RENO, Nev. - The 2012 United States Bowling Congress Senior Championships kicked off at the National Bowling Stadium on Tuesday as more than 375 male and female competitors took to the lanes in hopes of becoming national champions.
The event is a two-day handicap singles tournament, which consist of two divisions - Open and Women's - and each is made up of five age classifications: 55-59; 60-64; 65-69; 70-74 and 75 and older. Handicap for the tournament is based on 90 percent of 210.
Bowlers qualified for the USBC Senior Championships through local and state tournaments. All competitors bowled the first of two three-game blocks Tuesday and will return to bowl another three-game set Wednesday. A medal round will be held after the conclusion of qualifying Wednesday as the top six scores in each division/age category advance to bowl three more games to determine the champion. Qualifying pinfall (with handicap) will carry over to the medal round.
Wayne Hetrick of Springfield, Colo., is making his second appearance at the Senior Championships, and at 90 years old, he is the oldest competitor at the 2012 event. His daughters, Gail Anderson of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Joetta Sells of Sherman, Texas, accompanied him to The Biggest Little City in The World, since it had always been his dream to make another showing at the tournament.
The retired wheat farmer still bowls in two weekly leagues at Tiger Lanes in Ulysses, Kan., for which he must travel 75 miles each way. When the World War II veteran and his wife chose a new residence years ago, they picked one close to their bowling center, only to have it burn to the ground the same day they closed on the house.
"I've just always loved to bowl, and we began back in the days when the women wore the long straight skirts to bowl," Hetrick said. "A lot has since changed, but one thing hasn't - the similarity of the sport to farming. Both use their hands."
After Tuesday's opening round, Hetrick is 10th in the 75 and older class of the Open Division with a 591 handicap score. He prepared for the 2012 tournament by putting in as many games as he could.
"I just kept bowling to get in shape, although I was a little nervous," Hetrick said. "Of course, you have to qualify by first winning a state tournament, which I did in Dodge City, Kan., in March."
Competition continues Wednesday at noon Eastern with the medal round taking place at 8 p.m.
Each winner will receive an estimated $1,000 and a crystal bowling pin. The cash ratio in each classification is 1:3.
2012 USBC SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
At National Bowling Stadium, Reno, Nev.
(Top six division leaders with hometown and pinfall)
1, Michael Burrer, Pueblo, Colo., 718. 2, Kelly Glendy, Sheridan, Wyo., 709. 3, Bill Herman, Dighton, Kan., 706. 4, Jim Evanchak, Laughlin, Nev., 698. 5, Pete Legeros, Minneapolis, 695. 6, Ray Long, Frankfort, Ky., 666.
1, Jeff Thomm, Monroe, Wis., 735. 2, Dennis Thomas, Malad, Idaho, 702. 3, Bruce Blackmer, Dedham, Maine, 670. 4, Donald Jenness, Newport, Vt., 668. 5, Fred Burkert, Meridianville, Ala., 667. 6, Jim Krope, Anderson, S.C., 666.
1, Orin Hapke, Libertyville, Ill., 724. 2, Orville Montgomery, Cle Elum, Wash., 705. 3, Donald Ruth, Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., 691. 4, Truman Morgan, Burksville, Ky., 677. 5, Michael Lastowski, Aberdeen, Md., 674. 6, Jim Rhodes, Chester, Ohio, 652.
1, Phil Hodges, Pinehurst, Idaho, 767. 2, Frank Menchaca, Los Angeles, 680. 3, Don Franzen, Central City, Neb., 677. 4, Panfilo Abela, Vancouver, British Columbia, 660. 5, Ron Rose, Great Falls, Mont., 659. 6, James Fitcher Sr., Rockport, W.V., 655.
Age 75 and older
1, Eino Niemi, Hancock, Mich., 666. 2, Herb Stevens, Lafayette, Ind., 654. 3, Shoko Steele, Keaau, Hawaii, 652. 4, Mel Blanchard, Helena, Mont., 650. 5, A. Clifton Harris, Leeds, Maine, 637. 6, Louis Griebel, Nashua, N.H., 624.
1, Mary McComb, Egg Harbor Twp., N.J., 704. 2, Margie Taft, Bloomfield, N.M., 678. 3, Judith McDonald, Sumter, S.C., 658. 4, Joyce Powell, Carson City, Nev., 657. 5(tie), Glenda Miller, Gresham, Ore., and Paulette Haugen, Michigan, N.D., 646. 6, Judy Ferguson, Banner Elk, N.C., 644.
1, Marilyn Webb, Albany, Ore., 677. 2, Shirley Bentley, Barbourville, Ky., 667. 3, Linda Gleason, Kingman, Ariz., 664. 4(tie), Cheryl Morphew, Deerfield, Kan., and Jacquie Abbot, Campbell River, British Columbia, 660. 6, Linda Lewis, Springville, Utah, 658.
1, Diane Patton, West Fir, Ore., 693. 2, Anneta Dawson, Loogootee, Ind., 687. 3, Dianne Zakes, Oakfield, N.Y., 673. 4, Sue Coup, Kenai, Alaska, 651. 5, Teresa Burroughs, Ft. Gibson, Okla., 643. 6(tie), Barbara Woosley, Pahrump, Nev., and Beverly Branch, McRae, Ark., 642.
1, Charlotte Camp, Conyers, Ga., 741. 2, Karol Cooney, Arthur, Neb., 687. 3, Gloria Collura, Stobicoke, Ontario, 679. 4, Bev Crabtree, Winfield, Kan., 666. 5(tie), Anita James, Arroyo Grande, Calif., and Sandee Deines, Prescott, Ariz., 650.
Age 75 and older
1, Katherine Phelps, St. Johnsbury, Vt., 628. 2, Bernice Pelletier, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 621. 3, Shirley Myers, Mt. Clare, W.V., 616. 4, Myrtie Leckinger, Laughlin, Nev., 609. 5(tie), Edith Sutherland, Twin Falls, Idaho, Margaret Heath, Columbus, Miss., and Shirley DeBolt, Jackson, Mich., 608.