Life in the fast lane …

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 20, 2000

After throwing strikes on the softball diamond for years, Cindy Hudson and Charleane Keller decided to take their athletic skills to the bowling alley.

It’s paid off in a big way, as the two teamed up last week to win the Tequila Rose Alabama-Mississippi Bowling Tournament in Pearl.

The two won an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas on March 25 to 26 and will compete with 29 other teams for a $10,000 first place prize.

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Each team is also guaranteed at least $1,000 in prize money.

Hudson and Keller competed against 36 other teams in Pearl. The ironic part is that they did not qualify as a team for the tournament.

They qualified with different partners at Rivergate Bowl. Keller, who has been bowling for two years, attended to watch her sister Dianne Kirby.

Hudson and Kirby decided to team up and pay an entry fee since they did not automatically qualify for the tournament.

The Natchez pair finished with a total score of 1,854 over four games.

Hudson’s best game was a 226, while Keller, who has a 110 average, rolled a 151.

&uot;It was something because we beat men and women with 200 averages,&uot; Hudson said.

The pair did not even realize they had won right off.

&uot;We knew we had a high score,&uot; Keller said. &uot;But we didn’t add it up as we went along. My sister knew. As soon as we threw our last ball she stood up when we got through and started yelling, ‘Y’all are going to Las Vegas.’&uot;

Hudson, who has been bowling for eight years and has an average of 163, said qualifying for a tournament like the one in Las Vegas tournament has been a dream of hers.

&uot;I watch bowling on TV and to be able to bowl in such a big bowling tournament has been one of my dreams,&uot; she said.

Hudson said her sister, Kay Bourdin, started her into bowling.

&uot;I love it,&uot; Hudson said. &uot;But it’s the most inconsistent game I’ve ever seen. You can throw the same ball two different games and have a 226 one game and a 150 another game. But people tell me I’m obviously not throwing the same ball.&uot;

Hudson said she throws a straight power ball, using the same motion she uses on the pitching mound.

&uot;It’s the same motion,&uot; Hudson said.

Both ladies said the game is more mental than anything.

&uot;You have ladies in their 70s and 80s and, while they are not physically strong, they know where to throw the ball,&uot; Keller said.

Both bowlers said they are going to the tournament with the idea of having fun.

&uot;There are 70 lanes at that alley, so I’m not going to know what to think,&uot;&160;Hudson said. &uot;I’m sure we’re going to be nervous, but it’s going to be a thrill just to be there. I hope we get to meet some pros out there.&uot;

&uot;Hopefully we can get in the money,&uot; Keller added. &uot;It takes a team effort. When one is not bowling good, the other has to pick up the slack.&uot;

Brenda Cornwell and Katie Smith finished second in the tournament, while Anne Hash and Pat Crook were fifth.