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For Bowlers, a ‘Class Reunion’ : WIBC’s Annual Meeting, Mixing Business With Pleasure, Will Focus on Major Recruitment Push

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

If Helen Baker has her way, the Women’s International Bowling Congress meeting, to be held today through Wednesday at the Anaheim Convention Center, will be as much a social event as it will be a business meeting.

Odds are, Baker will get her way. After all, she is president of the 3.7-million-member organization that has sent 3,500 members to the annual meeting this week. The meeting is being held in conjunction with the ongoing WIBC championship tournament in Tustin and Costa Mesa.

Despite a busy agenda, Baker sees the meeting as a chance for WIBC members to renew old acquaintances, make new friends and, in general, promote the sport as a community activity.

“It’s more for business purposes, yes, but we still treat it like a class reunion,” Baker said. “You can mix the two. The delegates and members who meet here will adopt the rules by which everybody else will play.”

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On the business agenda:

- Elections will be held for first, fourth and seventh vice president, along with six directorships of the WIBC.

- There will be consideration of 22 proposed amendments, ranging from increasing dues at local and state levels to allowing members to belong to more than one organization at those levels. Now, WIBC bowlers may belong to only one local and state affiliate to prevent the better bowlers from dominating several tournaments.

- The 1990 championship tournament and meeting will be awarded either to Las Vegas or to Tampa; the tournament and meeting always are held together.

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- Workshops will be held to help delegates plan and promote tournaments at the local level.

- Three women will be inducted into the Hall of Fame--Cora Porter of Franklin, Tenn., and Freda Botkin of Tucson, Ariz., for Meritorious Service, and Pat Costello of St. Helena, Calif., for Superior Performance.

“We’re also working very hard to get into the 1988 Olympics (as an exhibition sport),” Baker said. “We should know very soon.”

According to Baker, all these issues are important, but her overriding concern will still be the recruitment of new members. Four years ago the WIBC was at its peak with 4.2 million members, but membership has declined to 3.7 million.

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“When the economy first started going down about 1982 it affected our sport much more so than most others,” Baker said. “We rely a lot on women’s daytime leagues and we found that many of our women had to quit bowling because they had to get jobs to help support the family.

“That’s why we’re going to unveil a special program Tuesday afternoon designed to recruit new members and bring back those who have dropped out.”


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