York County bowlers join elite group after each competes in 50th USBC Open Championship
Two area bowlers recently returned from Las Vegas, where each competed in his 50th United States Bowling Congress Open Championship.
Barry Gulden of Hanover and Keith Conley of York joined an elite group of 260 bowlers nationwide who have achieved the rare accomplishment. The bowlers received a plaque, a diamond lapel pin and a chevron to commemorate the occasion.
Over the years, the national tournament has been held 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 competed in his first USBC tournament in 1970 in Knoxville, Tennessee. "The ceremony recognizing your 50 years of participation is very exciting and special."
Gulden said once he got to 25 years of participation, he wanted to get to 30, and, it went from there.
The chance to travel to various cities across the country, bowl at different venues, compete with friends and meet new bowlers are part of the appeal of the national tournament, according to Gulden.
The Hanover bowler has averaged 173.9 for his 50 USBC tournaments.
"This is the highlight of my bowling career," Conley said. "A lot of people can say they have bowled 50 perfect games or 50 800 series, but not many bowlers can say they've competed in 50 national tournaments."
Reaching the milestone wasn't easy for Conley, who battled 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 competed in his first USBC tournament in Cincinnati in 1968. "But, this year was extra 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 competed in his 53rd USBC tournament earlier this month. Only 10 Pennsylvanians have bowled in more national tournaments.
The record for most USBC tournaments is 71. The mark is held 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 has been held every year except for 1943-45 and 2020.
Reach Barry Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org.