Roanoke Valley USBC Women’s Bowling Association
The Roanoke Valley USBC Women’s Bowling Association was formed under the guidance of the Women’s International Bowling Congress on September 22, 1952. The original name was Salem Women’s Bowling Association, since the only center in the area was Sisson Lanes in Salem, Virginia. The association was the third in the state to be chartered by W.I.B.C., behind the Washington DC Area and Hampton Women’s Bowling Associations.Games of tenpin were bowled at Sisson Lanes in Salem, Virginia, adjoining Lees McVitty Plant (now the site of a shopping center on West Main Street).
The first local association tournament was held in 1954, and a local association tournament has been held each year since. 2003 was the 50th annual tournament. No records exist to show the number of entrants in the first tournament, but the largest tournaments were held during the middle eighties and consisted of over 150 teams. Our membership during the middle eighties was approximately 4400 members, but has dropped over the past few years like the membership of all bowling associations has dropped throughout the nation.
During 1957, the members thought a state association would be beneficial to the bowlers in the state. Through the help of the national organization (W.I.B.C.) they contacted the other associations throughout the state (including one in Maryland, adjoining the Washington DC Area WBA). A meeting of all the associations in the state was held at an old abandoned service station in Salem, and the state organization was then formed. Our local association (which had by then changed its name to Roanoke Valley WBA) was very instrumental in the formation of the state association and its state tournament, having both the first meeting in 1957 and the first tournament in 1958. That first tournament consisted of about 12 teams and a few doubles and singles. The R.V.W.B.A. produced the first state president in 1957 (Georgia Sisson) and two of the state secretaries in those formative years were from the R.V.W.B.A. (Marie Mowles and Ann St. Hilaire). The previous state secretary, Diane Wimmer, was also a member of the R.V.W.B.A.
During the late fifties and early sixties, the Roanoke Valley’s bowling centers increased in number from the one center in Salem to its highest count of six centers. One each is located in Salem, Vinton, Rocky Mount and Roanoke County, and two were located in Roanoke City. With the closing of AMF All Star Lanes in the Fall of 1998 and Viking Lanes in the Summer of 2000, the count is back down to four centers.
Over the course of the past fifty years, the Roanoke Valley USBC WBA has held annual tournaments, held workshops for its league officers each fall, held annual meetings for its entire membership and initiated a Hall of Fame to homor its members for their bowling achievements and meritorious service. Since 1990, twenty-six members have been honored by induction into the Roanoke Valley USBC WBA Hall of Fame. The Roanoke Valley USBC WBA has hosted eight state tournaments.
An awards program is a very vital part of our association. Annually we award the member with the highest winter league average, summer league average, game and series during the fiscal year. In addition, members rolling 75 pins over their average in a single game, first 500 series (135 average and under), first 600 series (170 average and under) and first 700 series (any average) are awarded pins. These awards are given each five years, so a member can earn the awards at five-year intervals. Also our tournament winners (handicap team/doubles/singles/all-events and scratch all-events) receive awards for their achievements. In addition, monetary prizes are given depending upon the number of entries in the tournament.
Another first was recorded when the Roanoke Valley USBC WBA had one of the earliest bowling association pages on the World Wide Web. The page was started in 1995, and included a listing of the Board of Directors, results for the Annual Tournaments, League Listings, Center Listings and links to other bowling sites. This page was used by other associations as a template for creating their own Web pages.
In the year 2002, the Roanoke Valley USBC WBA celebrated its 50th year; in 2006 it was rechartered under its present name due to the merger of ABC/WIBC/YABA into the USBC. At the end of July 2008, it ceased to exist as a separate association, as it was merged with the men and youth into the Greater Roanoke Area USBC.