Bender to enter the HallPeople know her as Kitty, but when you put her in front of a lane to do battle with 10 pins she becomes a full-grown cat — an alley cat. Minon (Kitty) Bender started bowling back in 1960 at Majestic Lanes and this weekend she will receive one of the highest bowling honors the city has to offer.
People know her as Kitty, but when you put her in front of a lane to do battle with 10 pins she becomes a full-grown cat — an alley cat.
Minon (Kitty) Bender started bowling back in 1960 at Majestic Lanes and this weekend she will receive one of the highest bowling honors the city has to offer.
On Sunday, Bender will become the newest member of the Jamestown USBC Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service.
“It means a lot,” Bender said of the honor. “I never expected to get this far, but it’s wonderful.”
Bender, a Jamestown resident, has 50 years of service at the lanes and in that time she has competed in city, state and national tournaments.
“We’ve bowled in Las Vegas a couple times, Reno a couple times, Kansas,” she said. “We’ve bowled everywhere.”
Bender, 72, has spent 28 years bowling alongside her daughter, Cammy Ost, who helped Bender achieve some of the success she has accomplished throughout the years.
“She was my doubles partner in all of my tournaments that I took in,” said Bender. “We’ve took in a lot of national and a lot of state tournaments.”
Alongside winning multiple city tournaments and team titles, Bender also helped take home state titles in 1982 and 1987.
“Oh my gosh,” Bender said of winning the state title. “That’s an honor. The competition is tough.”
Ost isn’t the only family member to hit the lanes on a regular basis, either.
Bender’s husband, Robert, has also been a longtime bowler and is a fellow Hall of Fame member.
“My husband got put into the Hall of Fame in 1998,” Kitty said. “So we’ll both be in there, and I hope now Cammy will get in.”
Cammy is well on her way to joining the family as she’s posted scores in the 290s and even 300.
“My daughter is a very good bowler,” said Kitty, who currently competes in the Monday Clockerette League with Cammy. “I got her started, then my husband took over and from there on she just walked all over me.”
Kitty’s single-game high was a 268 on March 5, 1983 at Buffalo Lanes, a moment she will never forget.
“It was wonderful,” she said reflecting back on her best single-game performance of her career. “I even beat the men. It’s wonderful when you can bowl well like that.”
Her high series (three-game total) was a 643 and her high average was a 178.
All those milestones rate high in her most memorable achievements, but she said her best moments were playing alongside her daughter and playing with her family.
“The number one (memory) was bowling with my family. It was a real pleasure,” she said. “I bowled while I was pregnant with my kids and when I had my kids I took them along to the bowling alley and they laid on the bench while we bowled.”
The meeting and service for the induction will be Sunday at 2 p.m. at the IDK Bar and Grill, and with bowling playing such a major role in the Bender family, it is only fitting that they will all be there when she accepts the honor.
“All of my family is going to be there,” Kitty said. “My kids are coming in from all over. I’ve even got one coming in from Grand Rapids, Mich.”
Sun sports writer David Griswold can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com