Let bowling help pay for college

College is a big decision and can be financially straining. Today most college graduates graduate college with an excess of $27,000 and up in student loans.

Today there are many scholarships available, but many people do not know that local youth bowlers are eligible to win and accumulate bowling scholarships that could help contribute towards their advanced education.  Additionally, there are many schools that recruit youth bowlers for athletic scholarships, similar to football or basketball.

Did you know that the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has developed a scholarship program called Scholarships Management and Accounting Reports for Tenpins (SMART)?  This has allowed youth to be able to start earning scholarship money as early as 5 years old.

All scholarship money is kept in the SMART account and can accumulate from 5 years old until graduation from high school.  After graduation students have 8 years to use the funds towards any advanced education (trade, associate, bachelors, etc.).  The 8 year limit is extended to 20 years if the student decides to serve a branch of the military.

Tournaments have a scholarship awards for prizes and are based on performance.  Youth can start participating for scholarships as young as 5 years old until senior year of high school.

Youth tournaments have different formats, but most are bracketed based on either age or average and typically have a boys and girls bracket as well as handicap or scratch division. There is approximately $3,000+ available in scholarship money yearly from National, state, and local tournaments.

Some of the tournaments available to gain scholarship money are:

  • Local – Jr Ringin 10 ($500 scholarship/division winner), High School League ($50 scholarship)
  • State – Junior state tournament, Pepsi qualifying, Family Tournament, Master & Masterette ($300 scholarship/division winner), Junior Traveling League (minimum $250 at finals + some scholarship money at each tournament stop)
  • Nationals – Junior Nationals, Pepsi Regional and Nationals, Family Tournament Regional and Nationals

Tournaments noted above only have the top place scholarships shown; in most cases the top ¼ to ½ of the field receives a scholarship.  Tournaments generally range from $30-$35 for entry into the tournament.

Some tournaments are family based, where youth can bowl with an adult family member to earn scholarships. Qualifying is generally locally, then state, then regional, then national.

Advancement from local to national is performance based.  Local youth bowlers earned approximately $2,500 in scholarships from participating in tournaments last year.

During the students youth bowling career there are many traditional scholarships (essay, application, academic and performance based criteria) that are available that total to approximately $10,000-12,000 eligible to be awarded.  These scholarships are available at a local, state, national level.

The following is a summary of possible traditional type scholarships that are available – shown is the level, quantity, name of scholarship, male or female, amount, and minimum grade level to apply for the scholarships.

  • National – 1 Alberta E. Crowe Star of Tomorrow (girl) $6,000 – Senior in High School
  • National – 1 Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow (boy) $6,000.00 – Senior in High School
  • National – 2 USBC Youth Ambassador (Boy/Girl) $1,500 – No Age Requirements
  • National – 5 USBC Earl Anthony Memorial Scholarship (boy or girl) $5,000 – Senior in High School
  • National – 1 USBC Annual Zeb Scholarship (boy or girl) $2,500 – Junior in High School
  • National – 12 USBC Gift for Life Scholarships (boy or girl) $1,000 – Freshman in High School
  • State – 2 MUSBC Youth (1 boy & 1 girl) $1,000/ea – Senior in High School
  • State – 1 MUSBC (boy or girl) $1,000/ea – Senior in High School
  • State – 2 MUSBC Harvey L Pierce (boys) – 1 @ $750 / 1 @ $500 – Senior in High School
  • State – 2 MUSBC Isabel Cummings (girls) – 1 @ $750 / 1 @ $500 – Senior in High School
  • State – 2 Montana Bowling Proprietors/Steve Ryan memorial (boy & girl) – $500/ea – Senior in High School
  • State – 2 Montana Bowling Proprietors/Gary Gerhardt Memorial Scholarship (boy & girl) – $500/ea – Senior in High School
  • Local – 2 Butte USBC Scholarship (boy & girl) – $350/ea – Senior in High School

NOTE: National Scholarships have a deadline of December 1 each year.

As the youth earns scholarship money, it is kept in a SMART account for that youth bowler and is kept there until the youth is ready to access the account for schooling, up to 8 years after graduation.

The SMART account is similar to a savings account, but can only be used for school.  Accounts can be accessed by the account owner at anytime to see funds. When the student decides which school they will be attending they send a request to SMART.  The student doesn’t handle money or checks it is all done electronically between the SMART system and the school.

For more information about local bowling and tournaments visit ButteUSBC.com

For more information about scholarships contact Debbie Martinich at director.martinich@yahoo.com or Keith Meagor at kmeagor@gmail.com

— Submitted by Keith Meagor



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