LAS VEGAS – Jamie Brooks of McKinney, Texas, waited long enough for his chance to become a member of the 100,000-Pin Club at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.
When the May 1 start date for the 2021 event was finalized, he was among the first in line to lock in his dates and times, which he hoped would be close to the beginning of the event, so he could complete a journey that was six decades in the making.
Brooks was able to register for the second day of the tournament, and he etched his name in the tournament record book again Sunday when he toppled his 100,000th pin during the final game of his team event at the South Point Bowling Plaza.
The 86-year-old right-hander needed just about every frame of his three games to collect the 381 pins he needed for the milestone, and he did it in dramatic fashion, entertaining the small crowd of spectators allowed to be on-hand since some recent changes in the COVID-19 protocols and procedures.
Brooks opened the set with a 154 effort and then struggled on the way to a 121 game.
In the finale, he stepped up in the eighth frame needing just nine pins to become the 24th bowler in tournament history to eclipse the 100,000-pin mark. He left the 4-7 combination on his first offering and made the spare to cross the special threshold.
All competition at the Bowling Plaza was halted, as tournament director Duane Hagen and USBC Executive Director Chad Murphy presented him with a crystal pin to commemorate the accomplishment.
Once the pressure was off, Brooks was able to deliver his first double of the event, which helped him to a 165 finish and 440 series. He entered the year with 99,619 pins and now sits at 100,059.
“You know, I’ve had goals all the way through my life,” said Brooks, who made his first Open Championships appearance at the 1957 event in Fort Worth, Texas, also the debut of automatic pinsetters. “About 10 years ago, I knew I could get this, and the good Lord left me here long enough for me to do it.”
Two years ago, Brooks prepared to celebrate his 60th tournament appearance, also at South Point, knowing 100,000 pins was within reach, though it would take the best all-events performance of his career. He arrived in Las Vegas needing 1,860 pins for a double milestone.
In looking at the numbers afterward, 381 pins over 60 years is less than seven pins per year. Accounting for those pins definitely crossed his mind while waiting for his return to the championship lanes, especially when he was delayed another year due to the pandemic-canceled 2020 tournament.
For his anticipated appearance at South Point on Sunday, Brooks was joined by a contingent that included his wife, Peggy, USBC Hall of Famer Carol Norman, Professional Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Famer Donner Conners, Eagle winner and 2016 USBC Masters champion Anthony Simonsen and 2005 Regular All-Events winner Scott Craddock, who also is the general manager at one of Brooks’ bowling centers, Plano Super Bowl in Plano, Texas.
Also in the crowd was Brooks’ doubles partner from the 1973 event, Jim Paine, who competed in the tournament 40 times from 1959-2013. The two won their Regular Doubles title with a 1,337 performance that year in Syracuse, New York.
Brooks now will take his momentum across the South Point property Monday for doubles and singles at the South Point Bowling Center, where he’ll have six games to continue his climb up the career pinfall list, a who’s who of bowling greats, topped by fellow Texan Bill Lillard Sr. with a 124,087 total.
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