In 1964 Don Carter became the first athlete in any sport to sign a $1 million promotional contract. In the early 1970’s Paula Carter, the “Blonde Bombshell”, hit the professional bowling lanes on her way to a Hall of Fame career. Together, Don and Paula Carter became one of sport’s first power couples, on and off the lanes.
“Don and I were friends first,” Paula Carter said. “Our relationship developed over time and then we got married.” The Carters’ legacy will be celebrated on the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour as the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship gets underway at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. Jan. 4-6, 2009.
There have been nine previous PBA Mixed Doubles events; eight of those nine were contested in Reno. The first PBA Mixed Doubles event was contested in 1988 with PBA Hall of Famer Amleto Monacelli and USBC Hall of Famer Tish Johnson sharing the title. The most recent PBA Mixed Doubles event was conducted in Las Vegas, Nev. in 1998. The defending Mixed Doubles champions are 10-time PBA champion Steve Hoskins and 2008 U.S. Women’s Open champion Kim Terrell-Kearney.
Sixty-four players from the Lumber Liquidators PBA Tour and 32 players from the PBA Women’s Series (16 PBA Women’s Series Exempt Players + 16 of the next highest qualifiers from the PBA Women’s Series Tour Trials) will each bowl 14 qualifying games at the National Bowling Stadium. The 32-player women’s field marks the largest field for women in a PBA event since the inception of the Women’s Series during the 2007-08 season.
The top 16 from each group will be combined to form 16 mixed doubles teams which will advance to match play. “The men who haven’t bowled with the women before will be surprised,” Paula Carter said. “The women work hard, have a great work ethic and will go the extra mile.”
The final round of the Don and Paula Carter Mixed Doubles Championship will be taped for broadcast Jan. 11, 2009 at the National Bowling Stadium. The final round is scheduled to air on ESPN Feb. 1, 2009 at 2:00 pm ET.
Don Carter was a charter member of the PBA and a seven-time PBA champion, including winning the 1960 National Championship and the 1961 USBC Masters. Don was inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in 1970 and the PBA Hall of Fame in 1975. He went into the bowling business, founding Don Carter Bowling Centers in 1975. Paula Carter has traveled the world playing the sport she loves. She won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1971 and 1975 and was elected to the USBC Hall of Fame in 1994.
“We are very thankful for the continued support of the PBA,” Paula Carter said. “Through our involvement with this great event, people can aspire to be professional bowlers.”