Downtown Reno, Nevada

I’m a bowler. Yep, I’m a beer-drinking, gambling, 200-average, card–carrying member of the USBC (United States Bowling Congress). This fact allows me the opportunity to try my skills against some of the best bowlers in the world in the annual USBC Open Championships. The Championships have been held for 108 years in 48 different cities in 26 states which also gives me and my wife, Sue, a reason to see parts of the United States that we probably wouldn’t normally visit. We’ve been to Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Billings, Mont.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Huntsville, Ala.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Reno, Nev., all because of this huge tournament.

NBS Reno

The National Bowling Stadium


This year the four-month-long event is in Reno … again. The competition has been held in Reno a lot lately (1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010) simply because of the National Bowling Stadium which opened in 1995. It’s right in the middle of downtown, has 78 lanes and can easily handle the nearly 13,000 teams (approx. 65,000 bowlers) that will be participating in this year’s competition. (Side Note: Part of the movie Kingpin was filmed there.) In “non-Reno” years, lanes are actually built for the Championships in a civic center or auditorium in the host city. In 2012 it will be held in Baton Rouge, La., … again.

Yep, that's me with the perfect form on the left in the light blue shirt.


Recently Sue and I completed our portion of the tournament that included nine games spanning two days. Sue is quite a good bowler herself but normally watches the “action” from the stands. This year she was asked by a companion team to actually participate, which, for her, was both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. No, we didn’t come in first place, but might get some cash back in a couple of events which is, realistically, all we could hope for.

Our earlier visits to Reno included more touristy stuff like the beautiful drive around Lake Tahoe, side trip to Virginia City and even some skiing, so the trip this time was brief.

We caught one of the free acts at Circus Circus.


We normally stay at one of the tournament sponsor hotels: Circus Circus; Eldorado Hotel Casino; or Silver Legacy Resort Casino. They are seamlessly connected which makes it easy to get to any of the many restaurants and shops offered by these three hotels. For a change, this time we stayed at Harrah’s Reno Hotel. Harrah’s was quite nice as far as Reno hotels go. We had a very pleasant stay partly because of the free shuttle to/from the airport; a very nice staff; a clean, comfortable, very affordable room; and, the fact that it’s only a one-block walk to the front door of the bowling stadium.

Here's a fine pub in the Silver Legacy Resort. Left to right: Me, Sue.


Sue really doesn’t like Reno, partly because there are a few scary-looking characters and beggars on the streets between hotels. The other part being she doesn’t like to gamble.

Note to Self: Pancakes at the "Hash House a Go Go" Restaurant at Harrah's are quite large.


We did take a walk a few blocks from the hotel to check out the Riverwalk district. Nestled among the snow-capped mountains known as the Sierra Nevada, the town of Reno was established right next to the first bridge to cross the Truckee River in the late 1800s. By the mid-1900s, Reno had become famous for gaming and nightlife, and the river that ran through it took a back seat to the casinos of downtown. In the 1990s, the city created the Raymond I. Smith Truckee Riverwalk, which brought new attention to Reno’s scenic river corridor. The almost-tranquil stroll along the quick-flowing river was a refreshing change from the noises and tobacco smells of the casinos. There were rapids allowing kayakers a chance to hone their skills and show off a bit for the onlookers on the footbridge. Sadly at the time (thanks to the economy), there were only a handful of shops and restaurants that were open for business. It was a very nice walk nonetheless.

Kayakers on the Truckee River.

The USBC Open Championships are scheduled to be back in Reno in 2013 and 2014. I hope the Riverwalk will be a bit livelier by then.

Yep, I’ll be back … again.

3 Responses on “78 lanes. No waiting.

  1. Fred Flinstone has nothing on you! I especially like how you implement Dancing With The Stars moves into your above bowling form. Remind not to bet on bowling with you.

    Pass the pancakes

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