“No tricks, gimmicks, special equipment, special pills or special potions, all it takes is desire and will.” For proof of these words spoken by Richard Simmons, just look to Jordan Drotzman, Crystal Honner, Marie Weverstad or Ashley Zurcher.

These lucky ladies won the 74th Annual SD State USBC (United States Bowling Congress) Women’s State Bowling Tournament recently held in Mitchell, South Dakota. Grouped together by sheer happenstance, they are affiliated with the same bowling league but not on the same teams.

The Split Pin Rollers, as they were known as for the tournament “bowled-over” 262 other teams for the coveted first place spot. The tournament was lengthy, spreading over 2 to 3 months to allow all teams their chance to bowl. Each team bowled nine games over their scheduled weekend. Bowling games included: by team, by singles and then by doubles.

Results weren’t known until everyone had their chance. The Split Pin Rollers took first place with 2,708 pins, just seven pins ahead of the runner up with 2,701 pins.

All four bowlers belong to the mixed league at the Yankton Bowl and Family Fun Center. Jordan Drotzmann is in her first year of league bowling. Though she’s been bowling several times before, mainly for fun, she was recruited into joining the mixed doubles league by the Yankton Bowl’s owner, Jim Palmer.

She bowls on the league with her husband Jake, and has a highest game of 200 and highest series of 481.

Crystal Honner is also in her first year of league bowling, often bowling for fun with her friend and co-worker, Jordan Drotzmann. Honner was also recruited into joining the mixed doubles league by the Yankton bowling alley’s owner, Jim. She bowls on the league with boyfriend Mark Povondra and has a highest game of 176 and highest series of 471.

Marie Weverstad is not unfamiliar with bowling, her husband Ryan has been part of a men’s league for some time and is a pretty serious bowler. Weverstad’s husband convinced her to join the mixed doubles league with him. Her highest game is a 196 and highest series is a 513.

Ashley Zurcher is also familiar with the sport, her husband Syd is an avid bowler. She was previously on a ladies league in Crofton, Nebraska for three years and has been with the Yankton mixed doubles league for about two years. Zurcher has the highest game and series of the team, her highest game of 244 and highest series of 545.

Jan Putnam, Yankton USBC #80476 Association Manager and her mother, Lonnie Remington, league secretary, know a great team when they see one. They contacted these four ladies to see if they would be interested in participating in this state tournament. It turns out Jan and Lonnie were pretty good match-makers in setting up these four as a team. Weverstad had gone to the state tournament once before, but this was a new experience for Drotzmann, Honner and Zurcher, who had never before attended.

Putnam came up with their team name ‘Split Pin Rollers’ by combining all four of their league names. “Split” coming from Drotzmann’s league name of Split Happens and Zurcher’s name of The Split Ends. “Pin” came in from Honner’s league name of 5-Pinners and “Rollers” from Weverstad’s league name of “Hot Rollers.” The four of them didn’t practice together at all before the state tournament. Without any expectations, they were just hoping to bowl well and have a great time. “It’s kind of funny, we bowled (Saturday) for the team, and then Sunday we showed up and didn’t think anything of it and Jan was like, ‘come here’ to show us (the scores) and we were first!” Zurcher laughed. They still had to wait until the final results were posted after the tournament was over to see if anyone bumped them out of first place.

When I asked them if they now felt as if bowling was “their sport,” they all laughed. They still feel pretty novice to the game. Weverstad didn’t have her own shoes or ball during her first year of bowling, instead using house shoes & a house ball. When she first bowled state, she bought her first pair of bowling shoes and she just got her ball this year. A little funny considering her husband has several bowling balls. She showed up at this state tournament without a bowling bag, “I’d just carry my ball and had my shoes in my purse,” she laughed.

They’ve all had their share of embarrassing moments; all of them confessing to accidentally throwing the ball backwards when it was their turn. “Throwing it backwards makes a huge THUD,” said Drotzmann, “Everybody can hear it.”

“Gutter balls are the most embarrassing,” said Zurcher and they all laughed. Weverstad said she’d forgotten to switch lanes on her very first night bowling. She went back to her original lane and had to be reminded by her bowling opponents that she had to switch lanes. They all laughed, a lighthearted group obviously just bowling for the fun of it.

What do they like most about bowling? They all agreed that it’s a fun night out, especially in the winter months. Some commented that it’s a night out with their husbands. They seek out other bowling opportunities, having gone bowling on vacation, in other towns or for Drotzmann, bowling on the cruise ship during her honeymoon. Weverstad has taken her fondness for bowling to the next generation, introducing the sport to her daughter at age three. Now four, her daughter also belongs to a bowling league.

Simplicity is the commonality in their bowling bags, though Weverstad can’t comment since she doesn’t have a bowling bag yet, she plans on getting one soon. Drotzmann’s bag contains only a few items: bowling shoes, a bowling ball and score sheets. Honner carries her shoes, ball, towel, ball cleaner and score sheets. Zurcher laughs, “Mine, I have old socks probably,” and they all laugh. She also carries her shoes, ball, blister protection stickers for her thumb and a bottle of “second skin” to cover any blisters.

Though the team can’t make it to the Jamboree and Honors Banquet to be presented with their tournament-winning jackets, someone attending the banquet is bringing their jackets back for them. As Jan Putnam believes, it has been many years since Yankton has won the SD State USBC Women’s State Bowling Tournament, possibly even the fi rst time Yankton has won if records are correct. These ladies will be sporting their new jet black tournament jackets with pride. This team didn’t need any special equipment to “bowl over” the competition on their way to the top spot in the SD State USBC Women’s State Bowling Tournament. They won with talent and skill, just having fun with it, because that’s how they roll.