By Keith Meagor
Several days after the Junior Ringin’ Ten Tournament, I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to the 2014 B division champion, Bridget Dodge.
Bridget is a quiet, smart and well-spoken Butte High School Junior. That should not fool you; she is a competitor on the lanes.
Bridget defeated Matt Bolan of Helena for the B Division title. Bridget’s mom, Judy, says “The biggest thing Bridget did during this year’s Junior Ringin’ Ten was that she was relaxed and didn’t get uptight when things were not perfect.”
That mentality paid off. Bridget said she did not throw the ball that well on Saturday’s qualifying squad, but then went on to win four out of six games on Sunday during match play. That was enough to qualify in third for the top four eliminator.
When asked if she was nervous during the eliminator or the championship match, Bridget said she was a little but remembered to just worry about the frame she was in. This mentality has been developed over years of competition.
Bridget caught the bowling bug at the age of 5, bowling in junior leagues at the King Pin and now competes in the major’s league and high school league on the varsity team at Star Lanes, where she averages a career high of 152. She has competed in many tournaments in the state and looks forward to the competition and enjoys the challenges of bowling and tournaments.
Because of bowling Bridget has amassed a solid resume of achievements, but she has also started to develop a bank of scholarship money for school. She started acquiring scholarship dollars since she was 10, where she placed second at the State Pepsi Tournament. With winning this year’s B Division she added $500 in scholarship dollars to her SMART fund.
When asked for tips for starting bowlers, she said that the key is to have fun and you will get better. For the more experienced bowlers, she said to relax and understand that it isn’t always going to be perfect. Take the breaks and go with them. No matter where Bridget goes she plans to compete and have fun with bowling in the future. This is a life time sport and plans on bowling as long as she can.
A quick recap of this year’s 13th Annual Bud Atchison Junior Ringin’ Ten Classic local bowlers did well in the competition. This is not unusual for this tournament, last year both division’s champions were local junior bowlers (A division- Kevin Keller and B division– Keagan Morris). This year saw a total of 47 junior bowlers from across the state descend upon Butte to compete for $2,700 in scholarship money.
The A division did not have a local bowler in the top four for the first time in three years. The high local bowler was Travis Zuber who finished 5th and was awarded a $75 scholarship.
The B division, however, was a different story for local junior bowlers. Ryan Hessler of Anaconda finished in fifth place and was awarded a $75 scholarship. The top four consisted of two bowlers from Helena and two from Butte. Lauren Sullivan finished in third place and was awarded $250 in scholarship money.
The championship saw Bolan square off with Dodge. The championship was decided by a mere six pins, with Dodge topping Bolan 166 to 160. Dodge was awarded a $500 scholarship in winning.
The entire tournament and all scores can be found at butteusbc.com.