BATON ROUGE, La. - In 2007, Dennis Poepping of Alexandria, Minn., watched one of his teammates take the lead at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships and then endure a four-month wait before finally finding out he held on for the win.
Now, Poepping found his own way into the spotlight and left this year's event as the Classified All-Events leader with a 1,746 total at the Baton Rouge River Center on Saturday morning. Paul Schrubbe of Horicon, Wis., previously held the lead with 1,742.
"I feel really good, and this makes the trip much more rewarding," said Poepping, who rolled a USBC Open Championships career-high 643 series in doubles and added 554 in team and 549 in singles this year. "We always have such a good time anyway, but this makes it even better. Taking home some money is always good, but this is different. This is what everyone dreams of."
Poepping is part of a two-team group that bowls together at Lakeview Lanes in Osakis, Minn., and travels to the Open Championships each year. Lakeview Lanes is a six-lane center that proudly displays the banner that hung in the rafters above the tournament lanes the year after Lenny Boogaard took home the 2007 Classified Singles title.
Usually, the group spends some time looking at the leaderboard and crunching numbers to see what it will take to get their names up there. This time, after a disappointing team event, Poepping barely glanced at the top scores and didn't immediately realize he was the new all-events leader.
"After doubles, I knew a decent 500 series in singles would get me near the top five, but I wasn't sure where I ended up," said Poepping, who made his 14th Open Championships appearance. "I was relaxed today. I just felt good and knew if I could keep the ball around the headpin, I'd be OK."
The 52-year-old right-hander wasn't the only member of the group to find success at the River Center this year. Boogaard (621) and Larry Sorenson (566) moved into second place in Classified Doubles with 1,187. Randy Tennant of Onida, S.D., and Tim Luken of Gettysburg, S.D., lead with 1,231. Dennis and Dale Poepping just missed the top 10 with 1,111.
To be eligible for the Classified Division, a team must have a combined average of 900 or less and 360 or less for doubles. Individuals must have an average of 180 or less for singles and all-events.
Sponsors for the 2012 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno. Other sponsors include the Belle of Baton Rouge, official brackets sponsor; Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; Humana, official registration sponsor; Bud Light and Budweiser, official beer sponsors; The Advocate, official publication sponsor; Brunswick, official lane provider; Steltronic, official scoring system; Storm Bowling Products and Nationwide Insurance.