LAS VEGAS –On the way to his lanes at the 2017 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Tuesday night, Dennis Lane of Kingsport, Tennessee, realized he was right where he belonged.
Lane was the center of attention at the South Point Bowling Plaza as he made his 50th appearance at the USBC Open Championships, and he savored every moment of the ceremonial march, which took place in front of his teammates and hundreds of fellow bowlers and guests.
Getting to do something for 50 years takes determination and a solid support group. It also means a lot of flying or driving.
Now that Lane has reached one coveted milestone at the Open Championships, he already is focused on another – joining the event’s elite 100,000-Pin Club.
“The good lord got me through the good and bad times as we made it to 50 years,” said Lane, a 69-year-old right-hander. “After getting through bowling the way I did and making some silly mistakes due to the issues with my arm, I can look back on the last 50 years knowing I have bowled well over that time.”
One does not come to the Open Championships for five decades without making friends along the way, and one of his good friends, USBC Hall of Famer Bill Spigner of Vernon Hills, Illinois, made his own entry into the 50-Year Club at the Open Championships on Sunday.
“Bill Spigner, who just had his 50-year celebration the other day, and I bowled doubles in the Classic Division, as well as other events together, so we are much more than friends,” Lane said. “Anyone that gets into a hall of fame will always be looked up to.”
After a little rest from his 2017 Open Championships campaign, Lane again will hit the lanes in Las Vegas, this time for the 2017 Super Senior Classic at the nearby Sam’s Town Bowling Center from June 1-4.
Based on his performance there, he will consider also competing in the USBC Senior Masters and Professional Bowlers Association’s Senior U.S. Open, also in Las Vegas.
Outside of bowling, Lane also intends to enjoy all that The Entertainment Capital of the World has to offer.
“My wife is here until Saturday, so we will check out some shows,” said Lane, whose first Open Championships appearance came at the 1968 event in Cincinnati. “I will have a little down time, so I will try to get in a few rounds of golf, too. The clubs are coming out, and I’m looking to wear them out by the end of summer.”
This year at the South Point Bowling Plaza, Lane rolled sets of 655 in singles, 582 in doubles and 511 in team for a 1,748 all-events total. In 50 years on the tournament lanes, he has knocked down 92,293 pins for a career average of 204.6.
When the 2017 Open Championships concludes, Lane is expected to top the tournament’s lifetime average list for competitors with at least 50 years of participation.
“That’s one thing to be proud of out here,” Lane said. “I have never gotten an Eagle, but I do have a second and third and a few top 10s. I know that in time, it will be broken, but for now it’s a great feeling.”
When not throwing a ball, Lane focuses on his roles as a bowling proprietor and USBC Silver coach.
His continued success and dedication to the sport has earned him places in the Kingsport Bowling Association and Tennessee State USBC Bowling Association Halls of Fame. He also owns one Professional Bowlers Association national title and four PBA regional titles.
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