".

    Up and coming Bowler
    1.Pays $300-400 entry fee
    2.Pays $150 per ball/8 balls
    3.Pays for room and board
    4.Pays for travel
    5.Has to figure out lane
    conditions/make adjustments
    on their own/no help from
    Reps you are not acknowledged
    by them.

    1.Sponsor pays (Ebonite, Columbia etc...)
    2.Sponsor supply balls for free (Ebonite, Columbia etc...)
    3.Sponsor pay for room/board (Ebonite, Columbia etc...)
    4.Sponsor pay for travel (Ebonite, Columbia etc...)
    5.Sponor Reps line them up, tell them what
    adjustments to make when they struggle. (Ebonite, Columbia etc...)

    It's obvious who the Tournament or Sponsors want to win these tournaments, and it's blatantly in your face. I guess they think the up and coming will continue to donate to the prize fund for their "Pros" to continue to win with their help. The up and coming made a statement last year and years priors (2003) hoping this year things would change but if it doesn't I'm sure this will be short lived as the women who compete in these tournaments are not STUPID!!! When you have bowlers being lined up and told where to shoot, you don't have a chance because by the time you figure out the shot or make adjustments, it's too late. But if the Pros had to figure things out on there own the field would be more equal but right now it's not.

  2. There are other people that feel like me, the playing field should be equal. If they have sponsor, so what, but they should be restricted to the maximum amount of balls and allowed no help at all like everyone else and definitely everyone should have their balls check and weighed like they are in Nationals.(WHY AREN'T THEY)hhhmmmm!!! At Nationals a Woman Professional Bowler had a illegal ball and was told the ball couldn't be used unless she had it fixed, she refused to have it fixed and got caught trying to use it any way. I know this is a long post but, just wanted to voice my opinion. So let it be known the up and coming bowlers are talking!!!

  3. Yes, your comment IS "long," but I welcome every word of it and am going to highlight it as a blogpost and invite comments. I think you point out a widespread phenomenon--the rich get richer while the rest of us often languish.

    I agree that in bowling, and, more broadly, sports and life in general, the ideal is to make it at least as easy for the non-rich to get rich as for the rich to get richer. I agree with you that men's and women's elite bowling would probably be far more prosperous if ways were found to cultivate the talents and skills of more bowlers and encourage them to participate in tournaments at all levels, and that without this cultivation and encouragement, it remains to be seen how long elite bowling can survive.

    I don't know how to resolve this difficulty, but I appreciate your suggestions and welcome any more of them that you and others might have.