Queen of the lanes

Published 5:54 pm Saturday, February 25, 2012

Evelyn Culbert of Austin received two plaques from the Mower County USBC for entering its hall of fame Thursday evening. Culbert has bowled for nearly 50 years.

Bowler named to Mower County USBC Hall of Fame

Evelyn Culbert of Austin shows her 1995-1996 copy of the Guinnes Book of Sports Records, which features her for her bowling accomplishment. Culbert became the oldest woman in 1993, then 66, to bowl a perfect, 300 game.

Evelyn Culbert went bowling on Thursday night, just like she has countless times over the last 50 years. It was much different that night, though.

Before Thursday, Culbert was just another avid bowler like many others from the area; afterward, she was a member of the Mower County USBC Hall of Fame. More than a dozen of her family and friends knew about the award and were on hand to surprise Culbert.

“I was real thrilled to know they were all there,” Culbert said.

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Culbert was recognized Thursday night for an accomplishment she achieved nearly 20 years ago: She became the oldest woman, then age 66, to ever bowl a perfect, 300-score game. Her story and photo went into the Guinness Book of Sports Records in 1994.

“It was my second game,” Culbert recalls before achieving the 300 during the 1993 Minnesota Women’s State Tournament. “I had a 135, and then I had the 300. I was just bowling along, and then the ninth frame came. I really didn’t get too nervous. The 10th pin was standing and all the sudden, it wiggled and fell over, so they gave me the 300.”

Culbert has achieved other interesting feats, as well. Her second-highest game is about a 234, she recalls, and she also remembers bowling two games in which she got a spare on every frame.

Though her record has since been surpassed, Culbert is still hard at it. Now 85, Culbert still bowls as much as she can. She usually bowls in the 150 range and recently had one of her best scores of the year at 170.

“I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” she said. “As long as my arm is working, I’m bowling.”