TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — The bowling alley is a great place to have fun, relax, and blow off steam, but for a Utahn, it’s also the secret of youth.
Despite her age, 94-year-old bowler June Jackman gets strikes and spares every week
The parking lot at Taylorsville’s Valley Lanes gets a little busier on Tuesday nights when Utah’s oldest bowling league meets to knock down a few pins. However, Jackman is the queen of them all as the sport is right up her alley.
“I’ve had a good life, but I love ball and have been since I was about eight years old,” said Jackman.
Jackman’s sons say their mom loves the sport and he loves her right back.
“She’s a strong woman and coming here and doing that every week, I think that keeps her going,” said Doug Jackman.
As a player who is often the star of her team, June is timid about her exact age.
“Well I told them I was over 90, I forgot. You’ll have to ask someone,” jokes June.
Jackman’s Bowling Jones started her very first job a long time ago.
“I think I was about 10 and setting the pins; they didn’t have an automatic pin setter,” she recalls. “That’s how we made our money and then we’d have to pick up these heavy pins, you know, and put them where they belong.”
When Jackman started, there were barriers she had to break down.
“At first only the men could bowl, and then they decided that when the men weren’t using the lane, we kids could use it, so we did that,” Jackman said.
Very quickly, training in bowling turned into love for June.
“There would be tournaments that I would enter,” she shared. “I never really won that much. But it was just bowling, bowling made me my absolute favourite.”
Bowling became a family affair when June brought her firstborn Steve to the lanes so she could continue her passion, a tradition that lived on with all her children and further down the family tree.
“I’m probably the worst bowler on the team,” said June’s granddaughter, Alyson Johansen.
“I’m glad they like it because it’s something I’ve always liked and I like it when they like something I like,” June said.
Now, following in June’s footsteps, several and their grandchildren have several teams of their own that compete every Tuesday.
“That’s pretty much once in a lifetime, I guess,” Brad said. “Especially with my mom it’s great, I love it.”
“Life is special and you never know what’s going to happen, so it’s great to be able to share that experience,” ALyson said.
Even the league president enjoys having June around. He’s no slouch and is quick to respond to a question he’s often asked.
“I don’t want to talk about that,” replies Brent Michaelson when asked how often June hits him.
As a favorite part of the game that has brought her so much joy over the years, June has a simple answer: got a strike. Something she hopes will continue for a few more years.
“I’ve made it this far, I might as well make it a little bit longer, maybe,” June said. “I like to see something I can achieve. I used to be better, but let’s say it’s getting old.
“Growing old gracefully. I’m trying.”