LAS VEGAS – Duane Carlson of Brandon, Mississippi, lists Las Vegas as his favorite United States Bowling Congress Open Championships host city, and he was excited for the opportunity to share the glitz and glamour with his sons, who made their first visit to the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Carlson ended up stealing the show, however, as he made his way into the spotlight Wednesday at the South Point Bowling Plaza to be recognized for his 50th USBC Open Championships appearance.
The 75-year-old right-hander, who started his tournament career at the 1965 event in St. Paul, Minnesota, knew this would be a special year for him, following his milestone birthday in December, and he wanted to keep that celebratory momentum going.
“For me, it is a milestone I have always dreamed to getting to here at the Open Championships,” Carlson said. “I have just turned 75, and to have 50 years at this tournament within the same year is a blessing and very meaningful.”
With Las Vegas and the new Bowling Plaza on the horizon, Carlson made the tough decision to sit out the 2016 Open Championships at the one-of-a-kind National Bowling Stadium in Reno, Nevada, allowing for the 2017 tournament to be even more special for him and his family.
Along with his immediate family, Carlson also had some extended family with him at the Bowling Plaza. He bowled with a group of five teams this year, with his sons bowling together on one of them.
“I knew my 50th year was coming up, and I have been to Reno a few times, but my boys who were bowling on one of the five teams I brought, have never been to Las Vegas,” Carlson said. “So, I skipped last year. We are going to have a great time sharing this experience together.”
The self-proclaimed “quiet guy” was a little emotional as he and his wife made the walk down to the lanes Wednesday for his 50th Open Championships appearance.
“This was very emotional for me, as I am a quiet guy and a team bowler, but to have all the bowlers clapping for me was very humbling,” said Carlson, who received a plaque, chevron and diamond lapel pin to commemorate the milestone. “It is such an honor to be recognized. Not just for myself, but for my wife as well. It was great that she could walk down with me for my 50th.”
Now retired, Carlson can be found bowling in leagues with friends and family at Brandon’s Fannin Lanes. That keeps him ready for the Open Championships, where along with the bowling, he also enjoys traveling to different cities.
“After 50 tournaments and many wonderful host cities along the way, I would say that the 1969 Open Championships in Madison, Wisconsin, also is among the best memories I have of the tournament. It was the closest one to where I lived, and it was so close that friends and family could come and watch us bowl.”
This year on the championship lanes, Carlson rolled sets of 526 in team, 491 in singles and 440 in doubles for a 1,457 all-events total. In 50 tournament appearances, he has knocked down 85,174 pins for a career average of 190.5.
Carlson is one of 23 bowlers scheduled to celebrate five decades of participation this year in Las Vegas.
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