Women’s finals, Beat the Champions: Rolling today, Bluebird Lanes

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Cool signs were on display earlier this winter at Palos Lanes for Beat the Champions; the women’s finals are today at Bluebird Lanes.
Credit: Dale Bowman

Carmen Dunbar will miss her regular bowling in the Classic Knights and Ladies League at Lakewood Bowl at 4 p.m. Sunday.

With good reason.

She reached the women’s finals of the 56th Beat the Champions. The finals, at Bluebird Lanes in Chicago, begin at noon Sunday.

“Everyone said, `Don’t worry about it, you don’t need to worry,’’ Dunbar said. “Just wait until you win that $500.’’

That would be the $500 the champion earns for the prize fund her league, if it has 100-percent entry in BTC. Classic Knights and Ladies is a 100-percent league, as are all but one of the 32 leagues of the finalists.

The top prize for the champion bowler–all finalists take home a prize–in the finals is $7,500.

“This is my first tournament as a an adult,’’ said Dunbar, 34, an IT specialist/medical assistant from Richton Park. “The first tournament since high school [at Rich South]. I have been bowling since I was 9.’’

She already visited Bluebird one time to acquaint herself with the lanes. “They are different than Lakewood, I will have to adjust,’’ Dunbar said.

There is another adjustment in the finals. Unlike the three games of the sectionals, bowlers roll four games, jumping a pair of lanes after each game.

“Everybody just told me to be me and bowl like I normally do,’’ said Dunbar, who carries a 179 average and will have 111 pins of handicap. “Don’t be nervous.’’

In the handicapped charity tournament put on by the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association, with the Sun-Times as the media sponsor, bowlers averaging below 210 receive 90 percent of the difference as handicap.

The important number is the more than $2.8 million raised for charity so far by bowlers in BTC.

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