California bowler capitalizes at Open Championships

RENO, Nev. - Darron Peters of Temecula, Calif., took advantage of the many competitive opportunities at the National Bowling Stadium this year, and his ambition resulted in a memorable, and likely profitable, tournament experience.

While in Reno for the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, Peters and his team used a practice session on the Track Showcase Lanes to help them to a top-35 score, and a couple of squads at the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC helped the 51-year-old right-hander excel in doubles and singles.

Peters left Reno as the leader in Senior Singles and Senior Doubles at the Bowlers Journal Championships and is among the top 35 in every event at the USBC Open Championships - Regular All-Events (fourth, 2,129); Regular Doubles (sixth, 1,344); Team All-Events (21st, 9,355); Regular Singles (27th, 719) and Regular Team (32nd, 3,175). 

"Any time you can get a look at the pattern, it's an advantage, especially in the same venue and on the same lane surface," Peters said. "Getting that experience in the side events really helped. The team session was great for us, and bowling at the Bowlers Journal gave me a great idea of what to do, especially on the fresh, which helped me today in doubles and singles."

Before last year, Peters' last Bowlers Journal Championships appearance came in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1988. His return to the event came at the perfect time, since he was able to take advantage of the senior offerings, but he cited the convenience of having it on-site at the NBS for the first time as the main reason for competing again.

His re-emergence at the Bowlers Journal in 2013 ended with a third-place finish in Senior Doubles with Cliff Connors of Tempe, Ariz., with a 1,341 total, but Peters did not take advantage of the event's Dual Entry option, which would've meant a strong singles finish, too.

This time around, Peters maximized his opportunities. His first Bowlers Journal attempt of 2014 was a feeler squad to get comfortable and try some different equipment. When he was confident in his game plan, he decided to bowl again and posted games of 197, 300 and 243 for a 740 series. He again teamed with Connors for Senior Doubles, and Connors added a 636 set for a 1,376 total. Sam Carter of Ben Lomond, Calif., previously held the lead in Senior Singles with 717, while Bill Henson and Shawn Minke of Westerville, Ohio, topped the doubles standings with 1,345.

"I probably just had the wrong ball in my hand on the fresh, but I kept trying things and eventually found one that gave me a good look," said Peters, who owns the only perfect game at the Bowlers Journal this year. "I didn't bowl singles at the same time last year, so I'm glad I did this time around. And our doubles number is bigger than last year, so we're excited about that. I know there's a lot of great seniors coming through, but I hope it's enough this time."

The Bowlers Journal Championships features the 40-foot Sport-certified lane condition used for doubles and singles at the Open Championships, while the Track Showcase Lanes is where teams go to finalize their game plans on the 43-foot Sport-certified team pattern.

The Showcase Lanes helped Peters and his team to 3,319 total and 53rd-place finish in 2013 and again helped them find success on the championship lanes.

"The Showcase Lanes helped a lot last year, so we did it again and enjoyed being able to try different equipment, which really helped with our strategy," said Peters, whose all-events total this year was 153 pins better than his previous-best of 1,976, shot in 2013. "I worked a lot harder overall this year, but all of these things definitely helped. It's a win-win, and made for a great weekend."

Peters may make the eight-hour drive back to Reno to bowl again in the Bowlers Journal before the tournaments conclude July 13, but for now, he's going to return home with the knowledge he gained from this trip and share it with others headed to The Biggest Little City in the World.

A long career in the industry as a lane man, pro shop operator and competitive bowler has helped Peters become a well-rounded player. He's had a lot of help along the way, and now is glad to pay it forward.

"I've experienced a lot and learned from some great coaches and ball reps, and understanding all aspects of the game really helps with the full package," Peters said. "It all helped me this week. This is the best I've ever done here, and if I can help prepare others at home before they come out, I definitely will."

The Bowlers Journal Championships is being held alongside the Open Championships for the 68th time, but this is just the second year they're under the same roof. The Open Championships is being contested on the first 64 lanes at the 78-lane NBS, and the BJ is being held on lanes 69-78.

Along with team practice sessions, the Track Showcase Lanes also is home to The Columbia 300 Forty Frame Game.

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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.