Two area bowlers recently returned from Las Vegas, where each competed in their 50th US Congressional Bowling Open Championship.
Barry Gulden of Hanover and Keith Conley of York joined an elite group of 260 bowlers nationwide who achieved this rare feat. Bowlers received a plaque, diamond pin and chevron to commemorate the occasion.
Over the years, the national tournament has taken place in cities such as Las Vegas, Nevada; Syracuse, New York; Reno, Nevada; El Paso, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Billings, Montana; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
“It hurt last year when we had to cancel the tournament, but it felt good to be back this year,” said Gulden, who played his first USBC tournament in 1970 in Knoxville, Tennessee. “The recognition ceremony for your 50 years of participation is very exciting and special.”
Gulden said that once he hit 25 years of participation, he wanted to get to 30, and it went from there.
Part of the attraction of the national tournament, Gulden says, is the chance to travel to various cities across the country, play in different venues, compete with friends and meet new bowlers.
The Hanover bowler has averaged 173.9 for his 50 USBC tournaments.
“This is the highlight of my bowling career,” said Conley. “A lot of people can say they’ve played 50 perfect games or 50 800 series, but few can say they’ve played 50 domestic tournaments.”
Reaching the milestone hasn’t been easy for Conley, who has struggled with health issues over the years. But he promised his son years ago that he would try to achieve it.
“I never thought I would make it,” said Conley, who played his first USBC tournament in Cincinnati in 1968. “But, this year has been very special because my son (Jason) competed with me.”
The York right-hander has averaged 179.6 in his 50 USBC tournaments.
USBC Notes: Terry Brenneman of Dover took part in his 53rd USBC tournament earlier this month. Only 10 Pennsylvanians have played in more national tournaments.
The record for most USBC tournaments is 71. The mark is owned by William Doehrman, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Joe Norris, San Diego, California; and Sylvester Thiel, Lake City, Minnesota.
The USBC Open Championship was first held in 1901 in Chicago. It took place every year except 1943-45 and 2020.
Contact Barry Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org.