Alabama bowler reaches 50 years at 2024 USBC Open Championships

LAS VEGAS – James Daniel of Dadeville, Alabama, participated at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships for the 50th time in his career Saturday, becoming the first bowler to reach the milestone during the 2024 event at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

The 83-year-old right-hander was emotional during his march out to the lanes, as he was surrounded by family while receiving a chevron, plaque and diamond lapel pin to commemorate his longevity at the tournament.

This year’s event was more significant than the usual bowling tradition to Daniel as he dedicated this special moment in memory of his grandson, David, who unexpectedly passed away last year.

“This year was going to be David’s 22nd time participating at the Open Championships, and we bowled today with him in our memories and hearts,” Daniel said.

Daniel made his USBC Open Championships debut in 1970 at the event in Knoxville, Tennessee, and has made it a tradition to continue traveling to the tournament each year since 1981.

“Through the years, I really loved traveling to all the cities you normally wouldn’t get to see if it wasn’t for this tournament, such as Billings, Montana, and Niagara Falls,” Daniel said. “I do enjoy coming to (Las) Vegas and Reno still, and the drive to Baton Rouge next year will be nice and easy for me living only a few states away.”

One of Daniel’s proudest achievements through his years of competing at the tournament has been passing along the love of bowling at the Open Championships to his family.

“With my 50 years, my son Kenny’s 42 years, daughter Tamara’s 28 years, son-in-law Lowell’s 15 years and my late grandson David’s 21 years, we have more than 150 years of bowling in the tournament, and I am most proud of being able to share that,” said Daniel, who plans on continuing to bowl the tournament with hopes of reaching 55 and 60 years. “Well, my next goal is to get to 55 years, and keep coming until I get to 60 years. With my family’s support, I think I can reach that goal.”

Daniel closed out his 50th appearance with a 417 series in team, 382 in doubles and 397 in singles for an all-events total of 1,196. He now has a career pinfall of 70,668 at the Open Championships for a career average of 157.

A total of 24 bowlers are expected to reach 50 years at the 2024 event. Heading into the 2024 Open Championships, 332 bowlers had secured their spot in the tournament’s 50-Year Club.

The 2024 Open Championships got underway Feb. 23 and will run through July 29 at the South Point Bowling Plaza. The tournament is scheduled to feature more than 11,000 teams and 55,000 bowlers making their way to compete in Las Vegas.

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