By Wishelle Banks
RENO, Nev. - Scott Hartnell of Kenosha, Wis., has spent nearly three decades competing at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, and the experience has been doubly sweet since he's been able to bowl with his son, Derek.
Since the two now live in different cities, their time on the lanes at the USBC Open Championships has been as much about camaraderie as it has been about the competition.
This weekend, their time together also meant sharing the spotlight as the Regular Doubles leaders, following a 1,341 effort at the National Bowling Stadium on Saturday. Bo Johnson and Doug McHugh of Huron, S.D., previously held the lead with 1,300.
Derek Hartnell, a two-time All-American at Newman University and the Most Valuable Player for the 2009-10 collegiate bowling season, led the doubles surge with a 739 series, while Scott contributed a 602 set.
"It's a lot of fun," said Scott, a 50-year-old right-hander and 28-time Open Championships participant. "Now that Derek lives in Kansas, and I live in Kenosha, it's a nice five days together. We don't get to see each other as much or often, so it's enjoyable to get to bowl together and spend some time together."
As he has throughout his six-year Open Championships career, Derek saved his best performance for doubles, but added a 640 series in singles and 562 in team to move into sixth place in Regular All-Events with a 1,941 total. Richard Thomas of Middleton, Wis., leads with 2,051.
With his collegiate bowling days behind him, Derek, a 25-year-old right-hander, looks at the game a little differently, but he's still focused on having fun and performing to the best of his ability.
"Honestly, I've kind of taken a step back from competitive bowling," said Derek, who has averaged 221 in doubles at the Open Championships, compared to 212.7 in singles and 197.6 in team. "Ever since college, I don't bowl as consistently, just trying to do things and have fun with a lot of friends and old teammates. So, to come out here and bowl this well with my dad means the world to me. It's all about having fun."
The father and son share their time on the lanes with a talented group of Wisconsin bowlers, who regularly find their way onto the leaderboards at the Open Championships. The possibility of winning a title is a common thought.
This time, the Seliga's Pro Shop teammates left the NBS in third place in Team All-Events with a 9,073 total and seventh place in Regular Team with 2,943. Dykeman's Farm of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., leads Team All-Events with 9,119, while The Legend of Dung Ho of Cerritos, Calif., tops the team standings with 3,114.
"It would mean a lot to win an eagle," Derek said. "It's nice to be able to put together a team where everyone can mesh, and there isn't a lot ego going on. Where you kind of humble each other and give insight when needed. That's what it's going to take to win an eagle. I think I can speak for my dad here that winning an eagle would probably be the tip of the career, as far as a bowling standpoint."
Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.