The long-time home of women’s professional bowling during the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour days — Sam’s Town Gambling Hall in Las Vegas — hosted the 2023 Professional Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night.
Three women with unique connections to the business side of bowling were inducted: Cheryl Daniels in the Performance category, the late Mary Bundrick in the Meritorious Service/Builder category, and Paula Carter in the Ambassador category.
While Daniels was elected for her sterling career on the lanes, there’s no doubt that her presence on the tour and on television screens across America inspired at least two generations of young Black girls to take up the sport — directly impacting proprietors who had youth bowling programs.
Daniels was known for her fiery demeanor on the lanes — she sometimes was compared to Marshall Holman — but she also had a bright smile that was perfect for television. And it was the more mellow Daniels who addressed those in attendance at Sam’s Town last night.
“The thing I cherish most is how many wonderful people I met,” she said. “I met so many fans and terrific people while traveling all over the United States and abroad. I value so many of the fans and friends that I met along the way. We had a great time, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything.”
Daniels also referenced her other passion in life, music, which she said she used to break free of her “one-dimensional” character. She even sang a few lines from the first song she recorded and released, much to the delight of the crowd.
Just as Daniels was a trailblazer for young Black girls, Mary Bundrick was a guiding light for women’s pro bowling in general, responsible for the creation of the first women’s pro organization.
“Many people thought that Georgia Veatch started the PWBA when the truth is that she was its first executive secretary; she was hired by Mary Bundrick,” said PWBA and USBC Hall of Famer Fran Deken. “Mary Bundrick started the PWBA.”
Bundrick passed away in 2001 at age 89, but her son, Les, was on hand to accept the Hall of Fame honor on her behalf.
“My mom was a go-getter,” Bundrick told BCM exclusively. “When she set her mind to do something, she got it done. Bowling was her life, and growing up in Chicago, there were some great bowlers and great opportunities for someone like her to make a difference.”
Bundrick was joined at the induction ceremony by three other members of the Bundrick family, all four shown here.
While Paula Carter was an accomplished bowler and two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion, she welcomed her election in the Ambassador category with open arms.
“After I had some success, they would send me to newspapers,” Carter said in a taped message. “I remember one time I went to the New York Times, and they put me on top of a desk and had me pretend I was bowling. That was picked up by something like 200 papers. When I did those kinds of things, I knew the word was getting out about bowling. I loved that; it’s all I ever wanted.
“I was honored to be accepted into the Hall of Fame under the category of Ambassador,” she added. “There are hundreds of bowlers, but how many ambassadors are there? I thought it was special to be one of the people who made the sport better, go forward and get bigger as opposed to just being a bowler. That wasn’t the part for me. The part for me was getting other people to love the sport as much as I did.”
And that positively impacted proprietors from coast to coast and around the world.
Carol Gianotti, elected as part of the Class of 2020, finally had an opportunity to accept her award after years of COVID-caused delays, to round out the evening.
It was a great night, and it was great to be back at Sam’s Town.
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