Smith of Lock Haven had a chance to exercise her skills at Baden Bowl over the weekend during the team category of the Pennsylvania State USBC Women's Bowling Association Championship.
“I actually did well. Well, above average. That's the goal," Smith said.
Donna Manganello, who has owned Baden Bowl off Route 65 with her husband for 25 years, said this is the first time in history the state championship is being held in western Pennsylvania.
“It really is actually pretty exciting,” Manganello said. "They usually have it out in Reading, Lancaster, places like that, but they try to change it around.”
Manganello said she knew about the tournament four years ago, when the bowling association contacted Baden Bowl in advance about hosting at their location.
"It's quite serious. You have to sign a contract and agree to a lot of different things. We've been preparing for four years, doing a little bit to make the bowling alley look a little better," she said.
The 76th annual tournament, which amounts to seven weeks, started in April and wraps up in June.
Each weekend bowlers come from all over the state to compete on 24 reserved lanes at Baden Bowl. Over the weekend, there were 142 teams each consisting of four people, including members of the Beaver County Women's Bowling Association.
"This is our first time hosting state tournament," said Jenny Fletcher, director of the Beaver County Women’s Bowling Association, a more than 60-year-old organization with 12 board members.
She said the past weekend was the largest of the tournament, with the oldest bowler being 93 years old. The doubles and singles events are being held at Sim's Bowling Lanes in Beaver Falls.
Kris Powell, vice president of the Beaver County Women’s Bowling Association said the tournament will be in Allentown in 2015 and Butler in 2016.
"There are a lot of people from Beaver County who have not traditionally traveled to states, but are bowling in the tournament because it is here," said Powell, who was inducted in the Beaver County Bowling Hall of Fame in 2009 and into the Pennsylvania Bowling Hall of Fame last year for meritorious service. She has served on the association board since 1988.
The women from the local bowling association suggested that any woman who is interested in bowling join a sanctioned league at any of the houses, such as Baden Bowl or Sheffield Lanes, and pay the fee. This automatically makes the person a member of the Beaver County and state bowling associations, which means the woman can establish an average and start entering tournaments.
In addition to long-lasting friendships, the board members said the sport is beneficial for one's physical health.
"It’s a fading sport and it’s a healthy sport," said Pat Pietroboni of Aliquippa, sergeant at arms of the group. "If you bowl three days, you've walked one mile, so this is athletic and its fun.
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