June 6, 2006 19:00
On Sunday, June 4, Kelly Kulick made history becoming the first woman to earn a full-season exemption on the Denny’s PBA Tour.
After five days and 45 games, Kulick finished sixth out of 140 bowlers to earn one of 10 exemptions for the 2006-07 Denny’s PBA Tour season at the 2006 PBA Tour Trials.
Kulick’s accomplishment has been featured on ESPN SportsCenter, ESPN News and in USA Today among others. Click on the links below to read articles from around the country about Kulick’s historic exemption.
CHICAGO SUN TIMES
First woman bowler qualifies full time for PBA Tour
By CLIFF BRUNT
Associated Press Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Kelly Kulick doesn't mind being compared to Danica Patrick.
While Patrick has made her name as the only woman driver in the Indy Racing League, Kulick has become the first woman to earn her way onto the Professional Bowlers Association tour full time. She qualified by finishing sixth in the PBA Tour Trials that ended Sunday at Stardust Bowl in Hammond.
By averaging a 224 in 45 games over an exhausting five-day span, the 29-year-old Kulick earned one of 10 tour exemptions.
Kulick said her life already has changed, starting with the attention she has received for her accomplishment.
"Some of it is overwhelming," she said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I know I'm going to have a lot of things to do this upcoming season. I'm sure it's going to open even more doors along the way."
Kulick, who works part time at her father's auto body shop in Union, N.J., said was about ready to give up professional bowling. If she hadn't qualified for the PBA Tour this time, she thought she might go back to school and pursue a master's degree in education. Instead, she succeeded in her third year at the trials.
"This is a full-term exemption, all year long," she said. "That didn't really hit me until the other day."
The PBA didn't allow women on the tour until April 2004. Kulick is one of three women who has qualified for a PBA event. She said the male bowlers have treated her well so far.
"I've just had overall joy," she said. "So many people have called me up to congratulate me and put in my mind what I did actually accomplish. They're also trying to warn me of what could happen. Who knows what's going to happen, where this is going to lead? Again, this is the first time ... I'm sure I'll be pulled in many directions."
The Professional Women's Bowling Association folded in 2003. Kulick was the 2001 PWBA Rookie of the Year and won the 2003 Women's U.S. Open before the league folded. She said the league's end was depressing for her, but hopes the attention she generates might help bring it back.
Kulick is a former two-time Collegiate Bowler of the Year and was a two-time All-America at Morehead State. She also was a three-time member of Team USA.
Now she's taken the next step by qualifying for the PBA Tour. She's nervous, but excited about what lies ahead.
"I'm thinking every week, there's going to be 63 bowlers, and one woman," she said. "To look toward the lanes and to see all these men, I kind of wish there was another (woman) out there with me to kind of take some of the pressure off. I'm going to give it my best shot. This is an opportunity I only have this upcoming year. I want to make the most of it and try to continue to do it as long as I can.”
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