Kansas bowler makes emotional return to USBC Open Championships


    United States

    National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev. (Feb. 17 - June 30, 2007)

    A year has passed since Donald Bassett of Wichita, Kan., had a heart attack and nearly lost his life on the lanes at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, and the fully-recovered 68-year-old made an emotional return to the tournament Wednesday at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nev.

    Although it was his fourth trip to the Stadium and his 20th overall appearance at the USBC Open Championships, this year's march down Center Aisle was extra special because the woman who saved his life a year ago at the American Bank Center Exhibit Hall in Corpus Christi, Texas, was watching from the stands.

    Linda Mathes of Zanesville, Ohio, is the critical care nurse who rushed out of the bleachers when Bassett was complaining of chest pains during his singles competition last year. She quickly recognized the symptoms of a heart attack in progress and kept him calm until the Emergency Medical Services team arrived to administer CPR and transport him to the hospital.

    "I deal with those situations regularly in the hospital, but I wasn't sure how to respond on a bowling lane with no support staff around me," Mathes said. "I just did what I could until the paramedics arrived with the defibrillator."

    Since that day, Mathes has endured an entire year without knowing anything about Bassett's progress and recovery. In fact, the two didn't even know each other's names until they finally met face to face for the first time Wednesday.

    "It really touched me to watch Donald bowl this year," said Mathes, who was in Reno to watch her husband, Patrick, make his 29th tournament appearance. "There were a few moments when he just looked back at me and smiled. It really moved me, and I felt goose bumps."

    Open Championships employee Gary Harlan, also from Zanesville, was instrumental in introducing Bassett and Mathes to each other in front of a squad room full of bowlers when he realized they were at the tournament on the same day again this year.

    "Obviously the whole thing has been a life-changing experience," said Bassett, who shot 539 in singles, 485 in team and 458 in doubles for a 1,482 all-events total this year. "And it really was special to be recognized in front of everyone and to finally meet the woman who helped save my life."

    Thanks to a successful surgery where doctors fitted Basset with a pacemaker, his life and bowling career have returned to normal.

    "I'm clearly in much better shape now, but I still couldn't help but worry about bowling doubles and singles again," Bassett said. "But when it was all over, we joked about this year's trip being somewhat better than last year."

    Presenting sponsors for the 2007 USBC Open Championships are Eldorado, Silver Legacy and Circus Circus Hotel/Casinos in Reno, Nev. Other participating sponsors are Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Sands Regency Casino and Hotel, official brackets sponsor and supporting sponsors Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa and Harrah's Casino and Hotel.

    Top 10 division leaders with hometown and pinfalls:


    1, Vic Telemarketing 2 (Brian Boghosian, Ron Nelson Jr., Bill Webb, Bryan O'Keefe, Chris Viale), Westfield, Mass., 3,218. 2, Tom's Rhinoplasty, Newton, Iowa, 3,203. 3, Warrior Lanes, Des Moines, Iowa, 3,191. 4, Village Bowl 1, Mitchell, S.D., 3,175. 5, Team U S A, St. Louis, Mo., 3,167. 6, Team USA Support 5, Omaha, Neb., 3,148. 7, Team Boroff, Mansfield, Texas, 3,125. 8, Mark Weller Pro Shop, Coldwater, Mich., 3,123. 9, Lawn Lanes 2, Burbank, Ill., 3,118. 10, Hi Score North Starz 1, Minneapolis, 3,112.

    1, Derek Eoff, Greenfield, Wis./Richard Volhard, Rothschild, Wis., 1,467. 2, Ken Duffield, Madison, Wis./Chris Pounders, Sun Prairie, Wis., 1,463. 3, Darren Jones, Waldorf, Md./William Blaney III, Indian Head, Md., 1,424. 4, Brian Hoffman, Mount Horeb, Wis./Jay Heinzelman, Madison, Wis., 1,408. 5, James Augustine, Grand Forks, N.D./Ron Zutz, Warren, Minn., 1,402. 6, Tim Reinke/Darin Zanke, New Ulm, Minn., 1,393. 7, Chad Pierce, Flowery Branch, Ga./Randy Russell, Monroe, Ga., 1,386. 8, Mike Kruse/Mike Kruse Jr., Vermillion, S.D., 1,383. 9, George Kontos, Joliet, Ill./Paul Nicholas, Romeoville, Ill., 1,371. 10, Jake Monto, Walbridge, Ohio/Nick Stone, Toledo, Ohio, 1,367.

    1, Chip Aki, Nicholasville, Ky., 814. 2, Andrew Udahl, Elk Grove, Calif., 792. 3, Harry Banks Jr., Coal City, Ill., 782. 4, Justin Smith, Bluffton, S.C., 774. 5, Greg Brooks, Sturtevant, Wis., 758. 6, Jeremy Sonnenfeld, Sioux Falls, S.D., 751. 7, David Gift, Blandon, Pa., 748. 8, Rob Bolte, Verona, Pa., 746. 9, Daniel Falconi, Mexico City, 745. 10, Mike Miller, Rio Rancho, N.M., 739.

