Bill King of Vergas, Minn., recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary, and a few months from now, he could be celebrating a Classified Team victory at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
The 69-year-old right-hander rolled games of 228, 152 and 159 for a 539 series and helped Frazee 2 of Vergas, Minn., into the lead with a 2,678 total at the Baton Rouge River Center on Monday night. K Lines 2 of Gildford, Mont., previously held the lead with 2,658.
"It's shocking, really," said King, who made his 13th USBC Open Championships appearance. "I didn't know we were that close. We didn't know what the number was. Once we reached 2,660, the lane monitor came over and told us we were in the lead."
King and his wife, Sandra, celebrated 50 years of marriage Feb. 3. She also made her first appearance on the tournament lanes as part of King's companion team, Zee Lanes 1 of Vergas. She contributed games of 170, 136 and 158 for a 464 set and helped her team to a 2,180 total. For King, winning an Open Championships title would be the icing on the cake.
"It would be tremendous to win," said King, who bowls at B&B Lanes in Frazee. "This year, my wife bowled the tournament for the first time, and we are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, so it's kind of a celebration. I really enjoyed having her bowl."
The team always comes into a new year with modest expectations, but the goal always is to cash in team. Now, they have a chance at winning, which is something new.
"We always hope to at least cash," King said. "Last year, Mark (Bylander) finished second in all-events. And over the years, we've had guys finish fourth or fifth in doubles, but we've never been this high in team. It's been an honor to bowl with them and an awful lot of fun for me."
Leading the way for Frazee 2 was Mark Kemper with 615. He was followed by Bylander (594), King, Greg Mickelson (485) and Jon Smith (445).
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.