She’s been on the lanes for 17 years and she’s on 25.
A bowler from Bartlesville is looking to make the sport a full-time career.
“I was working at the local Kiddie Park here in Bartlesville and then it flooded that summer, so I had nothing to do,” said Ashley Rucker. “So, I bowled every single day that summer.”
After a standout career at Arkansas State (note: college bowling is a scholarship sport), Rucker is making a run at the pro level. She averages a score of 232 per game, one of the highest averages in the nation. It’s the highest ever for a female in the Tulsa area.
“My family, my college coach, a lot of people around here encouraged me to become a professional bowler and it sounded like a lot of fun,” said Rucker.
Of course, there’s a big difference between bowling for recreation and bowling professionally.
“There’s ways that we can put out the oil to make it tougher. On lanes like this, a 230 might be super easy. On the tour, it’s very hard to get,” stated Rucker.
But for someone who’s bowled six sanctioned 300s, there’s not much profit in professional play in the Professional Women’s Bowling Association. Only the top 13 women made over $20,000, and with travel, you may break even.
“It’s really hard to win those. It doesn’t come along very often. You can’t just go out and expect to win that every single tournament,” Rucker said.
She’s gearing up for a full-time run starting next year, hiring a new coach and working in Owasso to get funds for a run.