|Ohio teen wins Sauce drawing, trip to plant
HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. - Standing next to a ball return, Trevor Bernhard, 17, carefully aligns his feet, positions his Hammer Sauce bowling ball just so.
He looks at his feet clad in white bowling shoes - makes a slight adjustment - glances at his bowling ball then at the pins. Again he looks - feet, ball, pins.
Satisfied, Trevor begins his approach to the lanes. He releases The Sauce, which glides down the freshly oiled lane with a hollow swooshing sound; with a thunderous crash the ball hits the pins, leaving two pins standing.
"I can never make this shot," Trevor said to Hammer brand manager Jeff Ussery, who was Trevor's personal coach for the day.
Picking up his new spare ball - the Black Widow Clear, drilled just minutes before - Trevor begins the process again. Feet, ball, pins, repeat. The approach, the release, the swooshing sound, just like before. The ball misses the two remaining pins.
Trevor shakes his head with a grimace.
The new spare ball and the day of one-on-one coaching with Ussery at Ebonite International, Inc.'s training center was the grand prize give-away to Hammer's 500 Prize Giveaway that Trevor won for registering his Sauce ball online at hammerbowling.com.
Also part of Trevor's win was a grand tour of Ebonite International's plant in Hopkinsville, Ky. where The Sauce was made. Hammer is a brand of Ebonite International.
"I didn't know there were that many steps to making a bowling ball," Trevor said. "The tour was very informational, I learned a lot about bowling balls."
Trevor received his new spare ball while on the tour of the plant, probably the best part, he said.
Trevor's father, Don Bernhard, who accompanied him to Hopkinsville, said he and his son are also fans of the Discovery Channel series "How It's Made," which featured the manufacturer several seasons ago.
"That was the biggest, intriguing thing for me," Don said. "I love seeing how stuff is made."
Trevor, a junior at Niles McKinley High School in Niles, Ohio, is new to competitive bowling.
"I've been bowling for four months," he said. "I used to bowl all the time for fun, but I never took it seriously."
The Sauce was Trevor's first bowling ball; he averages about 180, he said.
"Trevor exhibits all the qualities we look for in a Hammer player," Ussery said. "Even with his limited experience, Trevor has a great understanding of the game and really knows where he wants to go."
Don, who can no longer bowl, was a Hammer man when he bowled and wanted his son to throw a Hammer, too.
"I used Hammer in the 1980s that I threw a couple of 800s with and I wanted to get a Hammer for his first ball," he said. "That's obviously my favorite ball."
Trevor began bowling as something to do between football and tennis season, two sports he plays for the Niles McKinley Red Devils.
"A lot of my friends bowled," he said. "My uncles and grandpa are bowlers; dad was obviously a good bowler. My friends were like, 'hey, let's do the bowling team.'"
Having nothing to do between seasons, Trevor, an offensive guard/defensive end, decided to go for it as another way to keep active. He has no plans to give up football or tennis.
At first, Don thought the e-mail informing Trevor that he had won the trip to Ebonite International was a scam. Another 'you have won' spam gimmick.
"I was at a friend's house, sleeping, and he called and woke me up like 10 times and told me to go look at this Web site," Trevor said. "'I was like 'I don't need to learn how to clean my ball when I'm not even around it.'"
But, finally he relented and logged on to the Hammer Web site.
"I scrolled down on the screen and saw my name in big white letters and I just started calling everybody I knew," he said as his father chuckled. "I was shocked."
Although he has not yet bowled a perfect game, Trevor said he bowled a 221 the first time he used The Sauce; his high score is 252 and he swears if he ever bowls a 299 he'd quit.
"I'd be so mad at myself," he said with frustration tinting his voice at the thought. "I'd be so furious."
Trevor, who will return to school Feb. 11, said he was grateful for the experience Ebonite International has given him.
"Jeff is a great guy," he said.
Based in Hopkinsville, Ky., Hammer Bowling is an Ebonite International brand. Ebonite International is a privately-owned company that currently services bowling centers, distributors and retail outlets both domestically and internationally. For more information visit www.ebonite.com.