California bowler rewarded in return trip to NBS

RENO, Nev. - A record number of bowlers have competed at the Storm Bowlers Journal Championships presented by the United States Bowling Congress this year, with many using it as a tune-up for doubles and singles at the USBC Open Championships, which features the same lane condition.

The convenience of having both tournaments under the same roof for just the second time in nearly seven decades together in the same host city also has been responsible for attracting entrants, including Dupree Dickey of Oakland, Calif., one of the new Open Doubles leaders at the Bowlers Journal Championships.

Like many bowlers, Dickey used the Bowlers Journal to help him to a career-best performance at the 2014 Open Championships, but because of his close proximity to The Biggest Little City in the World, he was able to return to the National Bowling Stadium and conversely use his Open Championships experience to find additional success at the BJ.

"I bowled the Bowlers Journal when I was here in May and shot 680 and 690, but I felt like I could do better," said Dickey, who finished his third Open Championships in May with 692 in singles, 677 in team and 611 in doubles for a 1,980 all-events total. "I had a lot more room to the right than I expected. Last time, I tugged it a lot, but this time, I just let my arm be free. I used the same ball but was much more relaxed. I had a pretty good game plan on what to do, and it worked out well."

Dickey stepped up in his final frame knowing he needed at least a double and good count to secure the top spot in the standings, and he coolly delivered to finish with games of 221, 255 and 279 for a 755 series and 1,489 total. Oakland's Jeff Cotton added a 734 set, which included games of 279, 221 and 234. Steve Badovinac of Parker, Colo., and Nick Hays of Broomfield, Colo., previously held the lead with 1,483.

"Right before I got up there, my friend asked me if I wanted to know what I needed," said Dickey, who bowls regularly at AMF Southshore Lanes in Alameda, Calif. "I'm the type of person who likes to know, and I try to execute to the best of my ability. It felt good, and I actually had to walk around for a minute after to let it sink in."

Dickey, a right-hander who celebrated his 29th birthday this week, had a disappointing debut at the Open Championships in 2011, but he used that as motivation to improve his game before returning to the championship lanes in 2013.

Last year, he was completely focused on the Open Championships, so he did not test his progress at the Bowlers Journal first. He finished with 675 in singles, 651 in team and 623 in doubles for 1,949.

This time around, Dickey made sure to take advantage of all that was available at the NBS, and his return trip this week to watch friends included time at the BJ as well as The Columbia 300 Forty Frame Game, which is being held at the Track Showcase Lanes on the Stadium's ground floor.

"I've gotten support and help from some great people, and I've definitely done a lot of practicing," Dickey said. "It would mean a lot if we're able to win. It would great to see the hard work pay off."

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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.