Two bowlers celebrate 50 years at USBC Open Championships


    United States


    Joseph Egofske of Monee, Ill., and Don Larson of Fort Dodge, Iowa, (pictured l-r) didn't know each other before their team event at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on March 8, but they now share a spot in tournament history as each celebrated 50 years on the tournament lanes.

    Egofske was the first to make the ceremonial march down Center Aisle at the Baton Rouge River Center as he became the 144th bowler in 109 years of competition to reach the milestone. Larson wasn't far behind.

    "It was nice to be honored today," said Egofske, an 82-year-old right-hander, who made his Open Championships debut at the 1963 event in Buffalo, N.Y. "My wife was with me today, and she has been to at least 40 tournaments. We have driven to many over the years, and we drove this year, too."

    Egofske's 2012 Open Championships campaign ended with a 463 series in doubles, 426 in singles and 400 in team for 1,289. In his 50 years on the championship lanes, he has knocked down 75,518 pins for a 168 average.

    Larson got his Open Championships start in his home state in 1962 when the tournament was held in Des Moines, Iowa.

    He wanted a close-up look at the latest automatic pinsetters, which first were used at the Open Championships in 1957, since he recently had purchased Ridgewood Lanes and was interested in a potential upgrade.

    The 78-year-old right-hander enjoyed a 35-year career in the bowling business and has been even more dedicated to the Open Championships, which he can attribute to the support of his friends and teammates. He's now bowled with the same team for 25 years.

    "The ceremony was beautiful," said Larson, who had both of his knees replaced a few years ago and also is an avid tennis player. "I didn't expect anything like that, and it was really great. To get through prostate cancer, kidney stones and knee replacements and not miss a tournament, is pretty good. I've been really lucky. Plus, I got to share it with my teammates, who have been very loyal and great to me over the years, and that is special."

    This year on the lanes, Larson shot 405 in doubles, 394 in team and 382 in singles for a 1,181 all-events total. In 50 tournament appearances, he has knocked down 75,367 pins for a career average of 170.9.


    Early riser shoots second 300 of 2012 USBC Open Championships

    2012USBCOCAlPilon.jpgAl Pilon (pictured) of East Grand Forks, Minn., rolled the second 300 game of the 2012 USBC Open Championships.

    The early-riser was the first bowler in the Baton Rouge River Center on March 9. He didn't waste any time finding his groove and started the day with 12 consecutive strikes to earn his spot in the record books.

    Pilon added games of 182 and 207 for a 689 doubles series and teamed with Mark Ellington for a 1,251 total. Ryan Whitney of Lewisville, Texas, and Chris Hans of Rocky Mount, N.C., lead Regular Doubles with 1,420. Whitney tossed the event's other perfect game on the way into the lead in Regular Singles (773) and Regular All-Events (2,170).

    "I was a little nervous, but I felt good and thought I had a good line to the pocket," said Pilon, a 56-year-old right-hander, who made his 26th Open Championships appearance. "Seeing those pins go down was a great feeling. The 10 was the last to go, so I was a little scared. To shoot 300 here is such an honor."

    Pilon finished his 2012 tournament campaign with 600 in singles and 530 in team for a 1,819 all-events total.


    A look ahead

    2010USBCOCBillLillard.jpgThere are two exciting live stream broadcasts scheduled from the USBC Open Championships this week.

    On March 17 at 9:30 p.m. EDT, former Team USA members Amanda and Erik Vermilyea will lead their teams onto the lanes at the Baton Rouge River Center. The group is loaded with former collegiate, Team USA and Junior Team USA talent, including P.J. Haggerty, Shawn Ryan, Clay Herrbach, Jeff Mersch, Ronnie Sparks Jr., Matthew Tuckfield, Steve Novak and David O'Sullivan.

    On March 20 at 10:20 a.m. EDT, active pinfall leader Bill Lillard Sr. (pictured right) of Houston will hit the lanes under the bright lights of the live stream cameras and continue his chase of the all-time pinfall record.

