Yvonne Tison, as she was known in this area, was the quintessential “bowling alley rat” of the 1970s. Growing up in and around the sport, she has had an accomplished career on and off the lanes.
Yvonne, who started bowling at age 10, averaged 170 in the prestigious Northern Virginia Junior Travel League as a senior at Langley High School. She brought the national spotlight to the Nation’s Capital Area when she fired a four-game series of 906 on games of 170, 246, 223, and 267 at Skor-Mor Lanes during that same league in December 1974.
While attending college at George Mason University, she gave back to the sport as a volunteer youth league assistant at Annandale Bowling Center, a Certified AJBC Youth Coach and youth director at Reston Bowling Center, and a member of the Bowl America Tournament Committee. As a member of the WDCAWBA Board of Directors, she wrote the “Tison’s Corner” column in BOWL Magazine during the 1980-1981 bowling season.
Yvonne was a trailblazer, bowling in numerous men’s scratch leagues as these leagues opened up to women in the mid-1970s. In 1996, she was one of the first women to become an ABC Lifetime Member.
To pursue competitive opportunities, she never shied away from shoeing up with and against the men, often bowling in scratch tournaments and pot games throughout Virginia. She frequently was seen bowling in pot games at Bowl America Falls Church and Reston Bowling Center. The guys often would tease her about the “second paycheck” she took home some nights from “action” at Bowl America Burke.
She appeared in the WDCAWBA Top 10 Ranking in 1978-1979 (#8) and 1979-1980 (#7). Returning to the lanes after a five-year layoff due to work commitments, she placed fourth on the association’s 1987-1988 Honorable Mention listing with a 188.2 average in her only league.
In 1979 at age 21, Yvonne led the Women’s Division in each of the five rounds en route to becoming the youngest female MWBPA Scratch Invitational Champion. A 1980 BOWL Magazine Tournament Scratch Team and Scratch Doubles champion, she also was victorious in the 1989 MWBPA Award Score Scratch Singles and in the 1990 WDCAWBA City Tournament as a scratch and handicap team champion. In addition, there were numerous cashes in women’s scratch events, including the Virginia Bowling Queens and the Women’s All Star Association.
In 1980 at Bowl America Shirley, she represented WDCAWBA with Debbie Roberts in an exhibition match with WPBA touring pros Patty Costello and Cindy Coburn-Carroll.
Her personal highs include a 289 game, 698 series, and a single-season average of 199 for 60 games in the summer of 1990 in the Thursday Scratch Trios at Bowl America Burke, a league she won with teammates Ken Shaw and Todd Larson.
Yvonne Tison Bennett’s accomplishments on the lanes and her contributions in our area and continued passion and dedication to bowling deem her a most worthy member of the NCAUSBCA Hall of Fame.
PHOTO: Lisa Majkrzak / Artan Sol Photography
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