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David Walsh: Bowlers from all 50 states descend on Reno for USBC

Mar. 10, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Bowling's big show, the 2013 USBC Open Championships, started March 1 as the first of more than 10,500 teams took to the lanes at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. The tournament will run through June 29.

This is the 11th time, a record, the USBC Open Champions has called "The Biggest Little City in the World" home. It's the eighth time the tournament has been inside the National Bowling Stadium. More than 400 bowlers and fans helped usher in the 110th edition of this event.

Opening-night festivities included a ceremonial ribbon cutting, traditional Mass Ball Shot, exhibition by the cast of "Magique," a show being held at the Eldorado Hotel Casino and the crowning of Michael Mariani of Havre, Mont., as "Joe Bowler" for 2013. The right-hander, 61, was selected randomly from the opening squad and threw out the ceremonial first ball. That tradition began in 1951. USBC Hall of Famer Bob Hart offered Mariani some tips and Mariani then proceeded to spill seven pins to get the show rolling.

For the first time, there will be two oil patterns. Team event pattern is 41 feet. Pattern for singles/doubles is 39 feet. Lanes will be oiled before every squad. More information available at bowl.com. and that includes graphics of the two patterns.

Bowlers from all 50 states and nine foreign countries bring the total to more than 52,000. Add in 26,000-plus guests and it's easy to understand the economic impact in projected to be $150 million.

History is being made as Reno is the first city to serve as host for the Open Championships and USBC Women's Championships in the same year. The women will compete in the Reno-Sparks Convention center where 44 lanes are being constructed. Bowling starts April 12 and continues through July 1. Reno will be home to both events in 2014, too.

In addition, the National Bowling Stadium will undergo up to $15 million in renovations and upgrades. The USBC, Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority and the City of Reno reached that agreement. The USBC will bring both championships to the National Bowling Stadium in a regular rotation through 2030.

The first phase is 10 new Showcase Lanes on the first floor and they're in. Other major upgrades include enhancements of the stadium scoreboards and video display, squad room renovation and expansion, adjustment of stadium seating to create more space for exhibits/vendors, new restaurant, replacement of the 78 primary lanes and work on the exterior. That work will continue through 2018.

The USBC does not plan to schedule the Open or Women's Championships in the same city in back-to-back years after 2015. El Paso, Texas, has both in 2015. Bids are out for 2017 and 2018.

SCRATCH TOURNAMENTS RETURN: The popular Sport Lane Pattern scratch singles tournaments resume in April at Colonial Lanes. Starting date is April 7. There are some changes.

Entry fee will be $40 ($25 going to the prize fund, a $5 increase and the remainder to lineage and expenses). Prices for things like lane conditioner and cleaner have increased.

The tournament lanes will go from 33-34 back to the smaller number lanes as needed.

Start time will now be noon.

There will be a few new patterns used, too.

Details available at www.coloniallaneswv.com.

500 CLUB TOURNAMENT: The Huntington 500 Club's City Tournament is Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Colonial Lanes.

WHAT A SHOW: Jason Sterner picked up his first PBA Tour win last week with a 299-235 win over top qualifier Wes Malott in the title match in the Don Carter Classic. Sterner left a solid 10-pin on his final shot, denying the chance at the 23rd nationally-televised 300 game in PBA history. He also lost a bid to join Bob Benoit as only the second player to win his first PBA Tour title with a 300 game.

In the PBA League Don Carter round, the New York City WTT KingPins breezed past the BROOKLYN STyLES, 243-199, in the title match. Tommy Jones, Jack Jurek, Pete Weber, Scott Norton and John Szczerbinski make up the WTT KingPins. They clinched a berth in the inaugural PBA League Elias Cup Finals. The top four of the eight PBA League teams will compete for the league championship on March 31 in Indianapolis.

Next on the schedule will be the Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship on March 24 at 3 p.m. Top qualifier Sean Rash will face Scott Norton for the title. The telecast on ESPN will include the PBA League Earl Anthony round, the final qualifying round heading into the Elias Cup finals.

David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald- dispatch.com.

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