Family celebrates milestones together at 2019 USBC Open Championships

By Makinzey Marracco
USBC Communications

Four members of the Rosenthal family made their United States Bowling Congress Open Championships debuts at the 1995 tournament in Reno, Nevada, the second year women were able to compete in the event.

This year, at the South Point Bowling Plaza, Jay, Joan and Michelle Rosenthal all celebrated 25 years consecutive years on the tournament lanes. Marti Tenzer, who missed a few events along the way, competed for the 21st time.

Their journey started when Jay came up with the idea to use the USBC Open Championships as a way to get the family together every year, since they live from "Coast to Coast," as their team name suggests.

"They started allowing women to bowl, and we had all been bowling since we were kids, so the excuse was to get all the brothers and sisters together," Tenzer said. "Once a year, we all meet and bowl. My younger brother, who lives in California, started out with us, too. Sometimes we do OK, but it doesn't really matter how we do, we just enjoy bowling together."

Tenzer, 52, lives in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. She missed the tournament in 1996, 2000 and 2003 due to starting a family and having knee surgery for wear and tear from the ski slopes.

Jay, who is 63, lives in Vienna, Virginia, with his wife, 66-year-old Joan. Not only does bowling continue to tie their family together, it's where their relationship began. The two met while bowling many years ago and still share the passion to compete together.

Older sister, 64-year-old Michelle, lives in nearby Henderson, Nevada, and loves being able to travel to see her siblings each year. She is especially proud of the accomplishment of reaching 25 consecutive years.

From 1901 until 1993, then called the American Bowling Congress Championships Tournament, the event was male-only. But, in 1994, ABC membership and the tournament, were opened up to allow women, and many took advantage of the chance to compete on the biggest stage in bowling.

"We didn't realize in 1994 they started allowing women," Tenzer said. "Once Jay heard about it, he suggested we all go, and we were in."

At last year's Open Championships in Syracuse, New York, there were nine women to reach the 25-year mark. They all bowled for the first time in 1994.

"It felt like we were the only three women there at the beginning, there were so few," Joan Rosenthal said. "But, it feels good to be on the short list to make 25 years."

The sisters are paving their own part of tournament history, and the most important thing is they get to do it together. The Rosenthals have no plans of letting their annual reunion end anytime soon.

"We just want to survive and keep bowling," Joan said "As long as we can, we'll keep on plugging along and bowl every year."

The group already is planning its 2020 reunion, which will take place at the newly renovated National Bowling Stadium in Reno.

The team competed in the Standard Division and finished with a score of 2,192, which included games of 684, 804 and 704. The family members finished their 2019 campaign with all events totals of - Jay (1,658), Tenzer (1,336), Joan (1,229) and Michelle (841).

The Standard Division includes teams with combined entering averages of 776-875.

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