Glenn Allison breaks participation record at USBC Open Championships


Addicted Member
[Reprinted from USBC's Web site]

LAS VEGAS -- Numbers help to define great athletes and phenomenal achievements.

It’s easy for Major League Baseball fans to associate 56 with Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak in 1941. A simple 100 written on a piece of paper reminds generations young and old of Wilt Chamberlain’s prolific performance in 1962 as a National Basketball Association star.

At the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, a 300 game, 800 series or winning total to claim a coveted Eagle lives on in the tournament’s record book, now spanning 120 editions since 1901.

One number had served as the peak of tournament participation at the event since 1981, but that changed Sunday as Professional Bowlers Association and USBC Hall of Famer Glenn Allison became the first competitor to reach 72 years at the USBC Open Championships.

Allison, from Corona, California, previously held the record at 71 years with Bill Doehrman, Joe Norris and Sylvester Thiel and now sits at the top of the list after his appearance at the South Point Bowling Plaza.

Doehrman, a USBC Hall of Famer, made his 71st appearance in 1981, while Norris, also a member of the USBC Hall of Fame, matched the mark in 2000. Thiel joined them at 71 years in 2016.

The 93-year-old right-hander received a custom trophy, plaque and chevron as he was joined by family and friends during an on-lane presentation Sunday.

Allison noted it was the first time in his 72 appearances that he was able to bowl on a team made up of all family members. He was joined on the lanes by his son (Mark Allison), daughter (Suzanne Allison), grandson (Glenn Allison II) and granddaughter (Danielle Ledezma).

“I’d just like to thank all my friends that are here to watch me break the record, and also my family,” said Allison as he addressed the crowd at the Bowling Plaza. “My granddaughter, my grandson, my son and my daughter, they’re all here with me on my team. This is a first for me – having all of my team members from my family. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Allison’s storied career at the Open Championships started at the 1947 event in Los Angeles, where he only competed in the team event. He returned to the tournament for his second trip in 1950, and since 1954, Allison has made his annual appearance each year at the event.

As his appearances started to add up at the tournament, Allison also started to collect victories at the Open Championships. He claimed four titles from 1962 through 1970.

He paired with USBC Hall of Famer Dick Hoover in 1962 to claim his first Eagle at the Open Championships, as they posted a 1,431 score to win Classic Doubles. Allison rolled a 780 series to lead the way, the highest total in his Open Championships career.

He followed with a pair of Classic Team victories in 1964 and 1966. He helped Falstaff Beer record the win in 1964 and Ace Mitchell Shur-Hooks take home the team title in 1966. He averaged more than 227 during team competition in those appearances.

Allison’s fourth win came in Classic Singles at the 1970 event in Knoxville, Tennessee, finishing with a 730 series.

He made his 50th appearance at the 2001 tournament in Reno, Nevada, and joined the 100,000-Pin Club at the Open Championships in his 55th appearance during the 2006 event in Corpus Christi, Texas, finishing with 1,882 for the year.

As he has continued to work toward the participation record, Allison also has his eye on adding another number to his collection – the top number in career pinfall at the Open Championships.

Allison entered the 2024 event in third place on the all-time list at 122,954 pins, and he added another 387 pins to his total through his team event Sunday and part of his doubles set Monday to finish his 72nd appearance at 123,341.

He now is 430 pins away from passing Norris for second on the list (123,770). He needs 747 pins to surpass USBC Hall of Famer Bill Lillard Sr. for the pinfall record (124,087).

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.