A group of lake area bowlers who participate in weekly leagues at Westside Lanes in Laurie have been making some noise at the state level and are not showing any signs of slowing down.

The ladies of the “Westside” have not had any trouble knocking down the pins recently.

A group of lake area bowlers who participate in weekly leagues at Westside Lanes in Laurie have been making some noise at the state level and are not showing any signs of slowing down.

Sharon McDowell and Lulu Zlateff recently won all the events (singles, doubles and team) in their age divisions at the Missouri State Senior Championship in Jefferson City, Sharon’s daughter Regie McDowell Mitchell won the singles title in her division at the Missouri State USBC (United States Bowling Congress) Tournament in St. Charles and a couple of teams from the Laurie USBC enjoyed success at the state tournament as well.

Becky Johnson, Lisa Buhrman, Dee Dee Pierson and Debbie Mabrey make up “Deb’s Rowdy Girls” and placed seventh out of 214 teams in their division at St. Charles while “Sterling N’ Stones”, comprising of team members Wanda Hontz, Zlateff McDowell and Mitchell, won their 163-team division. Not to mention, that their team score of 2,735 broke the all-time high record series for a four-member handicap team.

A pretty solid resume to say the least.

McDowell and her husband Ron retired to the lake four years ago and after going 19 years without picking up a bowling ball, Ron suggested that she should get back to enjoying the game she has loved playing for more than 30 years. It was a decision McDowell is glad she made.

“He pushed me into it and I have been bowling two years down here. I like these ladies a lot and they have really made me feel welcome and part of the group,” McDowell said. “We get along very well, have similar backgrounds and everybody on the team is there to bowl. They are not there to drink, smoke or whatever. We are serious bowlers and we want to bowl well.”

That is exactly what they have done and for McDowell, bowling success seems to run in the family. Her mother Virginia Knight is in the Kansas Hall of Fame and was the first woman to bowl a 700 series in the state.

“I started bowling when I was 17 and the reason I did is because my mother was a very, very good bowler,” she recalled. “She just passed it on to me as I passed it on to my kids.”

McDowell has seen plenty of success herself winning state titles in both Kansas and Missouri and she is also in the Kansas Hall of Fame as well as the Wy-Jon Hall of Fame in Wyandotte County, Kan. McDowell, her mother and her daughters also won a city tournament in Kansas City and according to McDowell, it was the first time three generations have ever won a team event in the area.

“That was just phenomenal. Grandma, mother and daughters- three generations doing so well. I cannot forget that and it was probably the highlight of my career,” she noted.

However, McDowell did not hesitate to express how much she has enjoyed bowling with her teammates at the lake either with the state team title in St. Charles being the first she has had the privilege to enjoy through all her years of bowling.

“It is a great honor to win that team event because in a tournament there is no tomorrow. You cannot come back and bowl again,” McDowell said. “You are just going to have that day to bowl and every one of the team members has to be on and bowling over their average and we did. We bowled spectacularly.”

One of those team members who had a great day was Mitchell who bowled her first 700 series and nearly bowled a perfect 300 game after putting up a score of 276.

“I was very excited because I was bowling with my daughter who just started bowling two years ago. She was an inspiration to the rest of us and we just started rolling with her and going with the flow,” McDowell remarked.

Now, the group wants to grow their numbers and share their success with others. The First Laurie Lanes Ladies League began in 1979 with about 40 bowlers and the numbers have stayed fairly consistent with as many as 60 bowlers participating this year. McDowell said they are planning to have a bowling clinic on May 19 at 1 p.m., for any ladies who may be interested and about 20 have already signed up so far. Missouri State Association Manager Shawn Flattery is scheduled to be in attendance and will help provide some instruction.

“I think this is really going to help everybody and get a lot of enthusiasm going,” McDowell said. “The ladies want to bowl well, but there has not really been anybody to help them with their bowling so I hope they do good. We can all stand to improve.”

Indeed, McDowell and Zlateff will be doing everything they can to sharpen up their craft before representing the state of Missouri at nationals in June at Baton Rouge, La., and the Senior National Tournament in Las Vegas this August. However, confidence should not be an issue.

“When I was bowling back in the day I was at national tournaments, but this is a singles event. There is no team and no doubles so you are out there on your own,” McDowell stated. “I’m looking forward to winning and I have set my mind to it that I am going to win it.”

Whatever the future may hold, one thing for certain is that McDowell and her fellow bowlers of the “Westside” will continue to enjoy their time at the lanes together and create memories of knocking down pins that will not soon be forgotten.

“I bowl with Jodie (Calvert) and she is 82 so I hope that I am bowling at 82,” McDowell said with a smile.