Wagner, other women not rolling in earnings

October 03, 1990|By Bill Free

The music started, Leila Wagner found her place in line with the other 23 bowlers who had made it to match play last night and she strolled across the lanes during introductions at the $50,000 Ladies Pro Bowlers Hammer Eastern Open Tournament.

Wagner smiled for the approximately 200 fans at Country CluLanes on Pulaski Highway.

But moments before Wagner, 30, wasn't smiling.

Wagner has been on the women's professional tour for 12 yearsand her career earnings were only $123,147 going into this year.

The 1981 Miss Washington-USA has worked as a model, flighattendant and color commentator for ESPN to help support her on the tour, even though she ranks 13th on the LPBT career earnings list and has won two tournaments.

"If I had it to do over, I would pick another sport, like golf otennis, unless the rewards get a lot better in bowling," said Wagner, who has lived in Annapolis the past four years after marrying airline pilot Marty Fischbach, who was born and raised in Glen Burnie. "We've devoted so much of our lives to it [bowling] and not reaped the rewards. I believe I have the coordination to play golf or tennis."

So why does Wagner stick with bowling?

"I started bowling very young [age 11], I believed in the sporand I've kept on going," she said. "It [bowling] has gotten better, but we need major corporate sponsorship to get some of the rewards that other athletes get."

The average payday for LPBT tournament first-place finishers i$7,000 to $10,000.

If Wagner were on the pro tennis tour, she most likely coulsurpass her career bowling earnings just by putting her name on a racket.

Wagner is one of the LPBT's cover girls, and she is spokeswoman for a national brewery. But there just isn't a lot of demand for commercials from female bowlers.

"I would never push any of my children [Wagner has 7-month-old son, Ryan] into bowling," said Wagner. "There are too many other opportunities in sports."

Wagner was five months pregnant with Ryan when she won thLPBT Metroplex Open in DeSoto, Texas, last October, becoming only the third expectant mother in LPBT history to win a tournament.

Betty Morris was the first 17 years ago, and Cheryl Robinson wathe second.

"It gave me a new challenge to win while I was pregnant," saiWagner. "You can get bored out here on the tour. Now I want to win as mother."

Wagner was 19th with 3,860 pins entering last night's 24-game match play, where she split her eight matches while having a 5,807 pinfall.

Leanne Barrete averaged 228.6 in the fourth round to take a 14-pointlead,winning six of eight matches to lead Dina Wheeler, 6,115-6,101, after 26 games.

Fourth round 1, Leanne Barrette, Oklahoma City, 6-2, 6,115. 2, Dina Wheeler, Kansas City, 7-1, 6,101. 3, Dana Miller-Mackie, Albuquerque, N.M., 6-2, 5,990. 4, Sue Neidig, Miami, 6-2, 5,962. 5, Tish Johnson, Panorama City, Calif., 5-3, 5,956. 6, Wendy Macpherson, San Diego, 4-4, 5,955. 7, Stacy Rider, La Habra, Calif., 5-3, 5,944. 8, Anne Marie Duggan, Newport News, Va., 4-4, 5,911.

9, Aleta Sill, Dearborn, Mich., 3-5, 5,860. 10, Robin Romeo, Van Nuys, Calif., 5-3, 5,851. 11, Bonnie Joel, Raleigh, N.C., 5-3, 5,837. 12, Leila Wagner, Annapolis, Md., 4-4, 5,807. 13, Diana Davenport, Shreveport, La., 3-5, 5,793. 14, Donna Adamek, Apple Valley, Calif., 3-5, 5,782. 15, Jeri Edwards, Matteson, Ill., 5-3, 5,781. 16, Lori Branham, Buffalo, N.Y., 6-2, 5,756.

17, Karen Ellingsworth, Des Plaines, Ill., 3-5, 5,754. 18, Mary Martha Cerniglia, Springfield, Ill., 2-5-1, 5,721. 19, Holly Cornwell, Ellsworth, Kan., 3-5, 5,691. 20, Sharon Todd, Bowling Green, Ky., 2-6, 5,645. 21, Alayne Blomenberg, Cranston, R.I., 1-6-1, 5,623. 22, Jeanne Maiden, Tacoma, Wash., 1-7, 5,597. 23, Debbie McMullen, Denver, Colo., 3-5, 5,496. 24, Linda Urbanek, Humble, Texas, 3-5, 5,449.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.