We all love major tournament matches that go down to the 10th frame to decide the winner, and this week's BowlTV Vault release provides a classic battle between two very talented Hall of Fame bowlers, DeDe Davidson and Dana Miller-Mackie. The event was staged at Showplace Lanes in Garland, Texas. It was the last tournament of the 1993 Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour (now PWBA) season.

Historian-Blog-Ad-370x355Davidson was the event leader trying to win the U.S. Open title as the No. 1 seed. The leader had won only three times in 13 prior years. Miller-Mackie was fighting to become the first woman to win three U. S. Open titles, and she had won the previous two in 1983 and 1990 from the No. 2 spot . . . so she was in a familiar position on the show that day.

When Miller-Mackie defeated Sandra Jo Shiery in a close semi-final match, many thought she was set up to win the title . . . and when Davidson opened the first and second frames of the championship match, momentum seemed to be clearly on the side of the great player from Albuquerque.

Davidson, however, is a champion who never, never, never gives up . . . and in spite of trailing the entire title match, she finds a way to overcome the tough condition in the final frames. When Dana finds a little trouble at the end, a glimmer of hope shines on DeDe. She steps up onto the approach needing a strike on her first ball in the 10th for the victory, and she delivers.

"The way the game had been going, I thought it might be too late," Davidson said, after striking in the eighth and ninth to set up her final frame.  "Getting that strike to win against Dana was a real high moment for me because I had so much respect for her. We later became roommates for a while. I want to thank her for being such a positive role model in my life. I am blessed to be in the (USBC) Hall of Fame with great players like her."

When a late 10 pin fell on her winning shot, the animated Davidson jumped about three feet off the floor . . . it will be remembered as one of the greatest victory jumps ever.

Davidson also remembered talking with a reporter from Sports Illustrated the night before the show. "She called to interview the top five, and when I told her I would talk to her again tomorrow, she said 'I will be talking with the winner.' I thought that was a good sign." Davidson's parents, who often watched her bowl, could not make it to Texas for this one, but she did have her best friend Maria there to cheer her on.

For Dana, it was a tough loss, but she was comforted by her husband Steve, her dad Gary and niece Adrianne, who idolized her dad Mike Miller and her aunt Dana. She sported a glittery pair of suspenders on the show that day to match the ones worn by Dana. A few years later, Adrianne went on to become a star collegiate bowler for the University of Nebraska.

Faces in the crowd are always great to see on these classic videos. This one featured Showplace Lanes owner Eric Nelson, GM Randy Little, and BPAA officials Chief Wapensky, Bill Blue, and a very spry John LaSpina presenting the check to the new champion. These days, John is collecting checks as the chairman of the BVL.

The Historian