Hard work pays off for Indiana bowler at 2014 USBC Open

RENO, Nev. - Chuck Vester of Muncie, Ind., made his United States Bowling Congress Open Championships debut at the 1991 event in Toledo, Ohio, but life's responsibilities kept him from returning to the tournament lanes again until 2013.

His re-emergence at the USBC Open Championships was less than stellar, but rather than be discouraged by his performance, Vester used the experience as motivation.

He took the summer off, read articles and watched videos to see what he could do to change his game. When the 2013-2014 bowling season began, he sought out tougher lane conditions and even started bowling league at the most difficult center in town.

Vester's hard work paid off with the best league season of his career and a memorable trip to the 2014 Open Championships, where he rolled the 12th perfect game of this year's event at the National Bowling Stadium.

The 44-year-old right-hander tossed games of 266, 300 and 190 for a 756 series Tuesday night and helped Clancy's Village Bowl 3 to a 2,917 total. Motion Plus Lanes of Cudahy, Wis., leads Regular Team with a record 3,561 total.

"When I came here last year, I hadn't bowled on too many Sport patterns locally, so it was quite a challenge for me," said Vester, who posted a 1,603 all-events total in his 2013 return to the Open Championships. "I was pretty nervous, and it was very disappointing, but it was great motivation. To come back this year and do this feels amazing, simply amazing. I don't know how else to describe it."

With more time and money to dedicate to bowling, Vester regularly competes in scratch leagues and tournaments, and it didn't take much for his fellow competitors to talk him into making his return to the world's largest participatory sporting event.

"I've always wanted to come, but I just couldn't," Vester said. "I'm glad I'm back, but I never imagined this would happen. In all my years of bowling, I've wanted to bowl here and bowl well, so to finally get to do that is incredible."

When he walked into the National Bowling Stadium a year ago, Vester didn't have any specific goals in mind. It was more about the experience and opportunity to learn. This time, he was focused on putting everything he's learned to good use. He simply wanted to shoot his average and take home some prize money.

Following a humbling experience on this year's doubles and singles lane condition at the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC, Vester joined his teammates for a practice session on the 43-foot Sport Bowling-certified team lane condition, and his time on the Track Showcase Lanes allowed him to regain his rhythm and timing before their team event Tuesday night.

"This definitely proves that if you put in the time, hard work pays off," said Vester, who bowls league at Munsee Lanes. "I also know that you never stop learning. Even tonight, I struggled in the last game, but I learned a lot about keeping up with the changes on a Sport shot."

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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.