Pickford started the tournament with 794 in team event, including a 299 game in game two. “We broke them down the right way and everyone starting striking and the energy was high,” said Pickford. “Once I saw my name turn red, it was go time. I knew I had a chance. I stepped up and just wanted to make a good shot. When I threw it I said to myself, ‘I think I just shot 300 at nationals.’ I kneeled down and saw stone 9 pin.”
Pickford added sets of 624 and 743 for a 2,161 all-events total, currently in 16th place. BowlersMart.com 1 finished with 3,340, currently just inside the top 50. The team included Ed Shuler (1,971), David Checkle, Jr. (1,929), Spencer Shumway (1778), and Kelly Hayes (1764).
BowlersMart president Cliff Barnes was on Pickford’s pair both days of the tournament, and has a new view of bowling the USBC Championships. “I really feel like all of us who work for BowlersMart are a family, with a common goal on the business side of it. I felt like we had the chemistry already that’s so hard to find in a team event like this. Bowling with Connor was a lot of fun and very inspiring for us as well.” Barnes bowled on BowlersMart.com 2, led by Ashly Galante (2,004), Andrew Adler (1,935), Barnes (1,883), Brian Checkle (1,759) and Chris Castro (1,758).
Barnes and Pickford both credit BowlersMart co-worker and USBC Hall of Famer John Gaines for much of their success and improvement this year. After winning his fourth Eagle last year, many of the BowlersMart employees count on John for advice at the Open Championships. “I have always known John takes this tournament very serious. Working with him every day, I understand now why it is so special to him. It’s a tournament that is so dependent on each other to work together that you can’t be successful alone. It is truly a team event for that reason, even when you are bowling doubles or singles.”
BowlersMart, based in Hudson, FL, owns 20 pro shop locations, the website www.BowlersMart.com, and several online shopping channels.