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Bowling News USA - March 14, 2011 Michigan Team Captain Wins Truck At USBC Open Championships

RENO, Nev. - Tom Elston of Sterling Heights, Mich., booked a round-trip ticket to the 2011 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, but now, driving home may be an option after he won the first of four Chevy Silverado pickup trucks being given away at the National Bowling Stadium this year.


The 57-year-old right-hander made the traditional march down Center Aisle with his team Saturday night and unassumingly tested his footing on the approach as he had in 27 previous trips to the USBC Open Championships.


Just before the start of practice, he was called back to the end of Center Aisle and rewarded for the countless hours of work that go into being a team captain at the Open Championships. Jennifer Cunningham, the Director of Marketing for the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority and Open Championships Tournament Manager Duane Hagen were on hand to award the truck.


"The funny part was that I was getting ready and didn't even hear the announcement," said Elston, an automotive designer who captained one of his group's two teams. "My teammates were yelling at me and telling me that I won, and I didn't even know what it was that I won. They told me it was the truck, and I was completely shocked. I couldn't believe it."


The truck giveaway is one of the many exciting features of the USBC Eagle's Nest, an exclusive club for team captains who fielded teams in 2010 and are registered to do so again in 2011.


"I've never won anything like this," Elston said. "I'm the guy who will always buy raffle tickets or contest tickets, but never win. This is really something."


The club was created in conjunction with the RSCVA as a way to recognize captains for their hard work and to celebrate the return of the Open Championships to Reno for an unprecedented second-consecutive year.


The response to the Eagle's Nest was overwhelming, and the club includes more than 5,900 captains. In addition, nearly 200 captains earned Super-Captain status with four or more teams.


As Eagle's Nest members, captains receive the USBC 'E-Nest' Newsletter - a monthly e-newsletter, featuring tournament tips, the latest bowling trends and special offers from Reno sponsors, USBC Travel and the RSCVA. They also have the opportunity to enter captain-only brackets and are eligible to win one of the high-performance Storm bowling balls being given away each day at this year's event.


Captains who brought four or more teams to the 2010 Open Championships and have committed to do so again for 2011 are eligible for special hotel incentives from Reno hotel partners.


All giveaway winners are randomly selected from the list of eligible team captains.


"We've had the same basic team for many years, and as team captain, you sometimes have to replace bowlers, but that's part of it," said Elston, who started his Open Championships career at the 1984 event, which also was held in Reno. "I've enjoyed being a team captain, and I'm very grateful for the Eagle's Nest. I can't thank everyone enough for everything they have done. This is great."


Presenting sponsors for the 2011 USBC Open Championships are Circus Circus, Eldorado Hotel Casino and Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nev. Other sponsors include Sands Regency Casino Hotel, official brackets sponsor, Kegel, official lane maintenance provider, Humana, official registration sponsor, US Steltronic, official scoring system, and supporting sponsors Storm Bowling Products, UPS, Nationwide Insurance, Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa, Harrah's Reno Casino and Hotel and Peppermill Hotel Casino.


For more information on the USBC Open Championships, visit


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March, 2011