Randy Mackey began his bowling career as a small child, roughly about the same time he learned how to walk.
It took him a while, but the 27-year-old right-hander from Farley, Iowa, finally achieved perfection. He shot the first 300 game of his career last Saturday during a 774-640 victory over Dan Atchison in the opening round of the Budweiser Big 10 tournament at Creslanes in Dubuque.
The 64-man, double-elimination tournament continues tonight with shifts at 6, 7 and 8 p.m.
“It makes it feel that much more special to do that in a setting with so much prestige behind it,” said Mackey, who primarily bowls at Cobra Lanes in Farley. “It’s a tournament that gets so much fanfare, and they always get pretty good crowds to watch.
“It’s pretty cool, but those scores don’t roll over, unfortunately. It’s going to take a lot of focus and determination to keep moving on, because it’s a new match up every week. It’s a new set of challenges every week.”
Mackey savored the last three shots of the perfect game. After he struck on his first ball, the crowd cheered briefly before turning silent. Same thing on the second ball.
“After the last one, the roof just about blew off the place,” Mackey said. “I was really kind of feeing off that energy from the crowd.
“You try to block it out, but at a certain point you just have to embrace it and consider the crowd part of the game, too.”
Mackey squares off against Lonie Brown in a second-round matchup at 7 tonight.
Six other bowlers recorded national honor counts, all in opening-round victories. They included Jason Lanser (733), Jordan Schoettmer (710), Marcus Henry (738), Stephen Habel (701), Heath Kohl (709) and Kyle Wiest (743).
Lanser Family reunion — The Lanser family might have the largest cheering section each week at Creslanes, but those loyalties will be divided this week. Jerry Lanser takes on his younger brother, Jay, in a consolation-round match at 6 p.m.
Jerry dropped a 645-564 decision to Kody Klein, and Jay took a 701-585 loss against Stephen Habel last week.
“We talked about it last week, and there’s been a lot of smack talk going back and forth,” Jerry Lanser said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to bowl him, though. It kind of sucks to have to bowl Jay right away, but it is what it is.”
Jerry Lanser’s sons — Jason and Justin — remain in the winners’ bracket. Jason defeated reigning Big 10 runner-up Dan Moore, 733-685, and Justin took down Bob Loeffelholz, 632-551.
Jerry and Jay have a pair of nephews still alive in the winners’ bracket. Josh Oertel defeated Colton Hedrick, 671-592, last week, while Nate Oertel downed Jon Welu, 620-548.
Spares — Three of the four former champions in the field won opening-round matches. Defending champ Kevin Scheffert took down Josh Orr, 585-529. Jason Lanser is the 2014 champ. Steve Beck, who won the 2001 and 2013 titles, topped 2015 champ Terry Cottrell, 682-578 … The tournament has added an element of “Price is Right” to the weekly festivities. Fans who purchase Budweiser products at Creslanes have the opportunity to play a version of “Plinko” at the center.