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Beat the Champs: Kelly Kulick ties record for appearances among women

Kelly Kulick Pete Weber bowled target scores together once before 2004. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Kelly Kulick and Pete Weber bowled the target scores together once before, in 2004. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Target pros: Pete Weber and Kelly Kulick.

Target broadcast: 10 a.m. Dec. 25, CSN.

Sectionals: In February (results of contest are being tabulated; qualifiers will be notified).

Top prize: A new Ford automobile for the men’s and women’s champion in March.

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Updated: December 20, 2012 5:37PM

Kelly Kulick gets Beat the Champs.

She should, considering she is bowling the target scores for the charity bowling event for a fourth time (2004, 2006, 2010, 2012), tying her with Dotty Fothergill (1968, 1969, 1972, 1973) for the most appearances among women.

‘‘It is so jolly, the perfect time of the year to do it,’’ Kulick said. ‘‘You get to see a side of the players you don’t normally see.’’

The target show for the 52nd annual BTC will be broadcast at 10 a.m. Dec. 25 on Comcast SportsNet.

‘‘It is very much an honor, very much a family reunion,’’ Kulick said. ‘‘It is such a friendly atmosphere. It is like coming home. It is fun to be jovial with the crowd.’’

Of course being invited to set the target scores for BTC means the bowler has won the U.S. Open. Both U.S. Open winners — Kulick and Pete Weber — will set the target score for their fourth time and their second time together. They also set the scores in 2004.

‘‘I outweigh him by 30 pounds, and I can probably out-bench press him,’’ said Kulick with a wide smile. ‘‘I adore Pete. He is always respectful to me.’’

There’s some background there.

With the demise of the women’s pro tour, women scrambled to find avenues to bowl professionally. Kulick, who does the books for her dad’s auto-body shop in New Jersey when not bowling, turned to the Professional Bowlers Association. In 2010, she made history when she became the first woman to win a PBA event with her victory in the Tournament of Champions.

‘‘Losing to the guys always pisses me off,’’ she said. ‘‘I don’t like losing.’’

In her first three times at BTC, the men have bowled a higher series: Weber with 684-674 in 2004, Tommy Jones with 689-636 in 2006 and Bill O’Neill with 747-696 in 2010.

‘‘Honestly, I have tried to set a high score the first three times,’’ she said. ‘‘Because of this being the fourth time, I will have a more relaxed approach and see if that works.’’

There’s fun in the target show. But underlying it all is the seriousness of the charity commitment of BTC. In the first 51 years the Sun-Times and the Chicagoland Bowling Proprietors Association have co-sponsored BTC, 5,657,412 entries raised $2,783,374.87 for charity.

‘‘The fact the BPA is behind it says a lot for the administrators and league officials,’’ she said.

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