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Lady Bowlers


Today we learn of several lady bowlers who made their mark in the sport. First is Amy Lybeck, who was born on this date in 1916 in Heimdal, and grew up with her eight siblings on her parents’ farm near Maddock.

Amy was an outstanding student, graduating as valedictorian of her class and lettering in track and basketball. She married Earl Lybeck in 1942, and together they raised three children in Fargo.

The special thing about Amy was that you couldn’t keep her down. She loved ballroom dancing, and her two favorite sports were golfing and bowling. Even in her ‘80s, she would often golf 18 holes in the morning and then play another round or two in the afternoon.

But her true addiction was bowling, which she didn’t start until she was past forty. She quickly made up for lost time, sometimes bowling seven days a week – morning, afternoon and evening. In 2002, she was inducted into the Fargo-Moorhead Bowling Hall of Fame.

That same year, another area bowler made news at the Women’s International Bowling Congress Championship in Milwaukee. Nearly 42,000 bowlers competed in the tournament for prizes totaling almost $1.4 million. Kathy Pausch of Moorhead became the national champion in Division 1 singles by rolling a three-game series of 682.

In 1998, another newsworthy bowler, Missy Miller of Bismarck, became the state’s all-time high scorer for women with a three-game series of 846. In fact, Miller also held the nation’s fifth-highest score in a 4-game series at 1,113 points.

North Dakota also holds a couple records under “Statistics and Oddities” in the Bowler’s Encyclopedia, which is used by the U.S. Bowling Congress. In 1979-80, a women’s Bismarck team called “178 Capitol Janitorial” had the distinction of playing a duplicate game – that is, all four members of the team had identical scores in one game.

Also in the “oddities” category are three Bismarck women who grabbed the distinction of winning state titles and also being . . . sisters. Elma Kavonius won the WBA Tournament in 1951 and ‘54; Elna Kanvonius won the championship in ‘56 and ‘59; and sister Helen took the title in ‘62, ‘69 and ‘73.

Written by Merry Helm