June 15, 2006 -- When most people think of bowling, they think of bad shirts, bad shoes and guys in bad shape.
Kelly Kulick is in great shape, and she isn't a guy. She's the first woman to qualify for the Professional Bowlers Association Tour, and because of that, she automatically earns a slot in 20 tournaments starting in October.
"It will be weird to see 63 men to my right and left and be the only woman out there, but it is a challenge I am willing to face," she said.
When it comes to bowling, men do have a slight advantage, because they tend to be stronger.
"When you throw it harder, the pins move a little faster and … with pins flying around it may [be] the difference between making a shot or going home," said U.S. Bowling Congress CEO Roger Dalkin.
Kulick, 29, has experience being surrounded by guys. She's worked part-time in her father's New Jersey auto body shop since she was in college.
In that environment, she's earned total respect. One worker, Antonio Carrera, called her "dynamite" but said he wouldn't bowl against her, because she would win.
As she joins the PBA, she said the men welcome her because they've watched her earn a spot on the tour.
"I belong out there, I really belong out on the tour," Kulick said.
If she wins a big event she can take home up to $100,000 as compared to just $40,000 for the women's tournaments.
And Kulick makes it clear she isn't satisfied with simply being the first woman to make the tour. She wants to be the first woman to win.