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Van Buren Becomes Oldest Touring Professional in WPBA
Apr 28, 2006, 10:05 AM

Ellen Van Buren played her first professional event in 1976, finishing third in the World Open. On April 22, 2006, 30 years later, Van Buren achieved the goal she has been working towards since 2003, becoming a touring professional in the Women's Professional Billiard Association, and making history on the way, as the oldest female ever to earn this sought-after distinction.

While Van Buren had her first taste of victory at the ripe old age of 17, she gave up professional pool to follow a more conventional path. "I really just thought the girls must not have played very good. I didnít know. So I quit, I did school, I did career, and then I retired when I was 43. I had started playing pool again a couple years before that, so I actually came back to the game when I was 41. Two years later, I decided to try and make it here on the WPBA," she said.

For the past three years, Van Buren has been playing regional tours to gain qualifiers for WPBA events, and trying to make a name for herself as "The Florida Flash." While gaining the touring pro status was her main focus, she says the most important thing to her is to have a good time. "Out there, thereís no pressure on me. Iím not paying my house bill, Iím not paying my car note, Iím realizing a childhood dream. So how could I not be happy? Win or lose."

Check out Van Buren's "player diary" at www.wpba.com.