2022 USBC Open Championships underway in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – Having to wait an entire year to be back on the lanes at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships is an aspect of the event that allows the excitement and anticipation to build for tens of thousands of bowlers annually.

Whether they’re looking to continue the momentum of a successful performance or earn some redemption on the biggest stage in bowling, many begin the countdown to next year as soon as their nine games are complete.
The waiting period ended Saturday for the first of more than 47,000 bowlers headed to the South Point Bowling Plaza this year for the 118th edition of the storied tournament.

The 2022 USBC Open Championships kicked off its 129-day run at the 60-lane facility with a formal opening ceremony and the year’s first team squad, featuring 48 teams representing 26 cities and 15 states.

Prior to the first strikes and spares being marked on the venue’s vast scoreboards, the 240 competitors, their friends and families, bowling fans and guests were treated to the introduction of Joe Bowler 2022, comedic stylings of Brian McKim, traditional Mass Ball Shot Ceremony and well wishes from local and industry dignitaries.

This year marks the event’s sixth trip to Las Vegas and fourth stop at South Point, where it was held in 2017, 2019 and 2021. Nearby Cashman Center played host in 1986 and 2009. This also is the third time in history the tournament has returned to the same host city in consecutive years.

2022 Open Championships Mass Ball ShotThe 2022 event will run daily until July 18, and champions will be determined in team, doubles, singles and all-events in three average-based divisions. Coveted Eagle trophies also will be awarded for Team All-Events, given to the top overall five-player team across nine games.

One lucky participant on Saturday’s squad was the first to cash in at the 2022 Open Championships, as Ryan Swalling of Burley, Idaho, was selected at random as this year’s “Joe Bowler,” a tradition that dates to 1951 and earned him the responsibility of presiding over the opening ceremony and throwing out the first ball of the tournament.

Swalling, a 35-year-old right-hander, made his eighth tournament appearance, but first on the opening day of competition.

After a warmup shot, he knocked down seven pins to officially open the 2022 competition. Tournament folklore states that Joe Bowler’s shot in the spotlight sets the scoring pace for the whole event.

“We’ve got some great bowlers in Burley, but this is a pretty cool deal,” Swalling said. “It’s nice to think that my name is going to be remembered for years to come.”

Swalling went on to post games of 183, 201 and 160 for a 544 series and helped Snake River Bowl Team 5 to a 2,172 total. They competed in the Classified Division, which is for teams with combined entering averages of 775 and below.

The evening also included encouraging words from Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson, South Point General Manager Ryan Growney, former South Point Director of Bowling Operations Mike Monyak, new South Point Director of Bowling Operations Angie Bonifazi-Dobson and USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy.2022 Open Championships Ribbon Cutting

Following the fun and three games of competition, the 2022 Open Championships had its first official leaders.

In the Regular Division (combined averages of 876 and above), Las Vegas’ What’s Left of Texas Station landed at the top of the leaderboard with a 2,997 total.

In the Standard Division (combined entering averages of 776-875), Alyson’s Five of Scottsdale, Arizona, posted a 2,878 total, which would’ve been high enough to win in two of the division’s four years of existence. The Standard Division was introduced at South Point in 2017.

Jim Marszalek Team 2 of Maple Grove, Minnesota, set the pace in the Classified Division (combined averages of 775 and below) with a 2,482 performance.

Competition at the 2022 Open Championships resumes Sunday morning with the first doubles and singles squad of the year. Squads will run daily from 7 am until approximately midnight.

Among the participants this year will be 31 bowlers competing for the 50th time, three bowling for the 60th time and one making his 65th appearance. USBC and Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Famer Glenn Allison of Corona, California, is scheduled to become the fourth member of the event’s 70-Year Club.

Also part of the competitive experience in 2022 is the Bowlers Journal Championships, a side event that allows bowlers to enjoy additional competition while in the host city. It is being held in conjunction with the Open Championships for the 75th time and is being contested at the South Point Bowling Center, a short walk from the Bowling Plaza.

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