By Kevin Albarez
In the coming months, we'll talk with some of the best-known bowlers at the USBC Open Championships and get their thoughts on their time at the tournament and what it takes to succeed on the championship lanes.
This week, we heard from Team USA member Shannon O'Keefe and her husband, Team USA Assistant Coach Bryan O'Keefe, who have combined for 23 Open Championships appearances.
Shannon, a four-time Open Championship participant, has been a Team USA member since 2005. She has collected two dozen medals in international competition, including 11 in three trips to the Pan American Bowling Confederation Women's Championships and three gold medals at the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Women's Championships.
Bryan, a 19-time Open Championship participant, has coached Team USA for three years and Junior Team USA for one year. He is listed among Bowlers Journal International's 100 Top Coaches. On the lanes, Bryan helped lead Nebraska to a national title in 1996. He also holds the four-game record at the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC with a 1,054 set, shot in 2010.
When the couple is not on the lanes, they can be found at the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas. Shannon manages the call center, while Bryan manages the pro shop and is an assistant coach at the International Training and Research Center.
The two have been married for over seven years and don't get to bowl together often. When they do, they take advantage of the opportunity. Last year at the Open Championships, their team, Cambridge 1, finished fifth with a score of 3,410.
Shannon believes her husband to be one of the best coaches in the world. While in international competition, they must put their relationship to the side and focus on winning gold.
Despite the international success, they still are in search of the elusive eagle at the Open Championships. They recently made a run at it when they took to the lanes at the Baton Rouge River Center on April 13-14.
This year on the tournament lanes, Shannon shot 755 in team, 669 in doubles and 635 in singles for a career-high 2,059 all-events total. Her career average at the tournament is 218.9. Bryan shot 662 in singles, 641 in doubles and 632 in team for 1,935. In 19 Open Championships appearances, he has maintained a 213 average.
HOMETOWN: Oregon City, Ore./Arlington, Texas
OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS APPEARANCES: 4
OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS TITLES: 0
BOWLING BALL WEIGHT: 15
FAVORITE BRAND OF BOWLING BALLS: DV8
ONE all-time favorite host city: Reno
TWO best Open Championships memories: 1. bowling with my hubby; 2. our team finishing fifth last year
THREE keys to success at the Open Championships: 1. work as a team; 2. practice on the pattern as much as you can before; 3. know your arsenal
FOURgettable Open Championships moment: Don't have one yet ;)
FIVE bowlers in history on your Open Championships fantasy all-star team: Bryan O'Keefe, Doug Kent, Chris Barnes, Tommy Jones and Lynda Barnes
SIX bowling balls currently in your Open Championships arsenal: DV8 Hell Raiser Revenge, DV8 Reckless, DV8 Too Reckless, DV8 Misfit, Brunswick Nexus Pearl and a spare ball
SEVEN cities you'd like to see the Open Championships go to/return to: Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Portland, Ore.; Dallas; Oahu, Hawaii
EIGHT favorite bowling balls ever: Storm Special Agent, Hammer Black Widow, Storm Victory Road Pearl, Storm T-Road Solid, DV8 Hell Raiser Revenge, DV8 Reckless, DV8 Too Reckless, DV8 Misfit
NINE other current/eligible bowlers you would choose to join you on your ideal pair of companion teams at the Open Championships: Lynda Barnes, Liz Johnson, Stefanie Nation, Shannon Pluhowsky, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard, Diandra Asbaty, Tennelle Milligan, Kim Terrell-Kearney and Leanne Hulsenberg
TEN seconds or less, who is your favorite bowler of all-time?: Lynda Barnes =)
ELEVEN strikes in a row to start a game at the Open Championships, what's going through your head?: Hit the head pin!
TWELVE years from now, where do you hope to be in your bowling career?: I would hope to have several major titles, more world championships, still be a member of Team USA and coaching youth bowlers.
HOMETOWN: Ontario, N.Y./Arlington, Texas
OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS APPEARANCES: 19
OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS TITLES: 0
BOWLING BALL WEIGHT: 16
FAVORITE BRAND OF BOWLING BALLS: Columbia 300
ONE all-time favorite host city: Las Vegas
TWO best Open Championships memories: 1. bowling 3,400 last year in team; 2. shooting 1,466 with Ron Nelson in 2009
THREE keys to success at the Open Championships: 1. having talented teammates; 2. making good shots; 3. stay patient
FOURgettable Open Championships moment: shooting 240 the first game in team and finishing with a smooth 570
FIVE bowlers in history on your Open Championships fantasy all-star team: Doug Kent, Marshall Holman, Mark Roth, Dave Husted and Chris Barnes
SIX bowling balls currently in your Open Championships arsenal: Columbia 300- Stingray, Outburst, Eruption, Dark Encounter, Omen and Burst
SEVEN cities you'd like to see the Open Championships go to/return to: Las Vegas; San Diego; Buffalo, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; Portland, Ore.; Lincoln, Neb.; Dallas-Fort Worth
EIGHT favorite bowling balls ever: Red Pearl Hammer, Power Torq, Blue Pearl Pulse, Columbia 300 Hyde, Hammer Black Widow, Columbia 300 Burst, Black Ninja and Storm Thunder Road
NINE other current/eligible bowlers you would choose to join you on your ideal pair of companion teams at the Open Championships: Mike Shady, Doug Kent, Ron Nelson, Ryan Kretchmer, Chris Viale, Shannon O'Keefe, Bill Webb, Mike Wolfe and Derek Eoff
TEN seconds or less, who is your favorite bowler of all-time?: Doug Kent- so much so that I have now even copied his hair style
ELEVEN strikes in a row to start a game at the Open Championships, what's going through your head?: Stay behind the foul line and hit the pin closest to me.
TWELVE years from now, where do you hope to be in your bowling career?: Still competing with our teammates and hopefully winning a few "flying birdies"