Michigan bowler reaches 50 consecutive years at USBC Open Championships

LAS VEGAS – Anthony Arbanas of Byron Center, Michigan, joined the 50-Year Club at the 2024 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships on Friday at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

The 69-year-old right-hander has competed in 25 cities and 17 states on his way to 50 consecutive tournament appearances, and he made his debut at the 1974 event in Indianapolis.

Arbanas made his ceremonial march out to the lanes alongside his wife, Mary Lynn, with family and friends also in attendance in Las Vegas as he received a plaque, chevron and diamond lapel pin to commemorate his consecutive years of participation at the tournament.

Leading up to his big day on the lanes, Arbanas had just practiced for the first time this year due to an injury, so making sure his health was in order became important.

“I was a little concerned leading up to the months getting here, and I just got around to practicing last week to make sure I would be able to bowl three games today,” Arbanas said. “I felt OK today and am glad I was able to get to the 50-year mark without letting this injury put it off until next year.”

While Arbanas was making his 50th consecutive appearance, he was joined by two other bowlers celebrating 50 years on his squad – Clarence Wallace of Freeport, Bahamas, and Chuck Lackey of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Getting to 50 years wasn’t always the plan for Arbanas, but bowling with his brother for 27 years and seeing the milestone plaques begin to add up helped increase the drive to get to 50.

“Once I got to 25 years, and then 30 years, I got the cool plaques that celebrated the achievements of attending the tournament, and I really wanted to get the 50th one after getting those,” Arbanas said. “Getting to bowl with my brother, David, for 27 years was also meaningful to me. Unfortunately, David passed on two years ago, so I like to think about the times we shared on the lanes. Still being able to bowl with my nephews is a great feeling to continue each year.”

Now that he has joined the 50-Year Club at the USBC Open Championships, Arbanas plans to continue bowling the tournament as long as he continues to stay healthy.

“If you can keep your legs healthy, that’s one of the biggest factors (at least in my situation) in being able to continue to bowl as you get up there in age,” Arbanas said. “After all these years, even if you don’t bowl well, at least you can say you had a good time on vacation.”

Arbanas finished his milestone appearance by competing in team and doubles, and in 50 years on the tournament lanes, he has knocked down 74,152 pins for a career average of 167.

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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