When the Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour ceased operations a dozen years ago, Leanne Hulsenberg decided to settle down in the Sacramento area. Now, she'll have a chance to resume her career in the community that took such good care of her for a decade.
Hulsenberg will be in the sold-out field of 80 bowlers who will compete in the PWBA Storm Sacramento Open, the first standard PWBA event in 12 years, starting Friday at Steve Cook's Fireside Lanes.
The players will take part in 12 games of qualifying Friday before the top 16 advance to round-robin match play Saturday. The event concludes with the stepladder finals at 6:30 p.m. Pacific on Saturday. All rounds will be broadcast live on Xtra Frame.
"I spent 10 years of my life in the Sacramento area before I moved to Utah a couple years ago," said Hulsenberg, a United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer who has won 25 standard PWBA events and two major titles. "I worked for Steve Cook and I was the youth director when he purchased the bowling center. I grew up in the Bay Area, which is only about two hours away, and I have a lot of friends and family in the area."
Though she is battling a hip injury, there was never a question whether Hulsenberg would compete in the event given her close connections to the area and bowling center. A labral tear in her hip has slowed her down and she's decided to put off surgery until the fall when the PWBA Tour wraps up.
Hulsenberg, 47, knows she needs to be healthy to remain competitive against the younger generation of bowlers.
"There are so many great young women bowlers out there that the timing of the return of the PWBA Tour is perfect," Hulsenberg said. "The collegiate programs are so strong, and I've never seen so many talented young girls as there are today."
The PWBA Storm Sacramento Open is the first standard event on the PWBA Tour, which officially kicked off in May with the USBC Queens, a major event on the schedule. The Sacramento stop kicks off a 10-week stretch of PWBA events across the country.
Bowling fans can watch all the action live on Xtra Frame. For more information, visit XtraFrame.tv. For updates on the PWBA Tour, visit PWBA.com.
PWBA STORM SACRAMENTO OPEN
Steve Cook's Fireside Lanes, Sacramento, Calif.
Schedule of events
Thursday, July 9
5-6 p.m. - Practice session for all tournament bowlers
Friday, July 10
8-9 a.m. - Practice session for all tournament bowlers
11 a.m. - Qualifying Round 1 (six games)
4 p.m. - Qualifying Round 2 (six games - field cut to top 16)
Saturday, July 11
9 a.m. - Top 16 round-robin match play (eight games)
2 p.m. - Top 16 round-robin match play (eight games - field cut to top four)
6:30 p.m. - Stepladder finals