Lodge Lanes Too Breaks Record
It’s been said that records are made to be broken. In the case of the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, it took 20 years and one pin for the highest team series to fall.
Lodge Lanes Too, bowling out of Orlando, Fla., rolled the highest team series in USBC Open history on April 2 in Reno, Nev. Their 3,538 total was one pin better than the previous record holder, Bruegger’s Bagels of Albany, N.Y., who rolled 3,537 in 1993.
“We didn’t come in expecting to break any records,” said John Gaines, a three-time USBC champion and District Sales Manager for Ebonite International. “Our goal was simple: to get as many pins as we could.”
Leading the way was former US Amateur Champion Vernon Peterson, who rolled a 772 three-game series. Two-time Open Championships winner John Janawicz followed with 752, and rolled the final three strikes to cap the record total.
“By the time we did the math, Vernon was done in the 10th and John didn’t even know what he needed to break the record,” said Gaines. “We knew that we were on pace to overtake the previous lead, and our focus was on getting every pin possible.”
Gaines, a former US Amateur Champion himself, rounded out the scoring with 681. Mitch Jabczenski, the 1987 Team All-Events champion, followed with 669, and Professional Bowlers Association Tour titlist Scott Newell, 664. Lodge Lanes Too recorded team games of 1,206, 1,167 and 1,165 to break the record.
“Our focus was on bowling and making good shots,” Gaines said. “We didn’t allow our surroundings and the gravity of the event overwhelm us. It was the same 60 feet to the head pin and 10 pins on the lane.”
Lodge Lanes Too’s companion team, HammerBowling.com, moved into ninth place in Regular Team with a 3,247 total on games of 1,033, 1,127 and 1,087. Mike Sealy set the pace for HammerBowling.com with a 686 series and was followed by Jeff Ussery (665), Matt Gilman (645), Shawn Lee, (633) and Keith Nolan (618).
Of the 10 players on the pair, seven started with the Hammer Arson Low Flare. The ball’s Max-Control Reactive Pearl cover and modified low RG Arson core was designed to give users control on tournament conditions. When the lane condition transitioned, many opted for balls in the Hammer Vibe series.
“I’ve never been able to find a good reaction with an asymmetrical bowling ball at USBC,” said Gaines. “The Arson Low Flare and Vibe gave us a great reaction, and our equipment gave us a consistent read on the lanes.”
Gaines says that his team’s success comes back to the original Lodge Lanes teams that won the Team All-Events title in 1997 and 1998.
“Bob Goike taught me everything I need to know about how to compete at USBC,” said Gaines. “He taught me that the main goal was to control the 3 pin. Never give away the three pin. You can curve the ball all you want, but it’s tough to hook it and get a big score.”
It is with reverence and respect that Gaines speaks about the USBC tournament. His hope is that he can not only share the joy of winning a USBC Eagle, but also the thrill of breaking an esteemed bowling record.
“It’s humbling to think about it,” he said. “In 110 years, how many teams have competed in the tournament? Think about guys like Joe Norris, Dick Weber, Earl Anthony, and all the greats who have bowled in this tournament. To try and put it all in perspective puts me at a loss for words.”
Gaines says that his goal every year is to have his picture taken by the tournament staff before he leaves the event site.
“If they take your picture before you leave, you’ve done something right,” he said. “So my goal is to bowl well enough to have them take our photo.”
Even with the big score, Gaines knows that it just makes the Lodge Lanes Too team a target for the rest of the field.
“We haven’t won anything yet. There are a lot of good teams that haven’t bowled yet, and the tournament runs into July. So until it actually happens, we’ve had a good tournament. A good tournament becomes a historic tournament when it’s all over.”
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