Sadly, our bowling family lost one of its staunchest supporters. Melba Bennett, a greater Killeen-Fort Hood USBC Hall of Famer, passed away June 30.
Bennett was born in 1919 and raised at Camp Hood and started bowling in what was an old Army barracks with six lanes. In 1957, she went to Germany with her military husband and started bowling clinics for junior bowlers and became a certified coach. Upon her return to Fort Hood, she began bowling at Bowlers Green and formed the Fort Hood NCO Wives League and was instrumental in forming the local 600 Club.
In 1973, she formed the Fort Hood Women's Invitational Tournament and ran it until 1985, when she relinquished the director position to Dorothy Smith.
The invitational drew teams from San Angelo, San Antonio, Waco, Temple, Austin and Giddings. Bennett had many photo albums showing the history of the tournament and many newspaper clippings of the event's coverage. She loved the sport and loved the people involved with it.
Bennett is survived by two daughters, Karen and Kitty, and two sons, Robert and George. She was preceded in death by her husband Dick.
Funeral services are pending.
We also lost Dr. Joy Morgan, wife of George Morgan, who died June 27 at her residence. Dr. Joy, as everyone called her, was an avid bowler who participated in the senior leagues at Phantom Warrior Lanes and Killeen Bowlerama with her husband. Health problems brought an end to her bowling, but she was always there to cheer on her husband and her team. She was always laughing and smiling and had kind words for everyone she met.
Funeral services are pending with Chisolm's Family Funeral Home in Killeen.
The Professional Bowlers Association announced a much larger schedule for the 2012-2013 season.
The upcoming 55th annual PBA Tour season will be longer. The number of titles up for grabs will be greater. The fields will be larger. Even the length of many TV shows will be increased.
The PBA's historic 2012-13 campaign will run from November's PBA World Series of Bowling IV at South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas through December 2013 and include up to 40 opportunities to win PBA Tour titles.
The PBA schedule will include two World Series of Bowling, five major championships, new Winter and Summer Swing open events with multiple titles at stake, and an estimated 15 World Bowling Tour stops that will award tour titles if won by PBA members.
Approximately 50 hours of action will be televised nationally during the season. Ten of the scheduled nationally-televised shows have been increased from 90 minutes to two hours, which means the USBC Masters and PBA Tournament of Champions, among others, will feature five-player stepladder finals instead of four.
PBA Commissioner Tom Clark said the 14-month season will also mean a move toward a regular calendar-year PBA season starting in January 2014.
PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. made a bid to become the favorite for 2012 Senior Player of the Year honors by winning the PBA Senior Northern California Classic.
Williams amazes me at 50-plus years of age to be as competitive as he is. There are a lot of seniors I bowl with who are a lot older who readily admit there is no way they could bowl the number of games he does and be that consistent. He's still winning against the younger players on the national tour and now he's taking it to the senior tour.
With the Killeen Open only six weeks away, Josh Maxson won the PBA qualifier held on June 30 at Hallmark Lanes. Maxson bested Mark Morgan by only 10 pins. Sandi Charles started with a 279, leaving a solid 9-pin in the 10th frame.
Others who cashed were Amanda Greenlaw, Eric Torres, Ryan Turek, and Russell Brown. Torres and Turek are both from Austin.
See you on the lanes.