Iowa bowler celebrates milestone alongside family at USBC Women's Championships

By Christian Seaborn
USBC Communications

- Fran Smith of Marshalltown, Iowa, was surrounded by a dozen family members - all bowlers - as she celebrated her 50th appearance Thursday at the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships.

The 81-year-old was welcomed into the tournament's 50-Year Club at Northrock Lanes with a chevron, plaque and commemorative necklace to recognize her longevity at the event.

Smith made her debut at the USBC Women's Championships in 1968 in San Antonio, and she has visited 32 cities and 23 states throughout her career.

Bowling was a huge part of her life long before her first Women's Championships appearance, though.

"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 induction to the Marshall County USBC WBA Hall of Fame, and her dedication to the Women's Championships is matched by few after a health scare in September of 2016.

"Some of you know, 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."

In her 50th appearance, Smith rolled sets of 344 in singles, 261 in doubles and 255 in team.

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