Liz Kuhlkin had just gotten off working at a local supermarket–her job when not on the bowling tour–the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and was happy to talk about Beat the Champions.
“I am very honored to be invited,” Kuhlin said. “This will be a first for me. I have bowled in some local charity events.”
She understands the long glorious history of the pros who set the target scores in BTC, the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association’s charity bowling event. The Sun-Times is the media sponsor for BTC.
For their first times, Kuhlkin and Rhino Page will set the targets in the 58th BTC. The target broadcast, which will be recorded at Rolling Lanes in Countryside, airs on Christmas on NBC Sports Chicago. Contest week for league bowlers in BTC is Sunday through Dec. 8.
Winners of the U.S. Open are invited to set the targets. Kuhlkin earned that honor in June by winning the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open in Orlando, her second Professional Women’s Bowling Association Tour title.
Kuhlkin is building an impressive history of her own in bowling. The 25-year-old right-hander was the NCAA Division I Player of the Year in 2015 at Nebraska.
Then, on Oct. 17, 2016, she bowled the highest three-game score by a woman (890). She opened with two 300s in Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial League at Schenectady’s Towne Bowling Academy, her home center in upstate New York, then spared and finished with 11 strikes.
So, asked if setting the targets with Page is going to be fun and showmanship or a competition, she said, “This is a different event, I think about having fun. But I definitely am a competitor. Like most athletes, I like to win.”
Both the men’s and women’s champions in the finals in March win a cash prize of $7,500. But the real money is the more than $2.8 million raised for charity in BTC’s first 57 years by nearly 6 million entries.