RENO, Nev. - Shannon Dins of Fitchburg, Wis., has stepped up and delivered in the final frame with everything on the line in the past, and he relied on that experience as he rolled the first perfect game of the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
The 38-year-old right-hander started his team event at the National Bowling Stadium on Friday with a 191 game before firing 12 consecutive strikes to earn his place in tournament history. Dins finished his set with 153 for a 644 series and helped Bhoff's Buds of Madison, Wis., to a 3,021 team total, which is just outside the top 10 in Regular Team.
As the strikes began to pile up, Dins was reminded of a 300 game he rolled in 2003 during the Badgerland 300 Club Shootout at Schwoegler Park Towne Lanes in Madison, which earned him a $10,000 bonus.
"I showed up that day and ended up on the same lane as Marc McDowell, who I used to watch on TV on Saturday afternoons while I was bowling junior leagues," said Dins, who made his 14th USBC Open Championships appearance. "In the second game, he had a bunch in a row, so I figured he was making a run at it. I ended up being the one who followed through, got the deal done and won the $10,000. Today had a very similar feeling. Chris Pounders even mentioned it during the streak, and that helped with visualization and confirmation to keep going."
Dins made sure to keep a rhythm going as he made his run at perfection. Several of his friends and fellow competitors from the Madison area have rolled perfect games at the Open Championships, so he was honored to add his name to the exclusive list.
"I just kept working through the mental aspect and tried to keep calm," Dins said. "I had a song going through my head, made sure to dry my hand and just focused on the process and execution. A couple of the guys already have one at nationals, so to join them and get my name associated with the history of this tournament is exciting."
Dins also had some inspiration from home as a note from his 5-year-old son, Ryan, helped calm the nerves as he became the 771st bowler in 110 years of Open Championships competition to shoot 300.
"I have two kids at home, Ryan and Trevor, and Ryan left me a little note before I left saying he was going to miss me," said Dins, who bowls league at Ten Pin Alley and Village Lanes. "I had that in my pocket, and it helped me relax a little bit, so it was really nice."
One pair of lanes away from the excitement of Dins' perfect game, Madison's Team Dirty put together games of 1,062, 1,025 and 1,087 to move into the Regular Team lead with a 3,174 total. Action Realty 2 of Fargo, N.D., previously held the lead with 3,152.
Pounders led the way for Team Dirty with a 725 set and was joined by Heath Haug (678), Heinzelman (597), Brian Hoffman (591) and Brent Ritchie (583).
The talented team has seen its name at the top of the Open Championships leaderboard in previous years, which is a product of preparation. This year, that included a practice session on the 900 Global Showcase Lanes located on the first floor of the NBS.
"We all sat down and had a game plan from the get go," said Pounders, who made his 13th tournament appearance. "We set up our teams the best we could to match up. We made sure to stay as far right as we could during practice, nothing past the second arrow, and just keep hammering that area until we had to start moving in. We worked really well as a team all night."
Although they felt like they let a bigger score slip away, the members of Team Dirty were happy to set the pace.
"We're just happy to shoot 3,000 anytime we come out here," said Pounders, who finished third in Regular Doubles with Ken Duffield at the 2007 event. "A 3,100 total is good, and 3,174 is even better, but we left a lot out there."
The Showcase Lanes also saw some excitement Friday evening as Mark Runson of Macomb, Mich., Bob Fisher II of Taylor, Mich., and Joey Saccucci of Eastpointe, Mich., rolled the first Baker 300 game at the Who's Got the Look Baker Bonanza presented by 900 Global.
The new side event gives three-member teams the chance to bowl five Baker games, with the team getting to decide who bowls the 10th frame. Each member must assume the role at least once, and Saccucci was selected to deliver the final three shots with perfection on the line.
"I actually wasn't expecting to bowl anchor that game," Saccucci said. "I was ready to high-five Mark and tell him to go get it, but he gave me a look, so I had to step up. I just wanted to make a couple of good shots. I'm glad I could come through for the team."
The trio finished the event with a five-game total of 1,188, which is leading the 600 & Above category. The other average-based divisions at the Baker Bonanza are 526-599 and 525 & Below.
Presenting sponsors for the 2013 USBC Open Championships include Circus Circus Reno, Eldorado Hotel Casino Reno and Silver Legacy Resort Casino Reno.