April 13, 2017

By Matt Cannizzaro and Brian Hirsch
USBC Communications

LAS VEGAS – Richard Hunt of Valparaiso, Indiana, and Jack Lear of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, added their names to the membership roster of the 50-year Club at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships as they celebrated five decades of tournament participation this week at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

Both gentleman traveled well over 1,700 miles to claim their spots in tournament history and are two of 23 bowlers scheduled to reach the milestone this year. They each received a plaque, chevron and diamond lapel pin to commemorate the achievement.

Hunt, a maintenance electrician by trade, always has made time for the USBC Open Championships. He started his journey in 1966 and only has only missed two events since.

“I enjoy this tournament every year, and it’s one of the biggest challenges in bowling,” said Hunt, a 70-year-old right-hander. “You have just nine games to come out here and do what you can. There are good years, and there are not so good years, but when it’s a good year, it feels great. To have done this for 50 years, it is incredible, and I feel so blessed to be here.”

Hunt particularly enjoys when he gets to bowl at the National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada.

This year in Las Vegas, the 2006-2007 Professional Bowlers Association Central Region Senior Player of the Year, rolled sets of 642 in singles, 518 in team and 464 in doubles for a 1,624 all-events total.

In 50 years on the championship lanes, Hunt has knocked down 86,106 pins for a career average of 195.2.

LearJack2017OCForWeb465x262Lear, a 68-year-old-right-hander and youth bowling coach for more than 20 years, started his journey to the 50-year Club at the 1967 event in Miami. He appeared each year until 2015, when he was unable to travel to the Open Championships for health reasons.

“It was back in 2015 when I was in the hospital for over a month,” Lear said. “I missed that year’s Open Championships, and it cost me, as last year would have been my 50th consecutive year.”

Lear bowls league at Nellie Fox Bowl in Chambersburg but enjoys getting out to the biggest stage in bowling every year for the Open Championships.

“When I was younger, I thought that just maybe, I could do something out here at the national tournament, but now, we use it a vacation and a getaway,” Lear said. “When looking back over the last 50 years of bowling the Open Championships, each year and each city was special.”

Lear finished his 2017 tournament campaign with 487 in singles, 484 in doubles and 469 in team for a 1,440 all-events total. In 50 tournaments, he has knocked down 82,518 pins for a career average of 185.8.

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