Minnesota bowler wows crowd with 300 game at USBC Open

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By Jessica Gilgor
USBC Communications

RENO, Nev. - Kevin VonderHaar of Hibbing, Minn., left his teammates jumping for joy when he became the 15th bowler to roll a perfect game at the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

The 55-year-old right-hander sandwiched the 300 between games of 188 and 180 Wednesday for a 668 series. His efforts helped his team, Hibbing Bowling Center 1, to a 2,696 total. Motion Plus Lanes of Cudahy, Wis., leads Regular Team with a record score of 3,561.

"I was shaking," said VonderHaar, who made his 17th USBC Open Championships appearance. "I've bowled a few other 300s this year and had no problem. But being here at the Open Championships is different."

VonderHaar struggled to find a line early in the day, but he made the necessary adjustments on his way to 12 consecutive strikes.

"The second half of the first game, I started getting lined up and then left a 10 pin," said VonderHaar, who manages Hibbing Bowling Center. "I said 'OK, I'll line it up here,' and that was it. I threw 11 good ones and one Brooklyn."

During his run at perfection, VonderHaar was able to keep his composure despite the pressure, even with the vocal support of his teammates, which increased with every strike.

"I didn't really pay attention," VonderHaar said. "I could hear them, but I was just taking deep breaths, trying to stay focused."

Before making his appearance at this year's Open Championships, VonderHaar practiced on the 43-foot Sport Bowling-certified team lane condition at his own center and then took advantage of practice sessions available at the Track Showcase Lanes on the ground floor of the National Bowling Stadium.

VonderHaar added a 650 series in singles and 554 in doubles for a 1,872 all-events total.

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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.