by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
This is the time of year when thousands of bowlers travel thousands of miles to participate in the USBC National Open Tournament. I think that it is obvious that the tournament attracts more participants when it is held in the great state of Nevada. But in some years it is in cities that are not normally tourist attractions. For example, I believe it was in St. Paul in 1965. More recently there were tournaments in Albuquerque, Syracuse, and a big barn in Billings Montana where I did pretty well.
However, out of hundreds of thousands of participants over the past century, can you believe that only 22 bowlers have scored over 100,000 total pins in the history of the tournament. PBA member Bill Lillard Leads the pack presently at 124,087 and Hall of Famer Dick Weber stands in 8th place at 114,297. Minnesota’s own Syl Thiel of Lake City made it to 6th place at 114,297, and my good friend Bud Johnson from Crystal, currently in 12th place at 105,512 will be adding to that incredible total this year. So my Benilde High School math tells me that nearly 10 per cent of bowlers in the USBC (formerly known as ABC) National tournament history that have over a 100,000 pins scored in their career are from the great state of Minnesota.
But WAIT !! My friend and pro shop owner from Flaherty’s bowling center in Arden Hills will be on his way to Las Vegas to participate in his 58th USBC Open. What you may not know is that he is heading out there with a total pinfall history of 98,789. Mike Schmid has been a consistently excellent bowler for years and it is obvious that he will eclipse the 100,000 pin mark in 2019. I am told they stop everything going on and make a presentation which Mike certainly deserves !! Congratulations Mike Schmid !!
So the obvious question is who might be next ? I learned recently that Smilin’ Carl Fietek just participated in his 35th consecutive USBC national tournament. Stay healthy, Carl, and get on the list with Syl, Bud, and Mike !!