Elsie, 77, a graduate of Grand Meadow High School, began bowling at around the same time she moved to Marcus in 1950.
It didn't take too long for bowling to "kind of get in (Elsie's) blood," to use her own words, and just a few short years after she started her kegling career, Elsie qualified for the "Big Bowl" television show in the winter of 1961-62. This was a show which, some of you may remember, was televised on Channel 9 - whose call letters were KVTV back then - on winter Sundays at noon, and was hosted by the late Siouxland Sports sportscasting icon, Gene Sherman.
Elsie beat out 32 other women to qualify for the show that year, bowling a 195-195-192-206 (788) series to qualify. She won her first televised match that year, but lost in the second round.
Undaunted, Elsie tried again in 1962-63, and led the field of 43 entries that year, bowling an 820 series (198-234-184-204) to qualify. In that winter's televised competition, Elsie made it all the way to the finals before losing the final match by just three pins, 554-551, when her opponent picked up the 6-7-10 split twice in the last game. For the nine lines in the tournament, Elsie knocked down 1674 pins to the champion's 1675.
Elsie has never bowled a 300 game in her long career, but has reached her high score of 279 on several occasions. From 1984 to 1986, she maintained a 181 average in a league in LeMars.
Though she has done her bowling primarily at her hometown Marcus Lanes, Elsie also bowled in a Mixed League at the Cherokee Bowl several years ago, and has bowled in LeMars leagues as well.
Gary Husman, the owner of Marcus Lanes, saw some of Slagter's scores from over the years and forwarded her name to the Iowa State USBC Women's Bowling Association for consideration for their Hall of Fame, and the rest, as they say, is history. Although she initially thought that the call from the ISUBCWBA in March of this year was a joke, or a telemarketer, Elsie was soon convinced that it was no joke, and that her performances on the bowling lanes had earned her this honor.
The Hall of Fame induction took place on April 4 in Cedar Rapids, with the other two 2009 inductees being Cynthia Cottrell of Dubuque and Susan Strasburger of Solon. Accompanying Elsie to Cedar Rapids for the induction were her proud daughters, Trudy and Valerie.
Elsie sums up decision to choose bowling as her preferred form of recreation very succintly:
"If you go out to golf, you have to wait until the people ahead of you are done. You wait and wait. When I want to bowl, I go down and I know the lane is waiting for me," Slagter said.
Congratulations, Elsie. May your lane be waiting for you for many years to come.