Shortly after releasing her last ball in the 10th frame Saturday, Cora Fiebig turned around, ran toward the crowd, and embraced her husband, Ted. Tears flowed freely as Fiebig, 51, celebrated her victory in the 26th annual Queens bowling tournament at the New Kona Lanes in Costa Mesa.
Fiebig, who had never before won a Women's International Bowling Congress event, defeated Barbara Thorberg to capture one of the most prestigious titles in women's bowling, and earned $7,000. Thorberg received $4,000 for second place.
"I'm numb," Fiebig said. "I don't know what to feel, but I love it. I got a lot of breaks, and I just kept telling myself to relax and think about the pins, not the quality of the other players."
Fiebig advanced to the final by defeating Cindy Schuble, 191-189; Betty Morris-Simon, 194-186, and four-time bowler of the year Donna Adamek, 231-224. In her second-round match against Morris-Simon, Fiebig fell behind early, then threw four consecutive strikes in the ninth and 10th frames to take the lead. Morris-Simon had one last chance to win the game in the final frame, but failed to get a spare and the seven pins she needed.
In the championship, Fiebig faced Thorberg, who received a bye into the final because she had the tournament's best overall record. With the crowd cheering wildly each time Fiebig had a strike or spare, she defeated Thorberg, 223-177.
"The crowd was great," Fiebig said. "I had more gray-haired, older ladies support me today than I ever had before."
Said Thorberg: "I didn't bowl real well, so I didn't give her anything to be nervous about. The crowd really had her pumped up."
Adamek received $3,000 for third place, Morris-Simon (fourth) earned $2,500, and Schuble (fifth) made $2,000.
Fiebig, who didn't begin bowling competitively until she was 26, said she hasn't decided when she will retire.
"I can't put a time limit on it," she said. "A lot of bowlers start when they are 5 or 6, and get burnt out by the time they are 30. This is probably the most prestigious tournament you can win, so I'm just going to enjoy it."