RENO, Nevada - When Carl Boldt of Pontiac, Mich., arrived at the National Bowling Stadium for the first time, he had only ever heard tales of the grandeur of the venue and the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships taking place there.
Two days later, he left with a story of his own after rolling the 32nd perfect game of the 2014 event.
"Walking into the Stadium on Saturday was all shock and awe," Boldt said. "All these people come here to bowl, and I was going to be one of them."
The 22-year-old right-hander finished his USBC Open Championships Open Championships debut Monday with games of 300, 226 and 256 for a 782 series, just missing the top 10 in Regular Singles. Louis Jenkins Jr. of Warr Acres, Okla., leads with 826.
"That last ball was nerve-racking," said Boldt, who was the fourth first-time participant to roll a 300 game this year. "I wasn't even thinking the entire game. I found my aim, threw the ball and executed my shot."
After two spares to start his third game of singles, Boldt needed to strike out for a chance at an 805 series, which would have been the seventh 800 of the year and good enough for second place, but a 10 pin in the eighth frame ended his run.
"I had to look up the scores because my teammates didn't want to tell me" said Boldt, a shift manager at Taco Bell who regularly bowls at Airway Lanes in Waterford, Mich. "I knew the 10 pin was it, and after that, I was just aiming for the 780."
Boldt's trip to the Open Championships nearly didn't happen until a missed tournament gave him the opportunity of a lifetime.
"I wasn't supposed to come," Boldt said. "I missed our city masters tournament because of work and showed up late. Jeff Suma Sr. was still there and asked if I wanted to bowl Nationals, and I couldn't refuse."
After making the drive from Michigan to make his first appearance, Boldt found himself in good company with those who have been helping him prepare for the experience.
"I knew a little bit because the team I came with has been coming for years," Boldt said. "We had a practice session a week before coming, and the biggest advice they gave me was about my ball surface."
Boldt took their advice and now is a part of tournament history. And, regardless of his performance, the tournament lived up to everything he'd heard.
"I wasn't even throwing the ball I wanted to throw," Boldt said. "I pulled it out during the last game of doubles, and everything went right from there. Overall, the tournament lived up to the hype. I was bowling every bowler's dream by coming here. This is the most prestigious tournament."
Boldt added a 611 series in team and 581 in doubles for a 1,974 all-events total.