Multitasking Idaho bowler leads at 2014 Open Championships Article Image
RENO, Nev. - When it comes to the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, Justin Studer of Burley, Idaho, serves as a coordinator, captain, ball rep, coach and motivator for at least 20 bowlers, but once he hits the lanes, it's just him and the pins.

The 28-year-old right-hander won his showdown with the pins at the National Bowling Stadium on Sunday as he surged into the lead in Regular Doubles, Singles and All-Events with the best performance of his seven-year USBC Open Championships career.

A big move and a ball change at the end of his second game of doubles got Studer where he needed to be on the lane, and it nearly helped him to the first perfect game of the 2014 event. A 4 pin after 10 consecutive strikes left him with a 289 game and 660 doubles series. He teamed with his uncle, Steve Studer, for a 1,234 doubles effort, moving them past Stefanie Johnson of Grand Prairie, Texas, and Brandy Silva of Fort Worth, Texas, who previously held the lead with 1,194.

"I usually like to play a little more inside, and it took a few bad shots and missed spares for me to finally make the move," said Studer, who co-owns Burley's Snake River Bowl with his father, Wally. "I decided to move 15 boards and three balls in my lineup and give it a little room. The ball read right, and I started carrying."

The initial strategy of the group was to play farther right and a little bit straighter to start, which helped give Studer the room he needed later in the day. His success continued in singles with games of 268, 209 and 236 for a 713 series. He had 610 in team Saturday and finished this year's campaign with a 1,983 all-events total. Johnson previously held the lead in singles and all-events with 662 and 1,972, respectively.

As a proprietor, Studer encourages the bowlers at the 28-lane Snake River Bowl to at least try events like the Open Championships. This year's group included four teams, but they've had as many as eight in the past. Arriving in the host city early allows Studer to handle all necessary paperwork and then turn his focus to bowling.

Early in his tournament career, Studer was lucky enough to bowl alongside bowlers like two-time champion Steve Kloempken and former Team USA member David Haynes, who taught him a lot about lane play, strategy and teamwork, all things he now shares with the Snake River Bowl bowlers.

"Even though we're surrounded by a lot of small farming towns, and there's not a lot of people, we have a really strong group of local bowlers who love to travel and bowl tournaments," Studer said. "We try to encourage everyone, even the lower average bowlers, to at least come out and experience the tournament. I learned a lot earlier in my career, and I enjoy sharing that and helping others succeed, if I can."

Studer's education goes back more than a decade to his debut at the USBC Junior Gold Championships when he was 15 years old and experienced Sport Bowling lane conditions for the first time. Now, with an understanding of all aspects of the sport, he's excited to be leaving Reno at the top of the leaderboard.

"I remember my first Junior Gold experience and realizing it's not just as simple as swinging the ball to the dry," said Studer, who also serves as the president of Idaho's youth bowling association. "I don't practice as much now, but I bowl in three leagues and play different lines to stay tuned-up.

I understand this is the first weekend, but I get to get my picture taken with my name at the top of the leaderboard, and not many people get to say that."

Other members of the Burley group also found success at the NBS this weekend. Matt Blauer and Ryan Swalling lead Classified Doubles with 1,144, while Blauer tops the Classified All-Events standings with 1,536.

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Presenting sponsors for the 2014 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.