February 19th, 2010 | Published in History of Bowling
BY J.R. SCHMIDT
The high point of the USBC Open Championships’ opening night is the selection of “Joe Bowler.”
A contestant on the opening squad is picked at random to roll the ceremonial first ball while adorned with crown, cape and scepter. He is supposed to represent all the anonymous, everyday bowlers who make the tournament what it is.
In 1954 at Seattle, when the event still was known as the American Bowling Congress Championships Tournament, ABC officials reached into the hat to select a Joe Bowler… and pulled out the name of Billy Sixty.
Yes, the famed sportswriter and future Hall of Famer.
Not exactly your “Average Joe.”
(Editor’s Note: J.R. Schmidt is Bowlers Journal International’s resident historian, and writes the monthly historical feature, “Time Capsule.” Can’t get enough of bowling’s colorful history? Check out Dr. Jake’s blog at http://bowlinghistory.wordpress.com.)