BETHLEY STRIKES GOLD WITH HAMMER
Louisiana bowler Rusty Bethley and Hammer Bowling struck gold at the 2011 Summer National Senior Games in Houston June 16-19.
Bethley, of Covington, La., used the Hammer Taboo to win the Gold medal in the Men’s age 55-59 bowling competition. His 722 score in the medal round was enough to secure the victory.
“It was quite an honor to represent Louisiana and bring back the Gold medal,” said Bethley. “I had so much support from my friends and other bowlers, especially in Baton Rouge where my pro shop is located.”
Houston’s Palace Lanes was the bowling site for the Senior Olympics. The biennial competition began at the local and state level, with age divisions separated into five year age increments. The top four finishers in each group qualified to compete in Houston. Two days of qualifying led to the top eight bowlers in each division advancing to the medal round for three additional games of competition.
Bethley qualified fourth during the preliminaries, and put his best foot forward in the finals. He used games of 254-276-192 for a 722, easily beating Silver-medalist David Zilkoski, Salisbury, N.C., who posted a 649 score.
“The officials re-oiled the lanes prior to the medal round, and it played right into my hands,” said Bethley. “I had the right amount of traction to get through the oil. The Taboo allowed me to play right in my comfort zone, and it showed in my scores.”
This was Bethley’s first time competing at the national level. He qualified for the 2009 Senior Olympics in San Francisco, but wasn’t able to attend.
“I decided Houston was as close as the games would ever be to me, so this was going to be my one chance; win, lose, or draw,” Bethley said. I’m fortunate that everything came together when it had to in the finals. “
The highlight of the festivities was the awards ceremony, where host proprietor and American Bowling Congress Hall of Famer Bill Lillard, presented the medals.
“What an honor to receive my Gold medal from Bill,” said Bethley. “It is definitely a memory I will treasure for a very long time.”
Bethley said he didn’t know what to expect advancing to the Nationals. To prepare, Bethley took part in an extensive practice schedule, and focused his energies on the Senior Olympics.
“I probably practiced 70-80 games on different lane conditions the week before going to Houston,” said Bethley. “I think that helped make a difference in my performance.”
The Taboo has been a go-to ball for Bethley all season long. He finds it especially helpful while bowling events on the Ebonite Senior All Star Bowling Association Tour.
“The conditions usually start out tight for SASBA,” said Bethley. “I need a ball like the Taboo to get through the oil, and get me back to the pocket.”
Bethley has operated The Players Edge Pro Shop in Baton Rouge for the past six years. He says his pro shop experience, and his resources at Hammer, gave him an edge prior to the competition in Houston.
“Jeff Ussery (Hammer Brand Manager) has been an invaluable resource for me,” said Bethley. “I always learn something every time I speak with him.”
— Hammer Bowling Balls & Bowling Equipment -Based in Hopkinsville, Kent., Ebonite International is a privately-owned company that currently services bowling centers, distributors and retail outlets both domestically and internationally. In addition to Hammer, the company’s consumer product brands include Track, Robby’s, Columbia 300, Ebonite and Powerhouse™; its commercial product brand is Ebonite Bowling Center Direct.
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