|Bonnie McKinley loves to bowl.
Bonnie, a former physical education teacher, also feels strongly about education.
In fact, she feels so fervently about bowling and education she paid $2,751.98 to visit Ebonite International, Inc. in Hopkinsville, Ky.
The trip to the Ebonite International, Inc. plant, along with one-on-one coaching with one of the corporation's brand managers, was recently auctioned off on eBay. The proceeds from the auction will go to the Earl Anthony scholarship fund, which is awarded annually to five students by the United States Bowling Congress.
Named in honor of legendary pro bowler Earl Anthony, the scholarship is awarded to male and female bowlers based on community involvement and academic achievements. Eligible candidates must be enrolled in their senior year of high school or presently attending college and must be current members of USBC in good standing. In addition, candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 based on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent). Individuals may win this award only once. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is May 1.
"Ebonite International has had the privilege of being a part of this industry-wide auction for several years now," said Marketing Services Manager Brenda Green. "The wonderful thing about this auction is that it allows our industry to come together in support of our sport's future. We've been able to host winners from all areas of the country with one thing in common, a passion for our sport, and the will to help bowling youth to succeed in life."
Bonnie, along with her husband Bill, drove to Hopkinsville from Clintonville, Pa., an approximate 600 mile, 10 hour trip, according to Google maps.
"I really love to bowl," she said. "I liked the idea of the instruction; I need help. It's also because of the scholarship, the chance to help someone."
The trip to the bowling ball manufacturing facility included a tour of the plant where Bonnie got to see step-by-step - from the core out - how the company's product is made.
"It was really incredible; I like the "green element" involved," she said. "It is amazing that so much of it is done by hand - the plugs and the engraving."
Ebonite International, Inc. which employs more than 100 people just in its manufacturing facility recycles as much hazardous waste as possible. One way is by making stepping stones for gardens and pathways. The company sells these stone for 10 cents; all profits are donated to the United Way.
Columbia 300 Brand Manager Chad Murphy was Bonnie's personal bowling coach during her visit.
"I really enjoyed Chad's instruction, which was very easy to understand," she said. "He explained why he changed parts of my bowling set up and approach. As a result, I felt like I had an effortless delivery."
Bonnie, who has been bowling for about 50 years having started in high school, has always used Ebonite or Hammer bowling balls, she said. At age 67, she averages 170 with a high game of 251. Bonnie bowls in a league and the occasional tournament, but never with her husband.
"He golfs," she said.
Bill, however, disagreed.
"I wouldn't say I golfed so much as I swing at the little white balls," he said.
For Bonnie it's the competition of bowling that attracts her; competition with herself and with others.
"I really enjoy competition."