April 2018 - www.bowlingworld.com 29 Ohio Bowler Becomes First To Reach 50 Years At 2018 USBC Open Championships By Christine Nichols a nd Aaron Smith SYRACUSE, N.Y . - As he made his way into the history books at the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Open Champion- ships, Richard Burdick of Conneaut, Ohio, realized how special his third trip to Syra- cuse would be as he became the first bowler of the year to reach 50 years of tournament participation. The 90-year-old right-hander is the first of 15 competitors scheduled to reach the plateau this year at the Oncenter Conven- tion Center, and he received a plaque, chevron and diamond lapel pin to com- memorate his milestone. Burdick made his tournament debut at the 1968 tournament in Cincinnati, and he has made his annual trek to the event each year since 1973, which also was one of the event's five visits to Syracuse. Burdick basked in the spotlight Tuesday night as he was escorted to the middle of the 48-lane venue by his son, and he savored every moment as he was cheered on by teammates, family and fellow competitors. Although Burdick may not have started his USBC Open Championships career until he approached his 40s, he has been lucky enough to bowl with the same group of teammates through the majority of his career. "I always have fun with these guys," Burdick said. "And I'm always out to bowl for fun. It gets me out of the house." Burdick always has been around the sport, and his first job was working at a bowling center setting pins. Now, he can reflect on the many highlights as he joins an elite group of participants at the Open Championships. Heading into the 2018 event, 226 bowlers had reached the 50-year milestone in 114 years of tournament history. "Bowling is a lot of fun," Burdick said. "I've created many great memories and made many lifelong friends through the sport." In his 50th appearance, Burdick finished with sets of 407 in doubles, 350 in singles and 323 in team for a 1,080 all-events total. In his tournament career, Burdick has compiled a total pinfall of 71,900, a 164.1 average. Scratch Open Doubles 50+ And 49 Under At West Valley Bowl First I would like to thank all the bowlers that made the trip to West Valley Bowl for the 50 and older and 49 and under scratch doubles. A special Thanks to Mr. Len Nicholson f or his help in setting up the pattern for the bowlers. We had 15 teams and we paid 4 spots. 1st place was Freddy Irvin 1 355 & Wayne Garber 1 288 for a total of 2643 for $900, 2nd place was Craig Donaldson 1 313 & Eric Buckley 1268 for a total of 2581 for $600. 3rd place was Mark Mazzulla 1309 Jerry Kennedy 1 268 for a total of 2580 for $300. 4th was place Chris Preble13 25 & Riely Chin 1210 for a total of 2535 for $220. A special thanks to my wife Aida Jauregui-Cowen f or helping me with the computer work and Beth Sandersfo r doing a great job at the desk and Nolan Eilers and Regina Baggie working the the lanes and as porters. Thanks again to everyone that bowled for making this Tournament a success. Final Results 1. Freddy Irvin/Wayne Garber $900 2. Craig Donaldson/Eric Buckley $600 3. Mark Mazzulla/Jerry Kennedy $300 4. Chris Preble/Riely Chin $200 Wisconsin Doubles Partners Celebrate 50 Years At 2018 USBC Open Championships By Matt Cannizzaro a nd Christine Nichols SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Charles Johnston and Bob Ruhland both hail from the state of Wisconsin, and they had another thing in common this week as they shared the spotlight at the 2018 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships. The longtime friends were honored at the Oncenter Convention Center as they became the latest members of the tournament's 50-Year Club. Johnston, of Madison, Wisconsin, was the first to make the milestone march to the lanes, accompanied by his wife, Janice The pair then waited excitedly as Ruhland, of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, made his way to the center of the 48-lane venue, escorted by his wife, Luanne, and son, Matthew. Each bowler received a plaque, chevron and diamond lapel pin to commemorate the milestone. The 82-year-old Johnston started his USBC Open Championships career at the 1968 event in Cincinnati and hasn't missed a tournament since 1973. Ruhland, 70, made his debut in their home state at the 1969 event in Madison, Wisconsin. Both competitors enjoyed the opportunity to address the large crowd of bowlers, friends and family gathered at the Oncenter Convention Center. "I would be remiss if I didn't thank God for keeping me alive, so I could cherish this moment with each and every one of you," Johnston said. Ruhland thanked his friends and family for supporting him for the last five dec- ades, but he also noted how special it was to be able to share the moment with Johnston. "Chuck and I have been bowling together for 47 of the 50 years, and although we missed a few years, we achieved this milestone together," Ruhland said. Syracuse already had a special place in Johnston's career as the city where he rolled the highest doubles series of his career, a 633 effort in 1999. He also considers the 1996 event in Salt Lake City as his most memorable tour- nament because that's where he rolled career-bests in team (705), singles (681) and all-events (1,985). Ultimately, though, it's the camaraderie that kept Johnston returning to the Open Championships. "This accomplishment means so much to me," said Johnston, who still bowls in three leagues and competes at Madison's Bowl-A-Vard Lanes. "I have been able to bowl with my close friends over the years, which makes it incredibly special." Ruhland had similar feelings about the people he's competed with and met along the way being responsible for so many memories, friendships and the desire to continue the journey. "I have made so many friends over the course of my 50 years at this tournament from all across the country, and I still keep in touch with some friends through Facebook," said Ruhland, who also bowls at Bowl-A-Vard Lanes. "A good friend of mine I met many years back lives in Maine and reached out to me wishing me luck and congratulating me on my recent achievement." Among Ruhland's favorite on-lane achievements at the Open Championships are a string of five consecutive all-events totals over 1,800 from 1975-1979, and a second-place finish in singles in 1975 with 719. The winning score that year was 756. "I shot the 719 back in March and thought there was no way it would hold up for the entire tournament," Ruhland said. "Every couple of days, I would check the paper to see how people were bowling. There were a lot of 718s and 717s, and to my surprise, I ended up taking second." Along with their time together at the Open Championships, Ruhland and Johns- ton also were enshrined together in the Madison Area USBC Association Hall of Fame in 1993. This year on the tournament lanes, Ruhland posted sets of 503 in doubles, 492 in singles and 449 in team for a 1,444 all-events total, giving him a lifetime pinfall total of 82,150, a 182.5 average. Johnston rolled sets of 419 in team, 391 in singles and 380 in doubles for a 1,190 total, bringing his career pinfall to 80,732, a 179.4 career average.