LAS VEGAS – United States Bowling Congress Hall of Famer and USBC Gold coach Bill Spigner of Vernon Hills, Illinois, was surrounded by friends and family this week as he celebrated 50 years of participation at the USBC Open Championships.The 67-year-old right-hander has been recognized for many on- and off-lane bowling accomplishments, but he was surprised by the rush of emotion he felt Sunday at the South Point Bowling Plaza.”Well, this was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be when I was announced and got ready to speak,” said Spigner, who was induced into the USBC Hall of Fame in 2001. “It was hard to get back into the bowling mode, as I have been struggling with my own game the past couple of years due to some back surgeries, but I’m still out here and working through it.”
Spigner’s journey to 50 years at the Open Championships included a Team All-Events title in 1996 with Pollard’s Bowl of Versailles, Indiana, with a record score of 10,425 that still stands.
The record-setting team included Jerry Kessler and a trio of USBC Hall of Famers – Don Scudder, Ron Pollard and Rick Pollard – and at least three members of the group remained together for most the two decades following the win.
Following the 2014 tournament in Reno, Nevada, Spigner removed himself from the team, citing that he was not comfortable with his own game and didn’t want to hurt the team. It was a hard decision for any bowler, especially when that team still has the potential for success.
A variation of the Pollard’s Bowl team, which included Spigner, Scudder, Rick Pollard, Dave Welage and Alan Runkel, finished third in Regular Team at the 2011 Open Championships in Reno.
Spigner still is a member of their companion team, however, his 2017 team featured his son’s Jim and USBC Director Robert Spigner. His grandson, Judah, was close by.
“This was still a great time because I got to be on the lanes with my friends and both of my sons,” said Spigner, who received a plaque, chevron and diamond lapel pin to commemorate his entry into the tournament’s 50-Year Club. “I really enjoyed the experience out here, and even though I did not bowl very well, we all went down in flames together.”
This year at the South Point Bowling Plaza, Spigner rolled sets of 573 in singles, 541 in doubles and 510 in team for a 1,624 all-events total. In 50 years on the tournament lanes, he has knocked down 93,119 pins for a career average of 203.3.
Beyond the Open Championships, Spigner’s list of accomplishments includes three Professional Bowlers Association national titles and a stint as a bowling proprietor, while his success and dedication have earned him entry into six halls of fame.
Most recently, Spigner was one of seven coaches added to the Team USA bowling program.
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