Brigitte Drake was recently named to the Virginia Peninsula USBC Senior Female All-Star Team.
Last month, the Kilmarnock resident was named to the 2012-13 Virginia Peninsula United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Inc. Senior Female All-Star team.
Although Drake had a 180 average last year, she didn’t make the cut “because I only bowled in one house,” she said. Now she bowls in leagues at both River Lanes and Grill in Kilmarnock and Village Lanes in Gloucester. Her 172.05 average this year was good enough for Drake to be named one of the top five female senior bowlers in an association of 4,800 USBC members.
At 74, Drake is also the oldest member on the honor team.
She was also named the 2011-12 Senior Female Bowler of the Year for the Virginia Peninsula USBC, which includes members from the Hampton Roads area, Yorktown, Williamsburg, the Middle Peninsula and the Northern Neck.
Drake, who moved to Lancaster County from Alexandria 14 years ago, was a licensed youth bowling coach when she and her husband, Dean, lived in Detroit. She bowled in a league in Northern Virginia while she was working full time.
Since retiring and moving to the Northern Neck, bowling has become her passion.
During the winter she bowls three nights a weektwice a week in leagues in Kilmarnock and one night a week in a league in Gloucester. Her average in Gloucester is 176; it’s 165 in Kilmarnock “because of the synthetic lanes,” she said.
Of course, she was bowling on a synthetic lane in Reno, Nevada, June 22-23 when she started off with four straight strikes at the USBC Women’s National Championships.
“Sometimes I have these days when I can throw backwards just about, but then there are times I can’t hit the broadside of the lane,” said Drake.
She had a couple of good days in Reno, where Drake’s five-member women’s team from Gloucester placed 23rd in the Ruby team division. Drake actually placed in all events including team, doubles and singles.
June’s trip was her fifth to Reno for the women’s championships. Over the years, her team has competed in the national tournament in Nevada, Florida, Kansas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, New York and North Carolina.
Those tournaments have been “all-girl” getaways, although Drake competes a couple times a year in tournaments with her husband. She can’t say how many tournaments she’s competed in over the years exactly, but averages about 10 per year, including senior, mixed and the women’s city, state and national championships.
Recently, the age for senior tournament participants dropped from 55 to 50, “which is 25 years less than me,” said Drake. But that’s okay by her. The local mixed leagues she competes in are not strictly for seniors.
“I like more competition,” she said. “You have more fun and challenge yourself with more competition.”
Drake’s highest career score was 277, pretty close to a perfect score of 300.
“But I just couldn’t get there,” she said. “I lost my concentration.”