Bowling Into History

By Gary Norris Gray
Updated: February 5, 2006
Kim Terrell and George Branham III

Kim Terrell and George Branham III

CALIFORNIA—African American Bowling Wizards Kim Terrell and George Branham III Two African Americans Kim Terrell and George Branham III have made a name for themselves on the National Pro Bowlers Tour. Professional Bowling is a sport that few know or understand. Terrell and Branham have inspired many young African American boys and girls to at least try this very demanding sport. The Bowling Career of Kim Terrell began in the Bay Area. She was only eight years old when she walked on the bowling lanes. When she became a teenager she was multi talented and had grown to five feet and nine inches tall. Her height afforded her this gave the ability to play other sports such as basketball and softball too. Her parents gave her all the support that she needed and they did not push her into any one specific sport. It is stated that her parents told her to just have fun and enjoy the people around her. Ms. Ter! rell took that advice and chose bowling because she wanted to be with her sister at San Jose Sate University.
The San Jose State University Bowling team became a national power with the Terrell sisters; Kim was an All American in 1986 and 1987. It was the first and only time this writer witnessed a 300 game that’s a perfect game in the bowling world. Terrell’s SJSU Spartans beat The University of California Berkeley Golden Bears that night. When Kim turned pro she stated that she missed the high school, college, and Olympic team atmosphere. She loved the fact that everybody would root for you and you always had your school or your team or your country behind you.
Ms. Terrell’s career continued blossom and her star light grew brighter with each passing year. In 1989 She became the LPBA Ladies Professional Bowlers Association, “Rookie of the Year”.
She was a four time WIBC Woman’s International Bowling Conference All-American winner. Ms. Terrell was inducted into the San Francisco Black Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 joining personalities such as Bobby Bonds, Willie Mays, and Debbie Thomas. But the award that makes her smile the most is the two Robby Awards. In 1995 and 1997 She won this award that is given to a bowler who emanates a positive image of women in bowling.
She is currently coaching for the Junior USBC the United States Bowling Congress Team. Because Ms. Terrell loves teaching, she teaches young people the art of Bowling and disciple both on and off the lanes. We are all aware that our youth today need someone to be a mentor. Bowling students need someone to teach them discipline and bowling is a great game to teach discipline because it requires practice and discipline.
Mr. George Branham III Another great bowler and the first African American to ever win a Pro Bowling Title grew up in the Mid-West City of Detroit, Michigan. His short professional career started in the 1983-84 at the ! age of 23.
Mr. Branham was the first African American to ever gain a Professional Bowling Association entry exemption in 1986 and with months won the AC Delco Classic in Chicago.
He learned how to bowl from his father and coach at the age of six. His father said that George had an uncanny ability to pick up his spares at a very young age. Just like Tiger Woods father guided his son in Golf George Branham Jr. guided his son to victory. George understood how the ball curves and why it curves. This amazed his father because most kids usually care less about the physics of bowling. Young George wanted to know more so he went to his local bowling establishment on his own just to watch other bowlers.
In 1987 Mr. Branham participated in Pro Bowlers Championship tournament in Dublin, California. What a thrill for me and the people that who attendant this event. Indeed it was a lasting experience to watch a very young Walter Ray Williams and a young Pa! rker Bone III, future-bowling champions.
The professional bowling career of George Branham III ended in 1997 with the Firestone Classic Championship his tenth victory.