    The USBC Hall of Famer and eight-time Open Championships titlist enters this year with 118,526 pins and needs 5,244 to catch fellow hall of famer Joe Norris, who toppled 123,770 pins in a record-tying 71 tournament appearances. Lillard will be competing for the 65th consecutive year. The broadcasts can be seen on or

    2012USBCOCLogo_small.jpg Sponsors for the 2012 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno. Other sponsors include the Belle of Baton Rouge, official brackets sponsor; Kegel, official lane maintenance provider; Humana, official registration sponsor; Bud Light and Budweiser, official beer sponsors; The Advocate, official publication sponsor; Brunswick, official lane provider; US Steltronic, official scoring system; Storm Bowling Products and Nationwide Insurance.


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    2012 USBC Open Championships - Regular Division

    Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall

    1, Nicholas J's Pro Shop 2 (Nick Heilman, Matt Mysliwiec, Greg Pizl, Trevor Yonan, Andy Mills), La Crosse, Wis., 3,401. 2, Nicholas J's Pro Shop, La Crosse, Wis., 3,204. 3, Bud Light Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wis., 3,154. 4, Bob's Custom Decks, Romeoville, Ill., 3,144. 5, Solid9proshop 1, Taylorville, Ill., 3,134. 6, Super Bowl Appleton, Kaukuana, Wis., 3,110. 7, Houges 3, Greenville, Wis., 3,099. 8, Ewash Men, Yakima, Wash., 3,095. 9, Legend of Dung Ho, Cerritos, Calif., 3,088. 10, Seliga's Pro Shop, Kenosha, Wis., 3,042.

    1, Chris Hans, Rocky Mount, Fla./Ryan Whitney, Lewisville, Texas, 1,420. 2, Paul Marmolejo, Rialto, Calif./Alex Marmolejo, Alta Loma, Calif., 1,398. 3, David Meyer, Staatsburg, N.Y./Steve Ferraro, Kingston, N.Y., 1,363. 4, Robert Raymond/Jay Nephew, Oakland Park, Fla., 1,360. 5, Jeremy Crist, Bemus Point, N.Y./Jeff Wadsworth, Lakewood, N.Y., 1,347. 6, Michael Tucker, Las Vegas/John Mongillo, Long Beach, Fla., 1,345. 7, Richard Thomas, Middleton, Wis./William Gray, Columbus, Ind., 1,344. 8, Danny Smith, Lawrenceville, Ga./Darin Belsito, Oakwood, Ga., 1,343. 9, Rod Neuenschwander, Sartell, Minn./Eric George, Waite Park, Minn., 1,329. 10, Michael Lichstein, Broad Brook, Conn./Larry Lichstein, Fort Myers, Fla., 1,296.

    1, Ryan Whitney, Lewisville, Texas, 773. 2, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 763. 3, Vayle Floria, Cerritos, Calif., 755. 4, Robert Baldwin, State College, Pa., 751. 5(tie), Michael Tucker, Las Vegas, and Kevin Reinhardt, Schaumburg, Ill., 742. 7, Tim Burnett, Rushville, N.Y., 739. 8, Michael Daniels, Slidell, La., 734. 9, Michael Williams II, Montgomery, Ala., 727. 10, Phil Cummings, Sheboygan, Wis., 721.

    1, Ryan Whitney, Lewisville, Texas, 2,170. 2, Nick Heilman, La Crosse, Wis., 2,121. 3, Camden Rokita, Springfield, Ill., 2,080. 4, Michael Tucker, Las Vegas, 2,078. 5, Jeff Wadsworth, Lakewood, N.Y., 2,052. 6, Vayle Floria, Cerritos, Calif., 2,034. 7, Tim Burnett, Rushville, N.Y., 2,017. 8, Stephen Hardy, Manchester, N.H., 2,007. 9, Barry Zimmerman, Grand Forks, N.D., 1,999. 10, Chris VanAkkeren, Clinton, Wis., 1,993.

