Minnesota bowler joins 100,000-Pin Club at 2019 USBC Open Championships

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By Matt Cannizzaro and Daniel Farish
USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS -
Michael Schmid of Arden Hills, Minnesota, reached another special milestone at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, where he became the 23rd member of the event's elite 100,000-Pin Club.

The 77-year-old right-hander entered the 2019 tournament needing 1,211 pins to reach the plateau, and he got there with a high-flush strike in the ninth frame of his first game of singles Wednesday at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

He is the first bowler to reach the 100,000-pin mark during the 2019 tournament in Las Vegas, and he is the third competitor from Minnesota to achieve the feat, joining the late Sylvester Thiel (2005) and active participant Maynard Johnson (2014) on the list.

"This never entered my mind until a few years ago when one of my teammates mentioned I had a shot," Schmid said. "I was really glad to throw a strike to get it, rather than a washout or something. I'm so happy, but I'm glad it's over because I've been worried about it for six months. I kept thinking, 'what if I shot the lowest all-events possible and didn't make it?' I'd take so much heat at home."

Schmid started his 2019 USBC Open Championships campaign Tuesday with a 515 series in his team event, and he needed to knock down 696 pins during doubles and singles Wednesday to reach the mark.

He added games of 169, 209 and 178 for a 556 set in doubles, leaving him 140 pins short with three games to go. After leaving a Greek Church (4-6-7-9-10) in the seventh frame of his opening game of singles, Schmid left, and converted, a 10 pin to set up the ninth-frame excitement.

Competition came to a halt across the 60-lane South Point Bowling Plaza, as tournament director Duane Hagen immediately presented Schmid with a crystal bowling pin to commemorate his entry into the 100,000-Pin Club.

Schmid finished with games of 197, 153 and 183 for a 1,604 all-events total, bringing his career pinfall total to 100,393, a 191.2 average for more than 500 tournament games.

Late USBC Hall of Famer and eight-time Open Championships titlist Bill Lillard Sr. of Houston tops the all-time pinfall list with 124,087, toppled over 68 events from 1948-2015.

This year's Open Championships marked Schmid's 58th tournament appearance, a career that began at the 1961 event in Detroit. He has been to every tournament since 1967 and wasted no time finding the spotlight for the first time.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1970, Schmid turned in a career-best 1,999 all-events total, which earned him a tie for second place in Regular All-Events. He finished five pins short of adding an Eagle to the mantle at his pro shop, which he now has owned and operated for nearly 60 years.

Outside of the Open Championships, Schmid often found success in top-tier events, but reaching 100,000 pins on the biggest stage in bowling top his list of accomplishments.

"This is No. 1," Schmid said. "I bowled part time on the (Professional Bowlers Association) Senior Tour and made the finals of the U.S. Open, which was one of my biggest thrills. I led all-events here back in 1970 for three weeks, before getting beaten by a few pins and I was able to make Team USA. This is up there with all of that."

Schmid now will turn his sights to the tournament's participation record of 71 years, shared by Thiel and a pair of USBC Hall of Famers - Bill Doehrman and Joe Norris. Schmid would match their number at the 2032 Open Championships.

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