    1, Dede Davidson, Buellton, Calif., 2,118. 2, Mike Miller, Rio Rancho, N.M., 2,114. 3, Ken Duffield, Madison, Wis., 2,106. 4, Robert Spigner, Vernon Hills, Ill., 2,104. 5, Jeremy Sonnenfeld, Sioux Falls,S.D., 2,102. 6, Bill Webb, Enfield, Conn., 2,095. 7, Curtis Odom, Coldwater, Mich., 2,089. 8, Jerry Rapp, Grand Island, Neb., 2087. 9, Frederick Aki, Nicholasville, Ky., 2,081. 10, Derek Eoff, Greenfield, Wis., 2,075.

    Team All-Events
    1, Tom's Rhinoplasty (Dick Lankford, Eric Arnold, Jason Hale, Michael Miller, Matt Smith), Newton, Iowa, 9,764. 2, Team USA Support 5, Omaha, Neb., 9,755. 3, Vic Telemarketing 2, Westfield, Mass., 9,654. 4, Team Dirty, Madison, Wis., 9,619. 5, Village Bowl 1, Mitchell, S.D., 9,562. 6, Team U S A, St. Louis, Mo., 9,554. 7, Clone Huskers, Greenfield, Wis., 9,536. 8, Waynedale Bakery, Fort Wayne, Ind., 9,477. 9, Vic Telemarketing 3, Westfield, Mass., 9,451. 10, Joliet Town/Country Lanes 2, Joliet, Ill., 9,422.


    1, Galaxy-Dew's Crew (Dalton Kennedy, James Baker, Michael Eubanks, David Whitfield, Bob Poole), Kinston, N.C., 2,737. 2, Lake County Rollers 1, Clarissa, Minn., 2,719. 3, H & J Chevrolet, Kerman, Calif., 2,696. 4, Steel City Strikers, Rostraver, Pa., 2,675. 5, Marlleacres Dairy, Orland, Ill., 2,673. 6, Coral Lanes, Miller, S.D., 2,671. 7, Washington Volunteers, Everett, Wash., 2,664. 8, R&S Stevens Seed, Clarion, Iowa, 2,651. 9, Plattsburg Bowl, Plattsburg, Mo., 2,648. 10, Suburban Lanes, Meade, Kan., 2,638.

    1, Michael DiPaolo, Eighty Four, Pa./Donald Hughes, West Newton, Pa., 1,186. 2, Frank Goff Jr. and Issac Vidaurri, Kingsville, Texas, 1,181. 3, Jonathan Carter, Seven Springs, N.C./Freddie Marshall, Kinston, N.C., 1,173. 4, Ralph Johnson/Dave Dahl, Ada, Minn., 1,170. 5, Dave Engelkes, Arnolds Park, Iowa/Greg Rolling, Spirit Lake, Iowa, 1,167. 6 (tie), Tom Holland, Dayton, Minn./Ronald Mead, Rogers, Minn., and Charles Meyer/Dave Schneider, Alexandria, Minn., 1,156. 8, Mike Lovelace/Neil Zink, Fargo, N.D., 1,154. 9, Troy Drath, Altura, Minn./Alan Schroeder, Mount Vernon, S.D., 1,153. 10, Heath Shaffer, Haysville, Kan./Ron Ast, Hutchinson, Kan., 1,152.

    1, Ken Varner, Lexington, N.C., 664. 2, Rand Syverson, Onamia, Minn., 660. 3, Don Manhalter, Sterling, Colo., 652. 4, Robert Stephens, San Francisco, 650. 5, Joseph Paussa, Baldwinsville, N.Y., 649. 6, Ron Hester, Lexington, N.C., 635. 7, Brian Wright, Buckinghamshire, England, 633. 8, Marvin Clark, Aransas Pass, Texas, 631. 9, Jerry Stratman, Shelby, Mont., 628. 10, Roy Umehira, Honolulu, 627.

    1, Michael Tieden, Blaine, Minn., 1,809. 2, Anthony Kastle, Wilmington, N.C., 1,776. 3, Tate Ziglar, Lexington, N.C., 1,770. 4, Mike Godfrey, Meade, Kan., 1,762. 5 (tie), Marvin Clark, Aransas Pass, Texas, and Duane Silseth, Fargo, N.D., 1,751. 7, Donald Hughes, West Newton, Pa., 1,750. 8, Ken Varner, Lexington, N.C., 1,725. 9, Martin Rovella, Hollister, Calif., 1,723. 10 (tie), Bernie Schmitt, Big Lake, Minn., and Jerry Stratman, Shelby, Mont., 1,722.