To say that Steve Kloempken had a memorable 2018 USBC Masters would be an understatement. The Vice President of Marketing for Storm Products only bowled the event at the casual suggestion of his wife and fellow former Team USA member Marcia and, after a lousy start to the Team event at the Open Championships days earlier, considered withdrawing from the Masters. But then he took the lead in the Doubles event at the Open with David Haynes, shooting 300 in the meantime. So he bowled the Masters and, as it turned out, made the show.
In an ironic twist, the 47-year-old bowled one of his employer’s marquee pro staffers in Rhino Page in the opening match and won. He then moved on to bowl another Storm employee, Alex Hoskins, who was bowling the show for the second straight year and finished runner-up while Kloempken finished third. The Hoskins match was a wild one in which Hoskins clawed back from a 45-pin deficit to edge Kloempken and move on to the title match.
That Steve would make a Masters telecast is not in and of itself surprising. He is, after all, a USBC Hall of Famer and former Collegiate Bowler of the Year with Wichita State, where he won national titles in 1993, 1994 and 1995. He also is a two-time Team USA member, making the squad in 1991 and 1994, and his induction into the USBC Hall of Fame is thanks in no small part to the incredible consistency he has enjoyed over the years at the USBC Open Championships.
But it’s the Masters show he is likely to remember as vividly as anything else he ever has done on the lanes, and that’s why BJI Editor Gianmarc Manzione wanted to speak with him about it for the latest episode of The Bowlers Journal Podcast. You can listen to the conversation below: