RENO, Nev. - The United States Bowling Congress Open Championships has been bringing friends and families together on the tournament lanes since 1901. Many teams travel across the country to share in a one-of-a-kind experience and build memories that will last a lifetime.
This year, Wally's Pau Hana Club of Honolulu worked together to create a lasting memory by taking the Classified Team lead at the National Bowling Stadium on Friday.
Led by Roy Umehira's 643 series, Wally's Pau Hana Club grabbed the top spot by rolling games of 813, 829 and 933 for a 2,575 total, surpassing Adelmann Dentistry of North Miami, Fla., which took the lead earlier in the day with 2,504.
Umehira was joined by Russell Ho (537), Wallace Yamamoto (530), Bennett Yap (462) and Glenn Yokomichi (403).
The teammates were pleasantly surprised to find their score at the top of the leaderboard, and although they are not sure if it will hold until the end of the 2013 event, they are reveling in the moment. The 2013 USBC Open Championships began its 125-day run March 1 and will come to a close July 7.
"We've never been in this position before," said Yamamoto, who made his ninth Open Championships appearance. "We've had times when one or two of us have bowled well, but it's never clicked with all five of us. We try to balance our teams as best and evenly as possible. It's a fun tournament for us, no matter what."
The group attempts to make two annual excursions across the Pacific Ocean to compete in various bowling tournaments, including the Open Championships. As much as the team thrives on the competition, at the end of the day, it's all about enjoying the company they share.
"We call our group a bowling 'ohana,' or bowling family," said Yamamoto, a 65-year-old right-hander. "It's all about the camaraderie. That's what our team name means. Pau Hana represents the time after work when you come together to socialize and relax."
The group's crossing team, Stan's Pau Hana Club, also made its way up the standings, moving into fourth place in Classified Team with 2,472. Clifford Hirata led the way with 531 and teamed with Jay Hamai (502), Stanley Higashihara (501), Jay Mullen (496) and Iris Umehira (442).
Each year, teams come from all 50 states and several foreign countries to compete at the Open and Women's Championships.
Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.