New York bowler achieves perfection at 2018 USBC Open Championships

By Matt Cannizzaro and Casey Smith
USBC Communications

Thirteen seems to be a lucky number for Richard Clark of Johnson City, New York, who rolled his 13th career 300 game and became the 13th bowler to achieve perfection at the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

The 51-year-old right-hander, who made his fourth tournament appearance this year, had a short one-hour drive to Syracuse, which made the decision to bowl in the 2018 USBC Open Championships very easy.

Clark bowled in the event for the first time when it visited the Salt City in 1999, but he didn't return until 2008, when some of his friends asked him to bowl. He then took another hiatus after the 2009 event until this year, when it wasn't far from home.

After rolling a 533 series in his team event at Friday at the Oncenter Convention Center, he was questioning his decision to bowl, despite the location.

Clark's feelings quickly changed during doubles Saturday when he put together 12 consecutive strikes in his final game. The fact that the last shot was Brooklyn did not diminish the exciting moment.

The fact that his daughter, Taylor, was watching from the stands is what really made the achievement so special.

The perfect game came after games of 179 and a 234, giving him a career-best 713 series.

He teamed up with John Paffie of Vestal, New York, who added a 495 set for a 1,208 team total. Former Team USA member AJ Chapman of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Rich Eighme of Waterloo, Iowa, lead Regular Doubles this year with 1,457.

Clark followed his perfect game with a 606 series in singles for a 1,852 all-events total, another career best.

"It is amazing to shoot 300 here," said Clark, a school vehicle operator for the Binghamton School District. "It is pretty rare, so it is really cool to join the club. I'm also very glad my daughter was here to see it. To have her here is awesome."

Every year from now on, Clark will be considered a celebrity when he bowls, which may influence his decision to compete in the 2019 tournament in Las Vegas.

"It would be really cool to be announced as a celebrity," said Clark, who bowls regularly at Ideal Lanes in Endicott, New York.

Clark prepared for this year's event by utilizing the practice lanes available at nearby AMF Strike 'N Spare Lanes, also home to the 2018 Bowlers Journal Championships presented by USBC.

Despite having several 300 games in his career, the one at the Open Championships is very meaningful because of the challenge.

"It is such a tough shot," Clark said. "To be able to shoot 300 in front of everyone here is really special."

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