Marilyn “Sis” Fronk not only won her first state bowling title at age 82, she crushed the field in the process.
Fronk’s 787 series won the USBC Nevada State Women’s Division 2 Singles Championship by 44 pins at the Pahrump Nugget Bowling Center. To put that in perspective, there were 20 bowlers who finished within 44 pins of second place.
And Fronk bowled his fourth, fifth and sixth games of the day.
“We had played three doubles matches before, and that was three singles matches coming up,” said Fronk, who teamed up with Janet Hansen to place 10th in the Division 2 doubles competition. “Usually , you start to tire, but I felt really good that day. “
The 25-year-old Pahrump resident said she has been playing the state tournament for 20 years.
“We have put money in several times,” she said. “It’s the first time I’ve been in first place.
And she beat 62 other bowlers to come in first place. Division 2 is for bowlers with averages of 154 and below, and handicaps are used during competition. The doubles division 2 featured tandems with a combined average of less than 309.
Fronk’s total fall of 2,128 was good for eighth place in the Division 2 All Events category.
A native of Williamsport, Pa., Fronk said she has been bowling for 60 years.
“It was a whole different kind of atmosphere then,” she said of women’s bowling. “We kept our own scores, we took care of everything ourselves. “
But bowling was also a way to get things done together during the early years of her marriage to husband Jack.
“I started because my husband was in the Navy and we traveled a lot, and it was something we did together as a family,” Fronk said.
These days you would need a good sized bowling alley for the whole family to play together. Fronk, whose eldest died in 2007, said she had six children who together had nine grandchildren who combined for 13 great-grandchildren. “They are scattered all over the place, but two live in Pahrump,” she said, noting that four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren live nearby.
“They all bowled at the same time, but I don’t think they are playing as much as they used to be,” she said of her family.
The Fronks knew southern Nevada when they lived in San Diego, and they moved to Las Vegas when Jack transferred there. They lived there for 18 years before moving to Pahrump, and Jack Fronk retired after 24 years in the Navy.
“Twenty-five years ago you talk about a much smaller area,” Fronk said, but she noted, pointing to the alleys, “It was here.”
Fronk plays in a Friday league these days, and she plans to play in a Wednesday league in the fall. She also competes in the Pahrump Valley Tournament Bowling Club and Pahrump Valley 500 Club events, but in general, she averages one trip to the Nugget trails each week.
“I am my husband’s babysitter,” she said, as Jack Fronk has mobility issues. “It’s better that I’m home often.”
But bowling is a happy place for her.
“They’re all great,” she says of the other bowlers. “We always have a good time, a lot of laughs. “