Smith celebrates 50 years on the lanes

PHOTO PROVIDED - Fran Smith was recently honored by the United States Bowling Congress after making her 50th appearance in the women’s championships.

WICHITA, Kan. — Fran Smith, an 81-year-old Marshalltown woman, was recently honored by the United States Bowling Congress after making her 50th appearance at their women’s championships.

Smith was presented with a chevron, plaque and commemorative necklace to recognize her longevity at the event at Northrock Lanes in Wichita, Kan., on May 9.

Her debut in the women’s championships was in 1968 in San Antonio, Texas, and she has visited 32 cities and 23 states throughout her bowling career.

“I was bowling in high school,” Smith said. “My boyfriend, who would become my husband, was a pinsetter at the bowling center.”

One of Smith’s children, Robin Harrison, joined her on the lanes for her milestone appearance. Harrison was recognized as well for making her 30th tournament appearance.

Smith’s dedication to the sport has earned her an induction to the Marshall County USBC WBA Hall of Fame, and she has overcome physical adversity to continue competing as well.

“Three years ago I suffered a stroke,” Smith said. “Do not let such a little thing as a stroke ever stop you from bowling. I’m excited to celebrate this milestone. It’s fantastic. I want to thank all of the wonderful bowling centers that continue to make bowling available for young people.”