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Two bowlers roll 300 games at USBC Open Championships

For thousands of bowlers each year, the USBC Open Championships is about friends, family and fun, and success on the tournament lanes often is a team effort.Dan and Jake Peteres
On Monday, with their friends and families looking on and thoughts of those who couldn't make the trip to Albuquerque fresh in their minds, two competitors added their names to the list of bowlers who have rolled 300 games at the Albuquerque Convention Center this year.
Dan Peters of Henderson, Nev., struck first, tossing 12 consecutive strikes during his third game of team for the 23rd perfect game of the year, while Kevin Wheeler of Lindale, Texas, finished singles with the tournament's 24th 300 game.
Peters, a 43-year-old left-hander who works with robotics and mechanical effects as an engineer at the Wynn Las Vegas, put on a show for his 19-year-old nephew, Jake, who finished 19th at the USBC Masters in October and recently helped Wichita State University to its eighth men's national title, but as a USBC Youth member, cannot compete in the Open Championships.
Kevin Wheeler
"I was more nervous for Dan when he was up to a string of six, than I have ever been for myself in any competition," said Jake Peters, who won the 2006 Teen Masters. "When he finished his game, I jumped up on the railing and screamed for him. I'm still excited about it because this is something to be proud of. Nationals is the best place to for a 300."
Bowling has been the pastime of choice for the Peters family dating back to Dan's late father, Darrell, who had his family on the lanes whenever there was time. Dan was joined on the lanes Monday by his brother, Dave, while Jake proudly looked on.
"Jake is much more of a coach to me than I am to him now," said Dan, who made his 12th Open Championships appearance and finished team with games of 169, 185 and 300 for a 654 series. "With Jake's experience and skill level, he knows a lot about lane patterns and has an eye for bowling conditions that he is able to communicate to me. He gives great advice and offers helpful suggestions, which makes a difference in my approach and definitely affects how well I bowl."
Dan added 618 in singles and 562 in doubles Tuesday for a 1,834 all-events total, while Dave had 612 in singles, 554 in doubles and 505 in team for 1,671.
When Wheeler put the finishing touches on his perfect game Monday, his thoughts were on his former teammate Martin Latta of Grand Saline, Texas, who died in a car accident two years ago.
"Marty was looking down on us today," said Wheeler, who works in the Texas oil and gas industry. "We sure miss him bowling with us. Every time we bowl well, we always think of him. Often after a strike, we will raise our hands in the air and quietly say, 'this one if for you Marty.' Well today, with this 300 game in the national tournament, we did that again as an undivided team. This one is for you, Marty."
Wheeler's 300 came after games of 176 and 171, and he finished with a 647 singles series. He added 539 in doubles and 501 in team and ended his 14th trip to the Open Championships with a 1,687 all-events total.
"After my first two games of singles, which were disappointing for me, I just wanted to get the third one over with," said Wheeler, a 43-year-old right-hander. "I finally listened to my bowling buddy, Mike Thomas, who owns All Star Lanes in Shreveport, La. He's been telling me for a long time to move five boards to the left. I finally listened, and it worked."
Monday's milestone also meant a lot to Wheeler's family, and while they couldn't be in Albuquerque with him, he's looking forward to sharing the news with his daughter for her birthday this week.
"My daughter, Kennedy, will be 11 years old on Wednesday, and I can hardly wait to tell her and my 7-year-old son, Kameron, about this perfect game," Wheeler said. "I also want to thank my wife for letting me come and bowl with my friends every year, and I look forward to her and the other wives joining us at the Reno tournaments for years to come."
By Matt Cannizzaro and David Bibeau - USBC Communications
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