    Team All-Events
    1, Legend of Dung Ho (Vayle Floria, Douglas Svela, Scott Poddig, John Mongillo, Michael Tucker), Cerritos, Calif., 9,666. 2, Nicholas J's Pro Shop #2, La Crosse, Wis., 9,632. 3, Bud Light Sheboygan, Sheboygan, Wis., 9,267. 4, Don Carter Line, Broad Brook, Conn., 9,254. 5, Solid9proshop 1, Taylorville, Ill., 9,235. 6, Sign Producers 1, Winter Garden, Fla., 9,188. 7, Strike Painting 1, Sartell, Minn., 9,157. 8, Dykemans Farm, Pleasant Valley, N.Y., 9,134. 9, Ewash Men, Yakima, Wash., 9,115. 10, Before The first Frame, Rocky Mount, N.C., 9,114.


    2012 USBC Open Championships - Classified Division

    Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfall

    1, K Lines 2 (Ron Turner, Dan Redding, Lyle Harrison, Andy Owens, Todd Langel), Gildford, Mont., 2,658. 2, Lani Ohana, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2,650. 3, Schmidt Motors, Ogallala, Neb., 2,621. 4, Bluedog Blazers, Webster, S.D., 2,553. 5, Easy Five, Palmyra, Neb., 2,588. 6, Wafflers, Romeoville, Ill., 2,568. 7, FCA, Ogallala, Neb., 2,561. 8(tie), Country Boys, Stickney, S.D., and Northern Grain One, N Kansas City, Mo., 2,553. 10, B V Construction, Lake Park, Iowa, 2,550.

    1, Randy Tennant, Onida, S.D./Tim Luken, Gettysburg, S.D., 1,231. 2, Paul Reker, New Ulm, Minn./Norman Skarphol, Madelia, Minn., 1,163. 3, Kristine Kreuser, Wayne, Ill./Keith White, Gurnee, Ill, 1,153. 4, Chris Nygaard, Boyd, Minn./Tim Anderson, Montevideo, Minn., 1,124. 5, Bill Adolph/Matt Adolph, Kimball, Minn., 1,114. 6, Jeanne Schmid, St. Michael, Minn./Dean Schmidt, South Haven, Minn., 1,110. 7, Betty Elliott, Spring Valley, Minn./Kenneth Humpal, Calmar, Iowa, 1,097. 8, Karla Coon, Dawson, Minn./Doug Blood, Montevideo, Minn., 1,096. 9, Christopher Guza, Minden, Mich./Anthony Guza, Ubly, Mich., 1,092. 10, Dale Lieungh, Kenosha, Wis./Frank Laboda Jr., Racine, Wis., 1,085.

    1, Joel Fee, Pella, Iowa, 655. 2, Dennis Hanson, Harbor Beach, Mich., 640. 3, Sheldon Goldberg, Hollywood, Fla., 607. 4, Randy Tennant, Onida, S.D., 605. 5, Dondi Pratt, Eufaula, Okla. 598. 6, Bob Dorn, Little Falls, Minn., 597. 7, Justin McNett, Lena, Ill., 593. 8, Tony Wheaton, Port Washington, Wis., 591. 9, Daniel Callahan, Las Vegas, 588. 10(tie), Bryan Green, Springdale, Ark., and Kevin Stark, Buffalo Lake, Minn., 587.

    1, Paul Schrubbe, Horicon, Wis., 1,742. 2, Sheldon Goldberg, Hollywood, Fla., 1,739. 3, Mike Raburn, Cleveland, Tenn., 1,676. 4, Ken Valenzuela, Brighton, Colo., 1,673. 5, Paul Reker, New Ulm, Minn., 1,658. 6, Bridget Riley, Baton Rouge, La., 1,654. 7, John Stolarski, Waterford, Mich., 1,650. 8(tie), Joel Fee, Pella, Iowa, and Anthony Masters, Monroe, La., 1,649. 10(tie), Richard Maurer, Harbor Beach, Mich., Chris Nygaard, Boyd, Minn., and Mark Heilman, Kasota, Minn., 1,641.